The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is supporting research to improve understanding of the unique, positive benefits of consuming fresh avocados to human health and nutrition. Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados' potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados' ability to enhance nutrient absorption. In November 2012, the first study supported by the HAB and conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Hass Avocado Modulates Postprandial Vascular Reactivity and Postprandial Inflammatory Responses to a Hamburger Meal in Healthy Volunteers, was published in the journal Food and Function.
This UCLA pilot study on 11 healthy men (18-35 years old,) on two separate occasions, found that eating one-half of a fresh medium Hass avocado with a burger (90 percent lean), rather than eating a burger alone, may curb the production of compounds that contribute to inflammation. Inflammation is a risk factor that may be associated with heart disease.
Specifically, the pilot study of 11 healthy men suggests that fresh Hass avocado, when eaten with a burger may neutralize Interleukin-6 (IL-6)-a protein that is a measure of inflammation-compared to eating a burger without fresh avocado. The researchers observed a significant peak (approximately a 70 percent increase), of IL-6 four hours after the plain burger was eaten, but little effect on IL-6 (approximately a 40 percent increase) over the same time period when fresh avocado was eaten with the burger. Additionally, the study found that when fresh Hass avocado was eaten with the burger it did not increase triglyceride levels beyond what was observed after eating the burger alone, despite the extra calories and fat from the fresh avocado. Elevated triglyceride levels are associated with heart disease.