Families that eat avocados together stay healthy together

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6 Health Benefits of Avocados. Avocado is one of the most unique fruits. Here are 6 of its surprising health benefits. 1. Avocado is highly nutritious, rich in vitamin K, folate and vitamin C. 2. Avocados have more potassium than bananas, offering 14% of the recommended daily allowance. . 3. 77% of an avocado's calories come from heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. . 4. Avocados are loaded with fiber, with a 3.5-ounce serving contains 27% of the recommended daily allowance. 5. Avocados can lower LDL cholesterol by up to 22%. 6. The green fleshy fruits are also full of lutein and zeaxanthin, powerful antioxidants that protect your eyes

Study finds the more fruits a family ate, the fewer bad calories it consumed

What’s small, green and might be the key to consuming less dairy, meats and refined grains — and their associated negative nutrients, such as saturated fat and sodium? It’s an avocado.

Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing the potential health effects between families that ate a low allotment of avocados (three per week) and families that consumed a high allotment (14 per week) over six months. All families were of Mexican descent.

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The families that ate more avocados reported consuming fewer calories, saturated fats and sodium.

The study was funded, in part, by the Hass Avocado Board, which the researchers said had no role in study design, data collection, analysis and interpretation of data, writing of the findings or publication. The board did provide avocados used in the trial at no cost.

“Data regarding the effects of avocado intake on family nutritional status has been non-existent,” said senior author Matthew Allison, MD, professor and chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Family Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

“Recent trials have focused on individuals, primarily adults, and limited to changes in cardiometabolic disease blood markers. Our trial’s results provide evidence that a nutrition education and high avocado allotment reduces total caloric energy in Mexican heritage families.”

Avocados are rich in vitamins C, E, K and B6, plus riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein, beta carotene and omaga-3 fatty acids.

Half of a medium-size fruit provides up to 20% of the recommended daily fiber, 10% potassium, 5% magnesium, 15% folate and 7.5 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids.

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For the study, researchers enrolled 72 families (231 individuals) consisting of at least three members each over the age of 5, residing in the same home, free of severe chronic disease, not on specific diets and self-identified as Mexican heritage. The families were randomized into the two allotment groups for six months, during which time both groups also received biweekly nutrition education sessions.

The researchers said they focused on families of Mexican heritage for two reasons: First, Hispanic/Latino people in the United States have a higher-adjusted prevalence of obesity and lower intake of key nutrients than other demographic groups in the country. Second, for Hispanic/Latino immigrants, dietary quality worsens as they become acculturated, adopting a Western dietary pattern that is higher in refined carbohydrates and animal-based fats.

Families that consumed more avocados reduced their consumption of animal protein, specifically chicken, eggs and processed meats, the latter of which are typically higher in fat and sodium. Researchers were surprised to find those who ate a lot of avocados also had a lowered intake of calcium, iron, sodium, vitamin D, potassium and magnesium, which researchers said might be associated with eating less.

“Our results show that the nutrition education and high avocado intake intervention group significantly reduced their family total energy intake, as well as carbohydrate, protein, fat (including saturated), calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, potassium and vitamin D,” said first author Lorena Pacheco, a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and co-investigator at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health at UC San Diego.

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“In secondary energy-adjusted analyses, the nutrition education and high avocado allotment group significantly increased their intake of dietary fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin E and folate.”

The study was published in the November 11 online issue of Nutrients.

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