High Oleic Acid and Vascular Health
Food Components and Health Laboratory
2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
To investigate the effects of dietary fat and phytonutrients on vascular health, including endothelial function and blood pressure, through consumption of a healthy diet based on plant products such as avocados.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Dietary fat composition is known to impact risk for cardiovascular disease. In addition, vascular reactivity (the ability for blood vessels to relax when necessary to allow reduction of blood pressure) is a key to reducing heart strain and maintaining heart health. We will conduct a human feeding study with diets differing in fat and phytonutrient content to test their effects on vascular reactivity. Plant sources high in oleic acid, such as avocados, which are also high in phytonutrients, will be incorporated into the test diet and compared to diets with foods differing in fat composition.
This agreement is to investigate the potential role of avocado in improving blood vessel health. Avocados, being high in oleic acid, are expected to provide benefit by promoting healthy blood vessels. An intervention was conducted in which sixty volunteers were provided controlled diets, with one diet being comprised of typical American foods, and the other diet containing avocado in place of foods high in saturated fat. At the beginning and end of the intervention, volunteers provided blood and urine for analysis of markers of cardiovascular disease, and they also participated in a specialized blood pressure test to determine potential improvements in the ability of blood vessels to relax when necessary, thus maintaining healthy blood pressure. While avocados contain several nutrients whose consumption is associated with reduced risk of CVD, consumption of typically consumed amounts of avocado as part of a controlled diet did not improve blood pressure, blood vessel health, cholesterol, or markers of inflammation.