This first comprehensive review of fresh Hass avocados includes 19 clinical trials, five observational studies, and biological mechanisms. We identified four primary avocado health effects: (1) reducing cardiovascular disease risk in healthy overweight or obese adults with dyslipidemia by lowering non-HDL-C profiles, triglycerides, LDL oxidation, small atherogenic LDL particles and promoting postprandial vascular endothelial health for better peripheral blood flow; (2) lowering the risk of being overweight or obese, supporting weight loss, and reducing visceral fat tissue in overweight or obese women; (3) improving cognitive function in older normal-weight adults and in young to middle age overweight or obese adults especially in frontal cortex executive function; and (4) stimulating improved colonic microbiota health in overweight or obese adults by promoting healthier microflora and fecal metabolites. We also identified a unique combination of four Hass avocado nutritional features that appear to be primarily responsible for these health effects: (1) a 6 to 1 unsaturated (rich in oleic acid) to saturated fat ratio similar to olive oil; (2) a source of multifunctional prebiotic and viscous fiber; (3) a relatively low energy density of 1.6 kcal/g (79% of edible Hass avocado weight consists of water and fiber with a creamy, smooth texture); and (4) its oleic acid and water emulsion increases carotenoid absorption from low-fat fruits and vegetables (e.g., salsa or salad) when consumed with avocados. They are also a good source of micronutrients and polyphenols, and are very low in sodium and available carbohydrates supporting secondary health and wellness benefits. Hass avocado health effects are best demonstrated when consumed in a healthy dietary plan such as the Mediterranean diet. More extensive and longer clinical trials are needed to further enhance our understanding of the Hass avocado’s health effects.
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