Why Avocados Are Heart-Healthy

You hear a lot these days about eating heart healthy and taking care of your cardiovascular system, and for good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the three major risk factors that can lead to heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a history of smoking.

The obvious question is, “What can I do for my heart health?” The American Heart Association recommends replacing saturated with unsaturated fats for heart health, but you don’t have to sacrifice flavor — Avocados From Mexico are a heart-healthy fruit. (Of course, always talk to your physician before making changes to you or your family’s diet.)

It may surprise you to learn that fresh avocados are a heart-healthy fruit. After all, haven’t you heard that avocados are high in calories and fat? You may have been taught that low-fat diets are important for heart health, and that’s not entirely inaccurate. But low-fat is not the same as no-fat.

When health experts talk about “good fats” and “bad fats” they aren’t judging your snack habits. Good fats, which are monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, help nourish your body. In fact, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans explains the importance of limiting intakes of saturated fat to support healthy dietary patterns. One-third of a medium avocado offers 5 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat in every 50 gram serving.

The “bad fats” are saturated fat and trans-fat, which can cause trouble for your heart if they dominate your diet. More than 75% of the fats in avocados are the “good” kind, plus they have absolutely zero cholesterol. But the benefits don’t stop there! Avocados are sugar-free and are a good source of fiber, contributing 3 grams of fiber per 50 g serving.

Best of all, it’s now easier than ever to add avocados into your diet. Avocados are extremely versatile and go fantastically with a number of traditional meals, the latest trends in cuisine, or even plain by themselves. Visit the “how-to” page to learn terrific tips, like how to pick a ripe avocado or how to slice and dice during preparation. It’s easier than you think: Just cut it in half, twist, remove the seed, cut into long slices or dice into cubes, and you’re all set.

So what are you waiting for? You can search endless avocado and guacamole recipes on our recipe page.

DISCLAIMER: While many factors affect heart disease, eating avocados as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk.

By Barbara Ruhs, MD, RDN August 12, 2017

An avid avocado-eater and guacamole-lover, Barb is the Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist for Avocados From Mexico and former sports nutritionist for Harvard University. Her philosophy on food is simple: Enjoy what you eat, prepare food with love, and add avocados to everything! 

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