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heart

Eating Avocados Twice a Week is Linked With lowering Heart Disease by 16-22%

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Eating two or more servings of avocado weekly was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and substituting avocado for certain fat-containing foods like butter, cheese, or processed meats was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease events, according to new research.

Avocados contain dietary fiber, unsaturated fats especially monounsaturated fat (healthy fats), and other favorable components that have been associated with good cardiovascular health. Clinical trials have previously found avocados have a positive impact on cardiovascular risk factors including high cholesterol.

Researchers believe this is the first, large, prospective study to support the positive association between higher avocado consumption and lower cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

“Our study provides further evidence that the intake of plant-sourced unsaturated fats can improve diet quality and is an important component in cardiovascular disease prevention,” said Lorena S. Pacheco, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D.N., lead author of the study and a postdoctoral research fellow in the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

“These are particularly notable findings since the consumption of avocados has risen steeply in the U.S. in the last 20 years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

For 30 years, researchers followed more than 68,780 women (ages 30 to 55 years) from the Nurses’ Health Study and more than 41,700 men (ages 40 to 75 years) from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

All study participants were free of cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke at the start of the study and living in the United States. Researchers documented 9,185 coronary heart disease events and 5,290 strokes during more than 30 years of follow-up. Researchers assessed participants’ diet using food frequency questionnaires given at the beginning of the study and then every four years.

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Good News for Coffee Lovers: Daily Coffee May Benefit the Heart

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Drinking coffee—particularly two to three cups a day—is not only associated with a lower risk of heart disease and dangerous heart rhythms but also with living longer, according to new studies.

These trends held true for both people with and without cardiovascular disease. Researchers said the analyses—the largest to look at coffee’s potential role in heart disease and death—provide reassurance that coffee isn’t tied to new or worsening heart disease and may actually be heart protective.

“Because coffee can quicken heart rate, some people worry that drinking it could trigger or worsen certain heart issues. This is where general medical advice to stop drinking coffee may come from. But our data suggest that daily coffee intake shouldn’t be discouraged, but rather included as a part of a healthy diet for people with and without heart disease,” said Peter M. Kistler, MD, professor and head of arrhythmia research at the Alfred Hospital and Baker Heart Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and the study’s senior author.

“We found coffee drinking had either a neutral effect—meaning that it did no harm—or was associated with benefits to heart health.”

Kistler and his team used data from the UK BioBank, a large-scale prospective database with health information from over half a million people who were followed for at least 10 years.

Benefitting the heart

Researchers looked at varying levels of coffee consumption ranging from up to a cup to more than six cups a day and the relationship with heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease, heart failure and stroke; and total and heart-related deaths among people both with and without cardiovascular disease. Patients were grouped by how much coffee they reported drinking each day: 0, <1, 1, 2-3, 4-5, >5 cups/day.

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