June 2022

Do Avocados Really Benefit Heart Health?

Avocado consumption in the US has more than tripled over the past 20 years. It’s long been touted for its health benefits, particularly due to its high monounsaturated fat and fiber content. Now we have some observational evidence suggesting it might be beneficial for heart disease prevention. Here’s the latest.

A recent study evaluated dietary intake data collected over a 30-year period. After adjusting for other factors such as lifestyle, eating half of an avocado at least twice per week was linked to a 16% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and a 21% reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Also, replacing other dietary fats, such as butter or processed meats, with avocado was linked with a 16% to 22% reduced risk of CVD.

In addition to these recent findings, there’s also evidence that eating an avocado-rich diet reduces total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol, and increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol. Its high fat content might also help increase satiety, but data on whether it helps with weight loss are mixed. While more research is needed to confirm these benefits, encourage patients to focus on maintaining a well-balanced diet that incorporates healthy fats like avocados.

Regularly eating avocados is likely safe for most people. But as avocado prices continue to rise, viral hacks like storing cut avocados in water to prolong freshness are growing in popularity. Caution patients not to do this – there’s concern that any Listeria or Salmonella on the avocado skin could leach into the fruit itself when stored in water. Additionally, many people now opt to use avocado oil over vegetable or canola oil when cooking due to its high smoke point (520 degrees F). It’s unclear if using avocado oil offers any benefits, and there are quality concerns with many avocado oil products available on the market.

Check out our recently updated monograph to learn more.

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