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February 2023

Want a Healthier Heart? Eat More Avocados

They are full of fiber, packed with potassium, and feature ample amounts of good-for-you fats. Avocados have long ranked highly on the list of nutritious foods.

Now, new evidence adds specifics to their benefits. A recent study found that compared with those who didn’t eat any, people who ate 2 or more avocados per week had:

  • A 16% lower risk for cardiovascular disease

  • A 21% lower risk for coronary heart disease

Participants also reduced their risk when they chose avocados in place of foods with less-healthy fats. Those included margarine, cheese, and processed meats. They’re all high in saturated fatty acids.

Oleic acid to the rescue

Nutrition experts pinpoint several pathways through which avocados may help your heart.

Monounsaturated fatty acids, the type of fat found in avocados, decrease blood levels of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. LDL has been linked to heart disease.

One specific type of monounsaturated fat is most abundant in avocados: oleic acid. This compound may play a role in:

  • Improving the function of blood vessels

  • Reducing blood pressure

  • Fighting inflammation

  • Boosting your body’s ability to use insulin, the hormone that helps converts sugar into energy

Avocados also have fiber and substances called plant sterols. These compounds may improve the balance of good and bad cholesterol in your bloodstream.

Not just for dips anymore

To add more avocado to your diet, think beyond the guacamole. Try these unique dishes:

  • Blend avocados with a handful of berries, half a banana, and a touch of honey for a creamy smoothie.

  • Stuff an avocado with tuna or other seafood, turkey or chicken salad, cheese, or salsa. Or break an egg inside a pitted half avocado. Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

  • Slice avocados and toss with grapefruits; watercress or shredded lettuce; and roasted, salted cashews. Dress with a white wine vinaigrette. Serve on the side of your favorite protein. Or top with grilled shrimp and scallops for a main course.




Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2022
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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