The humble avocado has been found to be a dietary super hero, of sorts, based on a new analysis of American nutrition. According to an analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who eat avocados are thinner, have better diets, eat fewer sugary foods, have higher "good cholesterol" levels, and lower metabolic risks.
The findings, published in the Nutrition Journal, are based on a review of information from the CDC’s long-running National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, including more than 17,500 U.S. adults polled since 2001.
The results showed that adults who consumed avocados in any amount during a 24-hour dietary recording period had several significantly better nutrient levels and more positive health indicators than those who did not consume avocados. Among the avocado consumers, average daily consumption was about one-half of a medium sized avocado.
Among the specific findings, Avocado consumers:
- More closely followed the recommended U.S. dietary guidelines than those who did not.
- Had higher intakes of key nutrients, including 36 percent more dietary fiber, 23 percent more vitamin E, 13 percent more magnesium, 16 percent more potassium and 48 percent more vitamin K than non-consumers.
- Consumed more "good" fats (such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils).
- Had significantly lower BMI (body mass index) measures, smaller waist sizes, and weighed less than non-consumers.
- Had significantly higher HDL ("good") cholesterol levels and a 50 percent lower risk for metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors which, when they occur together, increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
"These findings suggest an interesting association between the consumption of avocados and better nutrient intakes and other positive outcomes," said lead researcher Victor Fulgoni. "These observations were derived from population survey data, they provide important clues to better understanding the relationships between diet and health, and give direction to future research endeavors."
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