Eating an Avocado a Day May Improve Diet Quality

Study participants who ate an avocado regularly were much more likely to adhere to dietary guidelines, a study suggests.

Avocado is a nutrient-dense food high in fiber and important nutrients such as vitamins B, C, E, and K, as well as folate, potassium, and magnesium.

It is also a great source of monounsaturated fat — a “good” type of fat that may help to reduce bad cholesterol and improve blood sugar control.


A recent study published in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition examined how a food-based intervention, such as eating an avocado a day, impacts overall diet quality.

The study included 1,008 participants with abdominal obesity who were split into two groups. One group continued their usual diet with a limited avocado intake for 26 weeks, while the other group incorporated one avocado per day into their diet.

Before and during the study, researchers interviewed participants about their dietary intake in the previous 24 hours. The diets were evaluated using the Healthy Eating Index to determine how well they adhered to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

"We found that the participants who had an avocado per day significantly increased their adherence to dietary guidelines," said the study's lead author, Kristina Petersen, an associate professor of nutritional sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

The researchers say avocados were used as a substitute for some foods higher in refined grains and sodium.

Poor diet, characterized as high in sugar, saturated and trans-fats, and sodium, can increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and many other preventable diseases.

What is a healthy diet?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends choosing foods and beverages rich in nutrients and staying within calorie limits. Healthy adults need between 1,800 to 3,000 calories daily, depending on their sex, age, body size, and activity level.


According to the guidelines, the core elements of a healthy diet include:

  • Vegetables of all types
  • Fruits, especially whole fruit
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole-grain
  • Dairy products, including fat-free or low-fat milk and lactose-free versions
  • Fortified soy beverages and yogurt as alternatives to dairy products
  • Protein foods, such as lean meats, poultry, and eggs, as well as seafood
  • Plant-based protein sources, including beans, peas, and lentils, as well as nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils, including vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts

High intake of some foods is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases. The limits recommended in the guidelines are:

  • Added sugars should account for less than 10% of calories per day.
  • Saturated fat, found in fried foods, sausages, and palm oil, should not exceed 10% of daily calories.
  • Sodium — less than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Alcoholic beverages — there is no safe amount of alcohol.

While eating an avocado can be a great substitute for less healthy foods, a healthy diet includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods.


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