Avocados for Heart Health

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No food is a magic bullet, but some come closer than others to truly earning the title “superfood.” Avocados are the latest addition to that group, given new research recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

 

 

The in-depth, thirty-year study tracked more than a hundred thousand health professionals. The research found that two or more servings of avocado per week measurably reduced the risk of harmful cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

 

The statistics from the study are nothing short of jaw-dropping. It concluded that replacing half a serving a day of high-saturated-fat foods such as butter, margarine, or cheese, with avocado was associated with lowering heart-health risk by 16% to 22%.

 

The key factor was substituting unhealthy fats for healthier oils such as those found in avocados. The findings reinforced what is already known about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, or any eating plan focused on plants, lean proteins, and high-omega 3 oils. 

 

No-Sweat Swap-Outs

Thanks to the culinary versatility of avocados, it’s easy to substitute this delicious green superfood for other fats. Here are some of the most common swaps. Experiment a little and you’re sure to find many other tasty substitutions.

 

  • Butter. Your morning toast will be even more flavorful once you replace that layer of butter with a smear of avocado. Surprisingly, avocado is a wonderful alternative to butter even in baked goods (substitute 1:1). Muffins—and even cake—made with avocado remain incredibly moist, and any avocado flavor is completely overwhelmed by the principle flavorings, such as vanilla, chocolate, walnuts, or fruit. 

 

  • Cream cheese. An “everything” bagel is even more delicious coated in crushed avocado. The vegetable even goes well with lox! Adventurous bakers swap out the cream cheese in cheesecake for an equivalent measure of avocado, although the texture will be noticeably different.

 

  • Yogurt. Keep your blended, homemade smoothie super smooth by adding avocado instead of yogurt. The flavor difference will be almost imperceptible. 

 

  • Mayonnaise. Make silky smooth filling for deviled eggs by swapping out the mayo for an equal amount of avocado. Avocado is also a textural treat in place of mayonnaise on a BLT!

 

  • Heavy cream. Worried that your favorite cream-based pasta sauce is clogging your arteries? Replace that cream with blended avocado. The mouth feel will be just about identical.

 

Keep in mind that ripeness will impact how you use an avocado as a substitute. Still-firm, barely ripe avocadoes are ideal sliced thinly and used in place of cheese on a sandwich. Soft, very ripe avocados are a better choice to be blended or whipped smooth, and used in place of cream, milk, or yogurt. 

 

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