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If you love avocados, here is some news that will warm your heart: Eating two servings of avocado each week can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to research recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

In addition, consuming avocados instead of fatty foods such as butter, cheese or processed meats results in a lower risk of cardiovascular events. Previous research also has found that avocados can reduce cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol.

The AHA says the latest study is believed to be 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.”

To reach their findings, researchers looked at 30 years of dietary data from more than 68,000 women ages 30 to 55, and more than 41,000 men ages 40 to 75. Among other things, the researchers found that:

  • Those who ate at least two servings of avocado each week had a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease than those eating fewer avocados.
  • Replacing half a serving daily of several types of food — butter, cheese, egg, margarine, yogurt or processed meats such as bacon — with an equivalent amount of avocado lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease events by 16% to 22%.

Avocados are good sources of both fiber and monounsaturated fats, which are often characterized as “healthy fats.” The researchers note that U.S. government data shows that avocado consumption has risen sharply in the U.S. over the past two decades.

That is the good news. The bad news? Recent reports suggest that the price of avocados has risen to a nearly quarter-century high.

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