AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION RECIPE CONTEST SPOTLIGHTS LOVE AND HEART-HEALTHINESS OF FRESH AVOCADOS

The American Heart Association and the Hass Avocado Board celebrate American Heart Month with the Take Avocado to Heart recipe contest highlighting the many ways to enjoy heart-healthy avocados. Hispanic personalities including celebrity chef Hamlet Garcia and registered dietitian Sylvia Meléndez-Klinger are set to demonstrate Heart-Check certified Hass avocado recipes and share nutrition facts to encourage participation. Already consuming avocados at a higher rate than the general market, Hispanics are the natural ambassadors for inspiring all communities to improve their heart-health by incorporating more healthy avocados in to their daily diet.

The Take Avocado to Heart recipe contest is in support of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good movement, helping to motivate, inspire and educate consumers to live healthier lives. To enter the recipe contest and vie for up to $1,000, avocado lovers can now visit www.heart.org/avocadorecipecontest to share their original entrée, appetizer or dessert recipes before the February 27 deadline. Avocado recipes need to be original, easy to prepare and align with AHA nutrition guidelines. Complete contest rules, including helpful tips for planning heart-healthy recipes, are available here.

“I love to be creative in the kitchen with authentic Hispanic flavors and ingredients,” said Venezuelan-born Chef Hamlet Garcia, AHA volunteer spokesperson. “Avocados are a delicious, heart-healthy, whole food source of naturally good fats and I like their versatility. Through this fun contest, American Heart Association and the Hass Avocado Board are pulling together lots of delicious inspiration on how to add avocados to everyday eating plans, making it easier for everyone to eat healthier.”

Heart disease is the number one killer for all Americans and stroke is the fifth leading cause of death. Hispanics and Latinos, however, face even higher risks of cardiovascular disease because of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.  There is good news in the fact that education and a few simple lifestyle changes can reduce the chances of getting these diseases, and one of those changes can be as simple as cooking heart healthy recipes.  In addition, eating vegetables and fruits, like fresh healthy avocados, is associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.  A recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association showed that eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy diet can help lower bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals. While more research is needed to see if the study results could be replicated in groups other than healthy, obese adults or with a single serving of avocado rather than a whole avocado each day, this scientific evidence adds to a growing body of research linking cholesterol levels with diet.

To help make daily menu planning more heart-healthy, there is now a growing gallery of Heart-Check certified recipes featuring fresh avocados available at LoveOneToday.com and in Spanish at SaboreaUnoHoy.com.