(NaturalHealth365) An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but research shows the creamy avocado can hold its own when it comes to keeping you healthy. Studies have found the avocado’s generous supply of fatty acids, carotenoids, and other helpful nutrients are useful in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
But that’s not all the avocado has to offer. Once known primarily as the main ingredient in guacamole, the fruit is growing in popularity for its usefulness in fighting metabolic syndrome and obesity, along with supporting healthy joints, skin and vision.
Eat food that makes your body ‘unfriendly’ toward cancer
The secret to the cancer-fighting capabilities of avocados can be found primarily in the carotenoids and monounsaturated fat they contain. Studies have documented a significantly lowered risk of several types of cancer, including breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Avocados also contain the antioxidant glutathione, which protects cells from cancer and other dangerous consequences of free radicals. Because of the large number of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds present in avocados, it can be difficult to pinpoint which of them are having the greatest impacts in reducing the risk and spread of cancer.
But, there is a wealth of scientific research on prostate, oral and skin cancers, with results showing that the compounds found in avocados help prevent cancer from metastasizing, bringing about cancer cell death instead. In one of the most recent studies published, avocatin B, a type of fat present in avocados, was shown to combat acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare but deadly form of cancer.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada; Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Ontario, Canada; and the Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada. Published in the journal Cancer Research in June 2015, the findings revealed that avocatin B targets leukemia stem cells, which are responsible for causing most cases of AML recurrence. Research continues on the many cancer-fighting properties of avocadoes.
A delicious way to keep your heart healthy
In addition to reducing the risk of cancer, the health advantages of consuming avocados include a healthier heart. Avocados contain the plant sterol beta-sitosterol, which is known to support healthy cholesterol levels.
Research has shown that the intake of avocado may enhance the plaque-fighting properties of HDL cholesterol, which helps in protecting heart health and avoiding atherosclerosis. Avocados also contain significant levels of potassium. Potassium helps control hypertension by relaxing blood vessels and arteries, thereby reducing chances of heart attacks, strokes and clogged arteries.
Avocados are also loaded with monounsaturated fatty acids, which not only reduce the risk of cancer, but also have been shown in numerous investigations to lower cholesterol levels. In one such study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers in Queensland, Australia, compared the cholesterol-lowering benefits of an avocado-enriched diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids against the benefits of a diet rich in complex carbohydrates.
Fifteen female subjects between 37 and 58 years old took part in the study. Both diets were shown to lower total cholesterol, but the impact was significantly more pronounced with the avocado diet (8.2 percent decrease compared to 4.9 percent decrease. The women also experienced a significant drop in their LDL cholesterol levels while on the avocado diet, but not while following the complex carbohydrate diet.
Simply ways to add avocados to your diet
Although avocados are well known as the main ingredient in guacamole, there are many other ways they can be incorporated into your meal plans so you can reap their many health benefits. For example, you can add avocado to your next smoothie for a delicious (creamy) taste, add slices to salad or make pudding.
The avocado’s nutrient make up actually allows for optimal absorption of carotenoids not only in the avocado itself, but in other foods consumed at the same time. Research demonstrates that the avocado’s unique nutrient profile promotes joint, eye, and skin health and helps prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and obesity – so, get started today!
Just keep in mind, the carotenoids and other beneficial components are most plentiful in the dark-green part of the fruit’s flesh, closest to the skin. That means to obtain the greatest benefits, you need to carefully peel the fruit in such a way that you retain the fleshy portion nearest the skin.
Food & Nutrition
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