Our food choices impact our health. Chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, are at epidemic levels in the United States. This is due directly to eating foods harmful to health. Compared to White families, Hispanics/Latinos have higher rates of obesity and consume less vitamins and minerals, as well as too much saturated fats and salt. Further, diet quality worsens as Hispanics/Latinos become acculturated in the U.S. and adopt a typical Western diet, which is high in refined carbohydrates (such as white bread and sweet desserts) and animal fats.

Health benefits of avocados

In a new study, researchers looked at the impact among Hispanic/Latino families of improving access to a nutrient-dense food. This study included 72 Hispanic families without severe chronic disease and not on specific diets. They were randomized to receive one of two quantities of avocados. For example, one group received a low dose of 3 avocados per week per family. The other group received a high dose of 14 avocados per week per family for 6 months. Participants also received nutrition education.

This study looked at how a single plant-food intervention (avocado) impacted health. Researchers measured the impact on energy intake (calories consumed). They found that at 6 months, the high avocado group had a significant reduction in energy intake. For example, the group getting many avocados reduced their energy intake by 29% kcal/family/day. This was compared to a 3% kcal/family/day reduction in families who got few avocados. Also, the high avocado group consumed less carbohydrate, animal and vegetable protein, and saturated and polyunsaturated fat. Additionally, this group had decreased intake of sodium, and potassium most likely due to overall reduced calorie intake.

Overall, eating more avocados significantly reduced self-reported energy intake by almost a third. Reduced energy intake can improve health, especially in people with obesity and other health complications.

Improving access to foods beneficial to health

Culturally appropriate plant-food interventions may improve nutrition in at-risk families.

Source: https://bit.ly/3lr7Gfq

Photo by Gil Ndjouwou on Unsplash