Confirmed: Avocado on toast is good for you! Scientists say potassium-rich foods keep heart healthy (but only for women!)
- Researchers have today concluded that avocados are great for your heart
- Eating more potassium, abundant in avocados, may stave off a heart attack
- Only women appear to reap its benefit, achieved by eating an extra 1g per day
If you’re needing an excuse to indulge in avocado on toast, science has come up trumps.
Researchers have today concluded that the millennials’ favourite fruit is great for your heart.
Eating more potassium, abundant in avocados as well as bananas, may stave off a heart attack or stroke, their study found.
Although, only women appear to reap its benefit, achieved by eating an extra 1g per day — roughly one avocado (975mg each) — on top of the recommended daily amount.
A similar amount is also found in three bananas or three cups of milk (375mg each).
Potassium helps the body pass sodium in urine, controlling the balance of fluids in the body.
But Dutch experts, who uncovered the benefits of the widely-loved ‘avo-on-toast’, believe it may keep the heart healthy in other ways.
If you’re needing an excuse to indulge in avocado on toast, science has come up trumps. Researchers have today concluded that the millennials’ favourite fruit is great for your heart
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide
The study tracked nearly 25,000 people for almost 20 years.
Participants were aged between 40 and 79 when the project kicked off, before the millennium.
All were quizzed about their lifestyle habits and had blood pressure readings taken.
Urinary samples were taken to allow researchers to estimate how much sodium and potassium they consumed daily.
The compound is hidden in fresh everyday foods, making it hard for people to give an accurate reflection of how much they get.
Volunteers were the grouped by how much potassium they ate per day, ranging from low to high.
World Health Organization guidelines say that adults should eat 3.5g per day.
Analysis in the European Heart Journal showed women with the highest potassium intake had the lowest blood pressure levels.
Every one gram increase in daily potassium was linked with a 2.4mmHg drop in blood pressure.
Meanwhile, a separate analysis revealed participants who consumed the most were 13 per cent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than people who consumed the least.
The findings took into account factors that may have skewed the results, such as smoking status, alcohol intake and underlying health conditions.
Professor Liffert Vogt, a medical specialist at Amsterdam University Medical Centers, said: ‘Our findings indicate that a heart healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt to boosting potassium content.
‘Food companies can help by swapping standard sodium-based salt for a potassium salt alternative in processed foods.
‘On top of that, we should all prioritise fresh, unprocessed foods since they are both rich in potassium and low in salt.’
Tracy Parker, senior dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘This research supports current advice that cutting down our intake of salt and eating more foods containing potassium can be the recipe for a healthier heart.
‘An easy way to boost your potassium intake is by eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
‘Other foods like pulses, fish, nuts, seeds and milk are also high in potassium and low in salt, so can help benefit your heart.
‘However, keeping healthy isn’t just about monitoring what’s on your plate.
‘Limiting your alcohol intake and staying physically active will also help to lower your blood pressure, reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.’