A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association claims that eating at least two servings of avocado per week reduced the risk of heart attack by 21%.
But don’t overindulge quite yet, as in the study a serving was defined as half a Hass avocado, which roughly weighs 80 grams.
The authors of the study recommend replacing spreads such as margarine or butter with avocados.
“Although no one food is the solution to routinely eating a healthy diet, this study is evidence that avocados have possible health benefits,” said Cheryl Anderson, chair of the American Heart Association’s Council.
This long-term study followed approximately 70,000 women and 40,000 men.
Though high in fat, the type of “good fat” found in avocados is widely documented to have positive effects on the cardiovascular system in a way similar to olive oil and some types of nuts.
Like in many places in the world, avocados are extremely popular in Yucatán, which boasts its own extra large regional variety, the so-called Aguacate Yucateco.
Avocados are Mexico’s second-biggest agricultural earner after the tomato. The avocado or “green gold” is growing in demand as it becomes a staple of diets north of the border. An increasing number of Mexican farmers are cultivating the crop.
Mexico’s dominance of the avocado market is due largely to its ideal growing conditions, especially in the state of Michoacan. The fruit, in fact, is native to Mexico.
But El Pais reports that success has attracted organized crime along with deforestation to create more land for cultivation.
Another problem is increased water use.
“The environmental impact is the most questionable,” says Alejandro Macías, an economics specialist at the University of Guadalajara. “Deforestation is dramatic, very serious. And in some areas it is leading to water shortages: we are exporting virtual water to other countries.”