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US: Avocados could make hamburgers healthier

A hamburger is not typically seen as a healthy food choice, but a recent study out of UCLA's Center for Human Nutrition is suggesting that it could get a little healthier – as long as you remember to order one with avocado.

The pilot study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Food and Function, set out to determine what health benefits were gained when adding avocados to a meal. The study consisted of 11 healthy males between the ages of 18 and 35. They each had the enviable task of eating a hamburger, with some of the meals including half a fresh Hass avocado. Researchers then took several biological measures of heart and vascular health to determine the effects of adding avocados.

The results showed that adding an avocado to the burger diminished inflammation and narrowing of blood vessels. That's key to the health of one's cardiovascular system because inflammation has been linked to heart attacks and blood flow is a key indicator of vascular health. The effects suggest that adding a bit of avocado to one's meal could have an instant impact on the health of a meal.

“This study is based on the hypothesis that fresh Hass avocado may help support normal vascular health in 11 healthy mean, which is important for vascular health,” said the study's primary investigator, Dr. David Heber.

Though this is only the first in a series of seven studies aimed at exploring the health benefits of avocados, it suggests that avocados may not only go great with burgers, but they might make them a bit healthier.

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