Avocados Improve Overall Health and Prevent Chronic Disease
Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and author of “What Color Is Your Diet,” has this to say about our avocados: “The California avocado is an excellent dietary source of glutathione and phytosterol, further demonstrating the value of the diverse plant-based diet in providing micronutrients that may have unique roles in the body and the potential to improve overall health and prevent chronic disease.” Dr. Heber’s findings also indicate that avocados contain a biochemical called lutein, a carotenoid recently discovered in avocados and found in green vegetables, which can help protect against various forms of cancer, including prostate cancer.
UCLA lab tests showed that lutein reduces prostate cancer cell growth by 25 percent, while lycopene from tomatoes reduces cell growth by 20 percent. When lutein and lycopene were combined, prostate cancer cell growth was reduced by 32 percent. This indicates that both nutrients together help protect against prostate cancer better than either nutrient alone. “Lutein and lycopene in combination appears to have additive or synergistic effects against prostate cancer,” said Heber. “Our result suggests that further study should be done to investigate the nutrient interactions of lutein and lycopene at a subcellular and molecular level.”
Scientific evidence from a May 1999 study conducted by the California Avocado Commission shows that nutrient-dense avocados contain 76 mg of beta-sitosterol per 100 grams of fruit. Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that occurs naturally in avocados. Certain sterols can inhibit cholesterol absorption in the intestine and result in lower blood cholesterol levels. In animal studies, phytosterol has been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors, particularly the growth of prostate tumors.
The 76 mgs. found in avocados is more than four times the level found in other commonly eaten fruits, such as bananas, apples, cantaloupes, grapes, plums and cherries. And our avocados do not have all the sugar that raises blood glucose and acidity. Avocados contain at least twice the amount of beta-sitosterol found in other foods, including corn, green soy beans and olives.
A survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute in a 1992 demonstrated that ounce per ounce the glutathione content in our avocados is three times that of bananas, apples, cantaloupes, grapes, plums and cherries. Glutathione is composed of three amino acids and functions as a buffer neutralizing acids that can cause damage to cells in the body during the process of aging, heart disease and cancer.
Numerous studies have linked glutathione to the prevention of various types of cancer, including cancer of the mouth and pharynx and also heart disease.
This research is why I recommend avocados and tomatoes for breakfast every morning. Traditionally, lutein has been found in green vegetables such as parsley, celery and spinach, but it was also recently discovered in avocados.
In fact, research has shown that avocados are the highest fruit source of lutein among the twenty most frequently consumed fruits. In addition to the new prostate cancer findings, lutein is also known to protect against eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.
The new research at UCLA also indicates that our avocados have nearly twice as much vitamin E as previously reported, making them the highest fruit source of this powerful buffer of metabolic and digestive acids.
Vitmain E is known to slow the aging process and to protect against heart disease and common forms of cancer by neutralizing metabolic acids, which may cause cellular damage. Dr. David Heber states, “avocados are recognized as an excellent source of monounsaturated fat which is known to lower cholesterol levels, but the antioxidant and biochemical properties of avocados are less well-recognized. Thee plant nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables work together to reduce oxidative stress and prevent disease.”
Dr. Heber, along with 35 scientists at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, has long endorsed a diet based on 5 to 11 servings per day of a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables, including the avocado.
Worldwide research demonstrates the high intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with better health, largely due to their disease-fighting properties.
Avocados are also a higher source of potassium than bananas, and contain ionic sodium, which gives them a high alkaline reaction without all the acidic sugar.
Our avocados contain no starch and very little sugar and therefore do not pollute the blood with the sugar acid but provides a high source of healthy fats, which can metabolize for energy or construct cellular membranes. Avocados are also a great source of protein at 10 to 15 percent.
For all the reasons above, Avocados will be one of the most important foods that you eat as you balance your endocrine system or the energy system of your body. I encourage anyone who is doing Type I or Type II diabetes to eat 2 to 3 Avocados a day. This will allow your body to enjoy the protective attributes of glutathione, lutein and lycopene while receiving a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Dr. Robert O. Young