WELCOME TO THE
OFFICIAL WEBSITE FOR
NEW ZEALAND AVOCADOS
Take me to the Industry Website >
I ♥ Avocados:
You Tube Twitter Facebook Follow us on >
Posts & Tweets

Diet change works swiftly in reducing risk

University of Auckland - 31 Jan '13

NZ Avocado contributed to the study detailed below through the provision of avocados to the participants throughout the trial.

A study by Lynnette Ferguson, Professor of Nutrition at The University of Auckland, has shown that a change in diet can be effective in reducing inflammation over a period of just six weeks in healthy New Zealanders.

The research has also shown that short-term studies with relatively small numbers of participants are capable of yielding robust research results, which has major implications for the cost of human clinical trials.

"Inflammation,” says Professor Ferguson, "can be the catalyst for chronic human diseases, including Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, as well as various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease and type 2 diabetes.”

"It has been established in many studies that this inflammation can be reduced through a diet which is high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and is low in refined grains, saturated fats and sugars.

"Many of these dietary components characterise the ‘Mediterranean diet', which has been shown to protect against chronic disease.”

What Professor Ferguson set out to investigate was whether there was evidence of inflammation in apparently healthy New Zealanders and whether changing their diet for just six weeks would reduce this evidence.

To do this she looked at bio-markers including the C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a standard marker for inflammation and can be measured through blood tests.

Thirty healthy volunteers, selected for their initially "poor” diets, were encouraged to cut out refined and processed foods and to follow a Mediterranean-type diet over the six weeks of the study, with increased amounts of fish, vegetables, unrefined cereals and "good” fats such as olive oil and avocado. They were given some foods, including salmon (for one meal a week), and were provided with recipes for healthy eating. The biggest difference from a standard Mediterranean-style diet was the use of gluten-free foods.

Participants, randomly assigned to high and lower-intervention groups, provided blood and urine samples at the beginning and end of the study, completed a four-day diary in the final days, and completed questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle, as well as attending workshops led by expert dieticians.

"This was a small study, intended to be a pilot for a much larger study of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn's Disease, but the results turned out to be highly statistically significant,” says Professor Ferguson. "Overall average daily fat intake was considerably reduced, and much lower percentages of saturated fat were consumed.”

The self-reporting of volunteers was corroborated by the blood tests, which showed a corresponding reduction in the bio-markers for inflammation. It demonstrated that the high-intervention diet had altered gene expression within six weeks.

"This is a remarkable result,” says Professor Ferguson, "since it shows that average people, many of them young and with no health conditions, can, through an improvement in diet, significantly modify the biomarkers that indicate the risk that they could develop a chronic disease later.”

The larger research project for which this was a pilot or "proof of principle” study is one which is examining the effect of a change to a Mediterranean-type diet (similar, though not identical, to that in the pilot study) on people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

It has been established that there are several different genotypes characteristic of people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and that each of those genotypes responds differently to particular types of diet or dietary items. The current research project is concentrating on those who have the most common genotype for the disease, though the ultimate aim is to formulate different diets tailored to the needs of the whole range of genotypes.

Results are being analysed now and look "highly encouraging”, says Professor Ferguson. The findings will be available in March.

View AllOther Recent Articles

Kiwi love affair with avocados growing stronger

More New Zealanders are declaring their love for avocados than ever before and Nadia Lim has devised a special Valentine’s Day treat that’s sure to tempt any chocolate lover. The latest research conducted by Nielsen Homescan shows 90,000 more Kiwi households are buying avocados than in previous seasons. In fact, New Zealanders bought avocados 5.5 times last season on average (compared with just 4.8 times in 2013-14) so now is a great time to experiment with new avocado recipes. Cook, dietician and avocado lover, Nadia Lim, has created a mouth-watering avocado chocolate ganache cake - a twist on a traditional chocolate cake. "The chocolate ganache on this cake uses avocados and coconut milk as the delicious ingredients that give it its creaminess, however the whole cake is also dairy free!  The cake itself is super moist and rich, with the help of rich avocado oil. "Avocados are simply amazing when whizzed up with melted chocolate, producing a thick, silky, creamy ganache.” Lim says if you’re not planning to eat the cake straight away, you can freeze it before it is iced. But the ganache is best made fresh. "This is a great recipe to try on Valentine’s Day because it is decadent, moist and a total treat.” "Introducing more avocados into the diet of your loved one is a delicious gift,” Lim says. Click here for the recipe. 

Picture perfect at Taste of Auckland

From 5-8 November, a team from NZ Avocado interacted with more than 6000 attendees at the Taste of Auckland festival held at Western Springs, Auckland. Over the course of six sessions during the four days of the festival, attendees who visited NZ Avocado’s stand were treated to an ‘Instagram worthy’ setting where we performed cooking demos, handed out recipe cards and booklets, as well as various delicious and beautiful looking avocado samples.     During the weekend we aimed to connect with avocado loving consumers and inspire them to try new avocado recipe ideas. We also gave them tips on how to pick the right avocado and how to correctly store avocados at various stages of ripeness.   Our stand was designed to look like a real life kitchen – bright, modern and eye catching. One wall of the stand was covered in images of delicious looking avocado dishes, while the other wall depicted a kitchen background with a window looking out onto an avocado orchard. Our Amazing Anytime bright blue was everywhere on our stand, making it one of the first stands that attendees eyes were drawn to as they walked through the festival entrance. The "kitchen” was artfully decorated with avocados displayed in glass bowls, cut flowers in vases, and various complementary ingredients for the samples being shared – making our stand look a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach.  Clean-eating, avocado loving and MotivateMe NZ founder Makaia Carr joined us during the Friday and Saturday afternoon sessions. She spent her time chatting to the audiences about her love for avocados while she demonstrated three trendy avocado recipes – a breakfast smoothie, avocado bliss balls and guacamole.  We had a selfie competition running during the weekend to invite interaction via social media. Visitors to our stand were encouraged to take a selfie somewhere on our stand, post it to social media and use the hashtag #nzavocado – by doing this they went into the draw to win an amazing avocado bliss ball prize pack.  Over 20,000 keen foodies enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather throughout the entire weekend. Those who visited our stand were eager to try the delicious avocado samples we had on offer – avocado with either cherry tomatoes or smoked salmon on toast, an avocado and blueberry breakfast smoothie, guacamole, avocado bliss balls, avocado and white chocolate tarts, and avocado crème filled cherry tomatoes. We had a lot of support from our loyal ‘Friends of NZ avocados’ – Go Nutz, Vogels, and NZ King Salmon – as well as support from new ‘Friends of NZ avocados’ – Beekist, Whitakers, Sujon Berries, RealFoods NZ, Down at the Farm, and Fire Dragon Chillies.   We received fantastic feedback from visitors in regards to our stand and everyone seemed to enjoy the avocado samples they tried – we had people coming back for more! Visitors to our stand had many questions about avocados and were very interested in our industry.

Kick start your kids' healthy eating habits with avocado pizza

School  holidays are a great time to experiment  in the kitchen and encourage your kids to eat new foods – and avocados should be  top of the list of healthy things to try.  Avocados are a nutritional powerhouse and their creamy texture appeals to children of all ages. They are full of fibre to help energise and sustain busy youngsters. Plus they are also sugar-free, low in salt and a source of ‘good fat’ which is important for a healthy heart.  Eating avocados can also help your child’s body absorb more vital nutrients from other foods they consume. Avocados contain more potassium per 100 grams than a banana, and are a source of folate and antioxidants – that’s why they’re considered ‘nature’s superfood’.  While some kids are reluctant to eat anything green, pizza is always a winner. Try this delicious Avocado Pizza recipe to get your kids in the kitchen these school holidays so they can learn how to become healthy Avo-heroes! Avocado and Bacon Pizza Avocado and bacon go so well together on pizza, and this recipe is one that the kids will love to make and eat! Makes 2 pizzas, enough to serve 3-4 people Prep time: 20 minutes 40 minutes rising time for the dough           Cook time: 12-15 minutes Pizza base (makes 4 pizza bases) 1 cup (250ml) warm water 1 tablespoon active dried yeast 1 teaspoon sugar450g high grade flour 1 tablespoon olive oil1 teaspoon salt Toppings 1 x 400g can crushed or pureed tomatoes 1 red capsicum, sliced 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese 2 avocados, sliced 200g bacon, cut into pieces and fried ½ red onion, very thinly sliced To make the pizza dough, put the warm water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Stir gently. Leave in a warm place until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy. Mix well.  Place the flour, olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and mix well to form a dough (note: there may be some left over flour in the bowl once you’ve formed the dough, this is fine). Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel or clingfilm and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk (about 40 minutes). Once it has risen, knock back the dough and divide into 4 even pieces. This recipe uses 2 pizza bases so you can refrigerate or freeze the other 2 pieces of dough (wrapped well in clingfilm) to use at a later date. Alternatively you can cook all four pizzas, and just double the amount of toppings listed above! Preheat oven to 230degC. If you have them, place two pizza stones on separate shelves in the oven to preheat. Alternatively preheat 2 oven trays. Get them really hot (this helps the bases crisp up on the bottom). Lay each pizza base on a sheet of baking paper and roll them out to get a nice thin base. Spread tomato sauce over each base, leaving an edge for the crust. Sprinkle over mozzarella and arrange red capsicum and red onion on top. Carefully lift up the baking paper with the pizza on top and place on hot preheated stone or tray. Cook the pizza until the base is crisp and the cheese is melted and golden, about 12 minutes. Take pizzas out of the oven and arrange slices of avocado and bacon on top. Slice and serve!   About New Zealand Avocado The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) – collectively NZ Avocado, operates under the Horticultural Export Authority Act to set mandatory industry standards for all fruit exported from New Zealand. NZ Avocado also facilitates access for avocados to off shore markets. NZ Avocado works with the industry to promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all growers of which there are over 1,350 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. 

Burgers OK for Father's Day thanks to promising avocado research

Research shows you can give your Dad the gift of good health this Father’s Day by simply adding half an avocado to his hamburger. A pilot study carried out by the University of California (UCLA) and supported by the Hass Avocado Board, examined what happened when healthy men added half a fresh avocado to their hamburgers. The study found avocado helped reduce inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels in comparison to men who ate a meat-only burger instead. The research, published in the journal Food and Function, said the effect of adding fresh avocado to the hamburgers was noticeable within hours. Consuming avocado helped slow the production of compounds that contributed to inflammation – a risk-factor associated with heart disease. The avocado also helped the men (aged 18 to 35) maintain normal blood flow around their bodies which ensured oxygen and vital nutrients reached their organs, tissues and cells. Researchers believe these positive health effects are because avocados are rich in natural monounsaturated ‘healthy fats’ and antioxidants. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado says the hamburger research has not been discussed in New Zealand before and there is now growing consumer awareness and understanding of the health benefits avocados can offer. The study also provides promising clues about the impact avocado has vascular and heart health in particular. "Avocados are one of the most nutritionally-complete foods in the world,” Scoular says. "They’re full of fibre and help your body absorb more nutrients, from other foods you eat." Eating avocado is not only delicious – it’s a great way to improve your overall health.” New Zealand’s summer crop of avocados are now on sale – just in time for families to get creative in the kitchen this Father’s Day (Sunday 6 September). "The kids will love smashing up avocado to add to gourmet hamburgers. New Zealand men – and their hearts – will thank you for it.” says Scoular.  To read more about the study’s key findings visit http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-nutrition-center/ucla-study *While these are initial findings from a single study, they provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine whether avocados can play a role in the areas of vascular health and heart health.  About New Zealand Avocado The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) – collectively NZ Avocado, operates under the Horticultural Export Authority Act to set mandatory industry standards for all fruit exported from New Zealand. NZ Avocado also facilitates access for avocados to off shore markets. NZ Avocado works with the industry to promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all growers of which there are over 1,350 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. For further comment and information please contactMidge Munro Communications Manager, New Zealand Avocado p: 64 7 571 6147 m: 64 21 275 3331 e: mmunro@nzavocado.co.nz  OR  Bridgette Paton-TapsellVillage Public Relations | Marketingp: 64 7 572 1608m: 64 27 5533929e: b@villagenz.com

Avocados now 'The Oprah of Instagram'

Avocados have been declared ‘the Oprah of Instagram’ by renowned fashion blogger Leandra Medine and are the most photographed food of our time – just as New Zealand’s new season crop is about to hit supermarket shelves here and overseas. New Zealand’s avocado season begins in September and is likely to send Instagram’s foodies and health and fitness fans into overdrive. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says the fruit’s rising star status is great news for New Zealand’s avocado industry which is on track to increase production to take advantage of ever increasing global demand. New Zealand sold a record 7.1 million trays worth $135m during the 2014-15 avocado season, of which 2.4 million trays were consumed by Kiwis here at home. About one in five of Nigella Lawson’s recent Instagram posts have featured mashed avocado smothered on toast. Last month actress Emmy Rossum received 27,000 likes for posing in an Avocado Toast t-shirt, while Lena Dunham is another celebrity who likes to regularly snap her healthy avocado snacks. Bloggers and fashion influencers everywhere are leading the trend and avocados are now dominating the brunch and smoothie scene, becoming a must-have on every menu. The UK’s Daily Mail have described avocado as "breakfast’s new superstar” and "the Kendall Jenner of the fruit bowl” thanks to its popularity on Instagram. American blogger Leandra Medine, aka the Man Repeller, compared avocado’s influence to that of Oprah, while Kelly Eastwood of The London Chatter says the obsession is here to stay. "Avocado on toast says: ‘yes, I’m hungover, I haven’t showered yet but, hey, I’m eating avocado at a cool Portobello Road café so I’m still on top of the trend for all things healthy’.” Avocado is revered as a nutrient-dense, cholesterol-free fruit containing healthy fat. They’re a great source of energy, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and are quick and easy to prepare.  About New Zealand Avocado The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) work with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers of which there are over 1,350 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. For more information visit www.nzavocado.co.nz or follow us on social @NZ_Avocado @Jen_Scoular @Midge_Munro

Why the Amazing Avocado Will Help You Curb Cravings

Research shows adding a few slices of avocado to your lunch will slash your desire to eat over the next three hours by 40 per cent compared to eating the same meal without it. A study, published in Nutrition Journal*, focussed on overweight adults to see if avocado consumption helped them feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat in the following few hours. Researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States conducted randomized single-blind crossover trials where participants ate a standard breakfast followed by one of three test lunches – one without avocado, one that included avocado and one where extra avocado was added. The volunteers’ glucose and insulin responses were measured, along with their feelings of satisfaction and desire to eat over the next five hours.The study found those who added half a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a 40 per cent decrease in desire to eat again over the next three hours, and a 28 per cent decrease in the following five hours. Participants also reported feeling more satisfied (26 per cent) during the course of the afternoon following their avocado lunch.Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals, said Dr Joan Sabaté, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University. It was also noted that though adding avocados increased participants' calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads them to believe that avocado’s potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation. The study was funded by the American-based Hass Avocado Board. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says there are many international studies underway to uncover the health benefits of avocados. "Other research published in Nutrition Journal found people who regularly eat avocados weigh 3.4kg less on average, and have waistlines around 4cm smaller, than those who don’t,” Scoular says. "Avocados are rich in monounsaturated (‘good’) fats and are a low GI (glycemic index) food, so they will help you to feel fuller for longer.” Another reason avocado will help fill you up is they are packed with fibre. Half an avocado will provide more than 25 per cent of your daily recommended fibre intake. "They’re an absolute powerhouse when it comes to providing your body with the nutrients it needs each day. They also help your body absorb more nutrients from other fruit and vegetables you eat with avocado,” Scoular explains. Boosting your avocado intake is easy as this home-grown fruit is extremely versatile. You can add a few slices to your favourite omelette, sandwich or salad, or eat them on toast at any time of day. "You can also blend them into smoothies or use them as a butter and oil substitute when baking or making desserts,” she says. "Their creamy texture makes them perfect for mousses, ice cream and cheesecakes. Delicious and healthy!” URL: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/fl-nre010714.php About New Zealand Avocado Avocados are the third-largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. New Zealand Avocado works with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote avocados from New Zealand and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers, of which there are more than 1600, based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. www.nzavocado.co.nz www.facebook.com/nzavocado www.twitter.com/NZ_Avocado www.instagram.com/nzavocado www.youtube.com/nzavocado For media assistance, please contact:  Midge Munro Communications Manager Avocado Industry Council midge.munro@nzavocado.co.nz 64 27 306 7089 64 7 571 6147  Bridgette Paton-Tapsell Village Public Relations | Marketing b@villagenz.com 64 27 553 3929 64 7 572 1608  

Industry | Retailers | Press Room | FAQ | About Us | Links | Contact Us