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Eating Avocado For Heart Disease Prevention?

Avocado is a stone fruit with a creamy texture that grow in warm climates and is often a feature of Mexican and South American cuisine. It can easily be incorporated in the breakfast, salad, soup or even main course. Sometimes, it is used in lieu of butter as a spread for bread or to replace creamy salad dressings. A few sliced avocados can be a healthy alterative for a high-calorie dollop of sour cream on top of the soup. One can also layer avocado slices as a final touch to the chicken or fish dish or serve them on the side.

It is a naturally nutrient-dense food and contains nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. Besides high omega-3 fatty acid, avocado is also rich in many essential vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of not only pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), Vitamin K and fiber, but also magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium. According to the New York University Langone Medical Center, it contains even more potassium per gram than bananas. Lycopene and beta-carotene, which are important carotenoid antioxidants, can be found in fresh avocados.

Because of its high mono- and polyunsaturated fats, avocado may help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce risk for heart disease. The Vitamin B6 found in avocado can help regulate the levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Avocados contain 25 milligrams per ounce of a natural plant sterol called beta-sitosterol. Regular consumption of beta-sitosterol and other plant sterols has been known to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Numerous studies have shown that eating avocado can improve heart disease risk factors like Total, LDL (low-density lipoprotein or bad) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein or good) cholesterol, as well as blood triglycerides. For instance, a 7-year study published in 2013 in ‘Nutrition Journal’ reported that avocados were linked to a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of symptoms shown to increase the risk of stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes. A 1996 study in the ‘Journal Archives of Medical Research’ found that patients with mild hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) who included avocados into their diet for a week had a 22 percent decrease in bad cholesterol and triglycerides, and an 11 percent increase in good cholesterol because of their high amount of the beta-sitosterol.

Moreover, avocado can help regulate blood sugar, manage blood pressure, improve immune system, reduce risk of certain cancer, and is an anti-inflammatory agent. It can be great for vision, too.

Nevertheless, it has some health risks. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain because of the fat content, and give rise many disorders including dehydration, Type-1 diabetes, Addison’s disease, and internal bleeding because of high potassium content. High intake of avocado may lead to reduction of HDL. When beta-sitosterol is in excess in the body, they also start absorbing HDL that is needed for removal of bad cholesterol and maintains inner wall of the blood vessels.

Just like avocado fruit, avocado oil can benefit the health so some people start consuming it which when applied in excess can harm the liver. People should avoid certain type of oil available in the market, such as Mexican avocado oil, containing anethole and estragole that can cause liver damage. Those who are already suffering from any kind of liver malfunctioning should stop taking avocado.

People who are sensitive to latex may not suitable to eat avocado as they are likely to have an allergic reaction. Avocado is not suitable for pregnant and nursing mothers who should avoid avocados completely. This is because avocados are known for reducing milk production and can even cause damage to the mammary gland.

Lastly, it was noted that the anti-inflammatory effect of avocado may reduce the impact of blood thinning medicines like warfarin. Patients who are on these drugs should inform doctors if they eat avocado regularly.




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