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Avocados may help your heart

Two halves of a sliced avocado. The side without the pit is scooped in the shape of a heart.

April 25, 2022—Avocados are delicious. But there's another good reason to go ahead and order that avocado toast. This popular fruit may help keep your heart healthy over the years.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) tracked the eating habits of 110,000 health professionals over 30 years. Those who reported eating two or more servings of avocados a week showed a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who didn't.

In fact, the avocado-eaters had:

  • A 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease (hardening of the arteries).
  • A 16% lower risk of overall cardiovascular disease.

This isn't the first study to link avocados and heart health. A 2015 study showed that eating an avocado a day helped overweight and obese people lower their LDL cholesterol level. LDL cholesterol is linked to heart disease. And two long-term studies found that young adults and post-menopausal women who ate more fruits and vegetables (including avocados) had fewer heart attacks later on.

Avocado advantages

 What makes avocados so heart-healthy? According to the American Heart Association, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and other experts, avocados are great sources of:

  • Fiber.
  • Good fats (monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fatty acids).
  • Vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium.

Avocados are also versatile—and they can be a great replacement for foods that aren't as healthy for your heart. The recent JAHA study found that replacing up to half a serving per day of margarine, butter, eggs, yogurt, cheese or processed meats with avocado could offer even more protection. They calculated that those swaps could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease events, such as heart attack, by 16% to 22%.

Smart swaps

Adding avocados to your menu is easy—and delicious. You can enjoy them on their own or use them as a substitute in some of your favorite recipes. Here are some great ways to get started.

  • Use avocados instead of mayo in sandwiches or deviled eggs.
  • Add them to a hearty salad instead of bacon or blue-cheese dressing.
  • Instead of butter or bacon, try some avocado toast. Mash a ripe avocado over whole-grain toast. Add a spritz of lemon juice and ground cayenne pepper.
  • Bake an egg in half of a pitted avocado for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Top with salsa.
  • Instead of a fast-food breakfast, try an avocado-melon smoothie. You can get it ready the night before—then simply grab and go.

Pro tip

Not sure how to choose the best avocados from the bin? Had trouble getting an avocado perfectly ripe when you want to eat it? Check out our guide to choosing and storing avocados and other produce.

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