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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

New study confirms the health benefits of eating avocados

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Avocados are one of Mexico’s most important agricultural exports and have long been considered a “superfood.” Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

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.

Recipes: Enjoy avocados big or small, from dip to dessert

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. 

Though this local avocado contains much more water and is therefore not ideal for guacamole when compared to other varieties, it is a staple in Yucatecan cuisine as an accompaniment for dishes such as Frijol con Puerco. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

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.”

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