Researchers have found that two or more servings of avocados a week can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, specifically coronary heart disease. That’s great news for seniors because avocados are a tasty and versatile fruit that can easily fit into any diet.
What the researchers found
In a study published in March 2022 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, researchers found that eating two or more servings of avocado per week lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 16% to 22%.
And this wasn’t a small study of just a handful of people – researchers followed more than 100,000 men and women for 30 years.
The study also found replacing margarine, butter, egg, yogurt, cheese or processed meats with avocado also reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease.
What is it about avocados?
Not long ago, avocados had a bad rap as a fruit that was high in fat. However, we know now that the type of fat found in avocados is actually good for you.
Avocados contain monounsaturated fat, which can give the immune system a boost, reduce cholesterol levels and improve skin health. That means eating avocados doesn’t just help lower your risk of heart disease; it benefits your whole body.
And in case you need one more reason to encourage your senior loved ones to increase the amount of avocado they eat, avocados contain vitamin K, which can maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis—always a concern for seniors.
Adding avocados to your diet
Now you know the benefits of adding avocados to your diet, you might be wondering how to best incorporate this superfood. The good news is avocados are not that hard to prepare. All you need is a good knife and a spoon.
How to prepare an avocado
Slice all the way around the avocado from top to bottom. Twist it apart. Then give that pit a firm whack with the sharp blade of your knife. Twist a little. The pit will come right out. Slice the avocado the way you like it, then scoop the whole thing out with a spoon.
Need a visual? Check out this video.
15+ avocado options for your senior loved one’s diet
Now that you know how to prepare an avocado, what should you do with it? The options are nearly endless:
- Use it as a salad topper
- Add it to a rice or quinoa bowl
- Make avocado toast
- Use it as a butter substitute in baked goods
- Include it in smoothies
- Serve avocado slices as a side dish with a larger meal
- Add it to a sandwich
- Grill it
- Add it to scrambled eggs
- Use it as a substitute for mayonnaise in egg or chicken salad
- Make avocado soup
- Use it as a pizza topping
- Include it in taco offerings
- Add it to hummus
- Make an avocado sauce for pasta
As you can see, avocados are incredibly versatile, which means increasing your loved one’s avocado intake won’t take too much work.
Some of our favorite avocado recipes include this power greens smoothie. It’s easy to make and packed with protein, potassium and calcium. If you’re looking for breakfast, lunch or a nutritious snack, this green smoothie is sure to be a hit.
If you or your loved one aren’t quite ready to drink a glass of green, check out this new take on an old favorite: This elevated grilled cheese takes a classic sandwich and gives it a new, healthier twist by adding avocado and red pepper. If you or a senior you know loves grilled cheese, try out this version to add those avocado servings without complaint.
Still reluctant to try some avocado? This creamy avocado pudding is a sweet treat with a nutritious punch. If you or your loved one don’t really care for avocados, this is the perfect way to get those two or more servings a week. The avocados in this dish provide the texture, but the flavor is pure chocolate.
Other heart-healthy foods
Avocados are a great choice to lower your risk of heart disease, but they aren’t the only option. If you really want to focus on heart health, include some of these foods in your diet, too:
- Fruits and vegetables – Choose fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to get the most nutrients. If you want to use canned fruits and vegetables, look for low-sodium options and fruits that are packed in water or juice instead of heavy syrup.
- Whole grains – Look for breads that are labeled 100% whole wheat.
- Healthy fats – Stick with olive or vegetable and nut oils as well as eating whole nuts and seeds.
- Low fat protein sources – Get most of your protein from fish, skinless poultry, eggs and lean ground meats.
The bottom line
Paying attention to heart health is important at any age but especially important for seniors. As we age, our arteries become stiffer, so eating a heart-healthy diet helps keep our cardiovascular system working at its best. Adding two servings of avocados a week to your diet is a simple way to improve your health and keep the doctor away.