Posts Tagged “cardiovascular disease”

Avocados Linked to Better Diet Quality, Lower Body Weight, Positive Health Parameters

By |

DSCN8788by Hass Avocado Board

Insulin and homocysteine levels were lower in the avocado group, as well as a significantly reduced incidence of metabolic syndrome, according to a study.

Homocysteine, when elevated, has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.   The analysis, Avocado Consumption by Adults is Associated with Better Nutrient Intake, Diet Intake, Diet Quality, and Some Measures of Adiposity:  National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001 -2012 , was published in the journal Internal Medicine Review.


  • Compared to non-consumers, avocado consumers have:
    • Higher intakes of dietary fiber, total fat, good fats (monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids), vitamins E and C, folate, magnesium, copper and potassium.
    • Lower intakes of total carbohydrates, added sugars and sodium.
  • Avocado consumers have improved diet quality, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index-2010.
  • Improved physiologic measures include:
    • On average, avocado consumers weighed 7.5 lbs less, had a mean BMI of 1 unit less and 1.2 in. smaller waist circumference compared to non-consumers.
    • Avocado consumers were 33% less likely to be overweight or obese and 32% less likely to have an elevated waist circumference compared to non-consumers.
    • Incidence of metabolic syndrome was significantly reduced for avocado consumers.

The findings are based on avocado consumption and its association with nutrient and food group intake, diet quality, and health biomarkers assessed using a nationally representative sample of 29,684 adults (ages 19 years and older) participating in the 2001-2012 NHANES. Fresh avocado intake averaged a consumption of 76 grams per day (a little more than half of a medium Hass avocado) and was assessed by 24-hour dietary recalls. Diet quality was measured using the Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010), which measured adherence to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The analysis was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Children’s Nutrition Research Center and the Hass Avocado Board (HAB).

“These findings indicate incorporating avocados could be one way for Americans to meet the recommended fruit and vegetable intake and potentially improve physiologic measures,” said Nikki Ford, Hass Avocado Board Director of Nutrition. “As we fund additional clinical studies investigating the relationship between fresh avocado consumption and weight management and risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, we continue to encourage healthcare professionals to remain committed to recommending avocados as part of an overall healthy diet.”

About the Hass Avocado Board
The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is an agriculture promotion group established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass Avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass Avocados directs HAB’s promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Funding for HAB comes from Hass avocado producers and importers in the United States.

Read more »

Take Avocados, Other Fruits and Veggies to Heart, During American Heart Month

By |

DSCN8788By Hass Avocado Board

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. – February is American Heart Month – a critical time to raise awareness about the importance of heart health and the harmful consequences if ignored. As part of its four-year collaboration, the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is teaming up with the American Heart Association during American Heart Month to encourage Americans to consume the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables in an effort to improve the health of all Americans which is associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease and stroke. American Heart Month comes on the heels of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement that raw fruits and vegetables – including fresh avocados – now qualify for the “Dietary Saturated Fat and Cholesterol and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease” health claim.

As part of its American Heart Month support, HAB via its Love One Today® program is implementing a three-pronged approach to target consumers, general market and Hispanic media and health professionals through a variety of tactics that will help create and promote heart-check certified recipes and highlight the health benefits of avocados. This includes a recipe contest hosted by the American Heart Association open to consumers and health professionals, and supporting influencer and traditional media relations.

  • The Take Avocado To Heart recipe contest, open February 9 – 27, encourages consumer and health professional participants to submit their favorite original heart healthy avocado recipes for the chance to win a variety of prizes, including the grand prize of $1,000. The official contest hashtag is #AddAvocado. Entry information can be found at
  • Influencer relations will take the form of a blogger network partnership, intended to not only promote participation in the recipe contest, but generate additional avocado recipes that are Heart-Check certified by the American Heart Association. The recipes will be housed on
  • Traditional media relations will be enhanced by American Heart Association Ambassador and Go Red For Women spokesperson, Chef Hamlet Garcia.
  • Facebook, Instagram and other engaging platforms will be used to further drive the heart healthy discussion on HAB and the American Heart Association’s social channels.

“American Heart Month is an ideal time to reinforce our relationship with the American Heart Association. In doing so, we are supporting their Healthy for Good movement, which aims to inspire Americans to create lasting change for better health,” said Emiliano Escobedo, Executive Director of the Hass Avocado Board. “The efforts during the month of February clearly demonstrate our commitment to finding new ways to showcase how avocados can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, boost heart health and ultimately save lives.”

For more information about how fresh avocados can help keep your heart healthy, visit Love One Today.

About the Hass Avocado Board

The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is an agriculture promotion group established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass avocados directs HAB’s promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Funding for HAB comes from Hass avocado producers and importers in the United States.

In 2010, HAB established a Nutrition Research program to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. Fresh Hass avocados are a delicious, cholesterol-free, whole food source of naturally good fats. The Nutrition Research program is an integral part of Love One Today, HAB’s multi-year, science-based food and wellness education program. Love One Today encourages Americans to include fresh Hass avocados in everyday healthy eating plans to increase fruit and vegetable intake.

Read more »

Fresh Pear Consumption May Improve Blood Pressure

By |

003By The Northwest Pear Bureau

PORTLAND, Ore. — An abstract of an ongoing study, “Fresh pear (Pyrus communis) consumption may improve blood pressure in middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome,” presented at Experimental Biology in San Diego recently indicates regular fresh pear consumption may improve blood pressure and vascular function in middle-aged men and women with metabolic syndrome (MetS.)1 MetS, a cluster of major cardiovascular risk factors highly associated with the development of chronic disease such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, affects more than one in three U.S. adults. 2

The randomized, placebo-controlled crossover clinical trial evaluated the antihypertensive effects of fresh pear consumption in middle-aged men and women with MetS. Fifty men and women aged 45 to 65 years with three of the five features of MetS were randomly assigned to receive either 2 medium-sized fresh pears (~178 g) or 50 g pear-flavored drink mix (placebo) per day for 12 weeks. Preliminary analyses of 36 participants show that after 12 weeks of fresh pear consumption, systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were significantly lower than baseline levels, whereas there were no changes in the control group. Further research is needed to confirm the antihypertensive effects of fresh pears as well as to assess their impact on vascular function.

“These initial results are very promising,” said Dr. Sarah A. Johnson, PhD, RDN, lead author and now Assistant Professor and Director of the Functional Foods & Human Health Laboratory in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University. “With metabolic syndrome being of such high prevalence in the U.S., we feel it is important to explore the potential for functional foods such as pears to improve cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure in affected middle-aged adults. Elevated systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure, which is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure, are strong predictors of cardiovascular disease. Age-related vascular dysfunction has been shown to be accelerated in individuals with metabolic syndrome and contributes to these increases in blood pressure.”

The study is from the Department of Nutrition, Food and Exercise Sciences and the Center for Advancing Exercise and Nutrition Research on Aging (CAENRA) at Florida State University by Dr. Bahram H. Arjmandi, Professor and Director of CAENRA and Dr. Sarah A. Johnson, previous Assistant Director of CAENRA.

Among the most popular fruits in the world, Pears are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of vitamin C, for only 100 calories per serving. One medium pear provides 24 percent of daily fiber needs. Plus they are sodium-free, cholesterol-free, fat-free, and contain 190 mg of potassium. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including pears, provides beneficial micronutrients, vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium, phytochemicals, and more.

Pear Bureau Northwest continues to collaborate with researchers to support additional studies highlighting the relationship between pears and positive health outcomes. Visit for additional pear research, nutrition resources and recipes.

About Pear Bureau Northwest Pear Bureau Northwest was established in 1931 as a nonprofit marketing organization to promote the fresh pears grown in Oregon and Washington. Today, the United States is the third largest pear-producing country in the world, and Oregon and Washington comprise the nation’s largest pear growing region with 1,600 growers producing 84% of all fresh pears grown in the United States. Pears grown in these two Pacific Northwest states are distributed under the “USA Pears” brand. Pears are an excellent source of fiber (24% DV) and a good source of vitamin C (10% DV) for only 100 calories per medium sized pear. Sweet and juicy with no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol, pears are a perfect choice for a snack as well as for any course of any meal of the day. For more information, visit,, and follow @USApears on Twitter.

Read more »

Study Lowers Calorie Count for Walnuts

By |

IMG_6910+1Walnuts have 21 percent fewer calories than what is currently assigned to it by the USDA, according to a recent study.

One serving (1 ounce) of walnuts contains 146 calories, which is 39 calories less than the 185 calories assigned to the product, the USDA reports.   Since late 19th century, the calorie value for the walnuts has been derived from the Atwater system that calculates the metabolisable energy of many foods.

The recent research discovered that the metabolisable energy of walnuts was 21 percent  less than that established by the Atwater general factor system.

For the study, the USDA studied 18 healthy adults.  Each participant was assigned randomly to follow two diet regimens: a controlled diet without walnuts, and a controlled diet with 1.5 servings (42g) of walnuts, each followed for a 3-week period.

Assigned diets to each participant, walnuts, fecal and urine samples were collected and calories were measured and this measurement was used to calculate the metabolisable energy of the walnuts.

“Our results could help explain why consumers of walnuts do not typically gain weight.  And given the numerous potential health benefits of consuming walnuts, including reduced risk for cancer, cardiovascular and cognitive diseases, our results could potentially help alleviate any calorie-related concerns consumers might have with incorporating them into their everyday diet,” the USDA reported.

In earlier research too, it has been established that walnut provides benefits to health.  Recently a study by researchers from the Life Sciences Research Organisation in the US showed that consuming two handfuls of walnuts daily could help stave off cardiovascular disease.

The study claimed that intake of about 60 grams of this tree nut everyday lowers total cholesterol levels in the body, thus cuts a person’s risk of heart attack.

Touted as the world’s healthiest food, walnut is a rich source of numerous important nutrients such as omega-3s, fibres, vitamins, protein and minerals as well as the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Read more »

Californians, Oregonians Lead in Veggie Consumption

By |

DSCN4878Residents of California lead the nation in vegetable consumption, while neighboring Oregon is second.

Even though Oregon is second, most folks here aren’t eating enough, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 11 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended two to three cups of vegetables a day, second only to California, where 13 percent eat enough veggies, CDC researchers report.

Nationwide, only 8.9 percent of Americans are eating two to three cups of vegetables every day as recommended.

Fruit consumption is slightly better. About 14.5 percent of Oregonians are eating the recommended 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, compared with 13.1 percent of all Americans and 17.7 percent of people in California.

Fruits and vegetables are important in lowering a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, said Jordana Turkel, a registered dietitian at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

For example, they contain a lot of fiber, which helps control spikes in blood glucose levels by slowing the digestive process, and the fact that they are generally low in fat helps lower cholesterol levels.

“We are seeing now what is going to happen if this trend continues,” Turkel said. “Obesity is on the rise. The rates of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease are on the rise. I think we are seeing the effects of all of this now.”

Read more »