Harvard researchers prove your favorite dip and toast topper works wonders for cardiovascular health.
Advertisement

If you're a regular avocado eater, keep up the excellent work. A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association confirmed that consuming avocados—a fruit high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy, monounsaturated fats—is indeed linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease in both men and women. 

Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women, according to the CDC, and includes conditions such as heart attacks, stroke, and coronary heart disease, where the arteries of the heart become narrow or blocked and can no longer carry enough blood to the heart. While some of the risk factors for CVD are genetic, certain lifestyle factors such as how much you exercise and what you eat do play an important role. Making heart-healthy choices—like swapping butter, cheese, and mayonnaise for avocado every few days—can majorly reduce your risk for heart disease.

wiggling avocados
Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

For this study, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health examined the effects of avocado consumption on cardiovascular disease risk among two prospective cohort studies, 68,786 women from the Nurses' Health Study and 41,701 men from the Health Professionals Follow‐up Study

They found that those who consumed two or more servings of avocado per week had a 16 percent lower risk of CVD and a 21 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease compared to participants who didn't eat (or rarely ate) avocados. For reference, one serving amounts to half of an avocado. They also concluded that swapping out certain fat-containing foods—margarine, mayonnaise, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese, or processed meats—with half a serving of avocado (a quarter of an avocado) could lead to lower risk of CVD by 16 to 22 percent. (They did not, however, find significant associations for stroke.)

"Our study provides further evidence that the intake of plant-sourced unsaturated fats can improve diet quality and is an important component in CVD prevention in the general population," write the study's authors. As if you needed more convincing to stock up on ground-grown, good-fat sources. (Additional shout-out to nuts, seeds, oats, and olive oil!)

Since avocado is creamy, filling, delicious, and nutrient-dense, this is the news we love to hear. To reap the heart-healthy rewards of this super-food fat source, smash some avocado on whole wheat toast instead of butter a few times a week; top your burger with avocado rather than cheese; blend it into a smoothie in place of yogurt; and definitely order extra guac for the table.