From: Allison Winter, ENN
Published February 21, 2013 09:45 AM

Avocados Linked to Better Diet Quality

Break out that guacamole! New data suggests avocado consumption may be associated with better diet quality!

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Avocados, also known as the alligator pear for their shape, green skin and rough texture can be found in dishes all around the world. From adding them to dips, spreads, salads and sandwiches, avocados not only add to the flavor of your meal, but carry multiple health benefits as well.

According to the new analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, avocado consumption is associated with improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome.

The health benefits of avocados have been publicly known as they contain monounsaturated fatty acids (what some call the "good" type of fat), dietary fiber, and essential nutrients. However no data had existed on the fruit's effects on diet quality and weight management, until now.

Researchers collected data from over 17,000 participants over the age of 19 who provided information on their avocado consumption and overall nutrition while also undergoing physical examinations.

The study revealed that in general, avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of vegetables and fruit, thus contributing to their diet quality, total fat, dietary fiber, vitamins E, K, magnesium, and potassium. The consumers also had lower intakes of added sugars.

The research also shows that body weight, BMI, and waist circumference were significantly lower in avocado consumers vs non-consumers.

"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.

While it can be debated that healthier people may be eating other and more nutritious foods besides avocados that could be contributing to their overall diet quality and despite the paper's connection to the Hass Avocado Board, one thing is for sure- avocados are a vitamin-packed super food, so eat up!

The research can be found in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal.

Avocado image via Shutterstock.

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