Avocados can support a heart-healthy diet

Half of an avocado is shown against a dark backdrop

Additional research shows that monounsaturated fats, like avocados and nuts, can be good for the heart, according to a review published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

After assessing data from more than 100,000 adults who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, researchers found that those who ate at least two servings of an avocado each week, which equates to about two-thirds to one whole avocado, had fewer incidents of cardiovascular disease compared to adults who consumed less. This equated to about a 16% reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and a 21% reduced risk for coronary heart disease. No differences were noted with stroke.

The authors also found that swapping a half-daily serving of avocado in place of similar amounts of margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats correlated with fewer incidents of cardiovascular disease. The benefits came from heart-healthy fats, they shared. For instance, when they replaced avocado with nuts, they didn’t see a difference in associated heart disease risks.

Charlotte Pratt, Ph.D., R.D., the deputy branch chief of the Clinical Applications and Prevention branch in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at NHLBI, reviewed the study and notes that while more research is needed with diverse study participants, avocados can be heart-healthy sources of fat. They contain 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, only 1 gram of saturated fat, and are loaded with potassium and contain little or no sodium.

The research was supported by NHLBI, the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Cancer Institute.