21 February 2013

Avocados Contribute To Significantly Better Nutrient Intake and More Positive Health Indicators

New analysis of data suggest that people who consume avocados as part of their diet have a better diet quality, higher nutrient intake levels and manifests more positive health indicators than those who don't.

The avocado fruit (Persea Americana) has recently been researched as a good source of anti-oxidants. The anti-oxidants found in avocados, specifically in avocado oil, are far better than those found in other fruits.

Last year, research done at the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in México showed that avocado contains anti-oxidants protect mitochondria (the part of the cell responsible for producing energy) from free radicals.

Anti-oxidants found in other fruits and vegetables are unable to protect the mitochondria enabling free radicals to damage it. This causes energy production to stop causing the cell to collapse and die.

Now, in a related study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), data confirms the health benefits of consuming avocados and expands on the previous study by including other beneficial factors such as positive health indicators and better nutrient intake.

New Analysis on Avocados and Better Nutrient Intake

New analysis of data from NHANES, a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that consuming avocados may be associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher "good cholesterol" levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk. These results were published in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal.

Specifically, the survey data (NHANES 2001-2008, 17,567 U.S. adults ages 19 years and older) revealed that the 347 adults (50% female) who consumed avocados in any amount during a 24-hour dietary recording period had several significantly better nutrient intake levels and more positive health indicators than those who did not consume avocados. Among the avocado consumers, average daily consumption was about one half (70.1 +/- 5.4 g/day) of a medium sized avocado, somewhat higher in male avocado consumers (75.3 +/-6.3 g/day) than females (66.7 +/- 7.3 g/day).

Overall Diet Quality, Energy and Nutrient Intakes
  • According to the study, Avocado consumers more closely adhered to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans than those who did not eat avocados, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI).
  • Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of certain important nutrients including 36% more dietary fiber, 23% more vitamin E, 13% more magnesium, 16% more potassium and 48% more vitamin K than non-consumers.
  • Avocado consumers also had significantly higher intakes of "good" fats (18% more monounsaturated and 12% more polyunsaturated) and total fats (11% more) than non-consumers, although average caloric intake of both groups was the same.
  • Avocado consumers and non-consumers had similar intakes of sodium.

Video: Health Benefits of Eating Avocados

Physiological Health Measures
  • Avocado consumers had significantly lower BMI values than non-consumers.
  • Avocado consumers had significantly smaller waist circumference measures than non-consumers (an average of 4 cm smaller).
  • Avocado consumers weighed significantly less than non-consumers (an average of 7.5 pounds less).
  • Avocado consumers had significantly higher HDL ("good") cholesterol levels.

Metabolic Syndrome Risk

The study found that Avocado consumers had a 50% lower odds ratio for metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to a group of risk factors which, when they occur together, increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes.

As with most analyses of NHANES data, research findings were based on cross-sectional data from a single 24-hour dietary recall (which may be inaccurate and biased due to misreporting and memory lapses) and cannot provide cause and effect evidence between avocado consumption and improvements in diet quality. "These findings suggest an interesting association between the consumption of avocados and better nutrient intakes and other positive outcomes," said study primary investigator Victor Fulgoni, PhD. "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."

"To this end, the Hass Avocado Board is funding additional clinical studies to investigate the relationship between fresh avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados' potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados' ability to enhance nutrient absorption," said Hass Avocado Board Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo.


NHANES - National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo
Avocado Oil - Healthy Treatment Against Aging And Harmful Free Radicals
Studying Cell Senescence And Its Relation To The Aging Of the Brain
SFRP5 Molecule Identified As A Factor In Accumulating Fat In The Body
Declining Testosterone Levels Due More To Health and Behavior Than Age
Antioxidant Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Vitamin B12 Can Prevent Arsenic Overload From Food and Contaminated Water
New Research on Resveratrol Enhances Claim That The Compound Prolongs Lifespan and Healthspan
Popular Flavonoid, Rutin, As Preventive Therapy Against Blood Clots, Strokes and Heart Attacks