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Avocados help fight cancer

24th April 2012

Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants and may boost the resistance of human cells to the development of dangerous free radicals, which have been linked to a number of chronic diseases included heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

avocado

Researchers have already identified a number of factors in the environment that bolster the production of free radicals in the body's cells, including cigarette smoke, pollution and radiation.

Free radicals have been associated with diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as ageing.

Scientists worldwide are now looking intensively for substances which can help cells to resist the harmful effects of free radicals.

According to a research team led by Christian Cortes-Rojo of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo in Mexico, the problem is that the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables are unable to enter mitochondria.

He said that previous attempts to bolster the body's defenses against free radicals with various substances have been unsuccessful because they cannot stop the production of free radicals at their source.

Now, however, Cortes-Rojo's team says that avocado oil does actually enter into mitochondria, providing additional protection against free radicals.

For the study into the properties of avocado oil, his team used yeast cells normally found in wine and beer production.

While yeast cells already have a strong resistance to free radicals, avocado oil allowed them to survive high levels of exposure to iron, which produces large numbers of free radicals.

Cortes-Rojo speculated that the results could be the result of accelerated respiration inside the mitochondria of yeast cells, caused by the presence of avocado oil.

Previous studies in Mexico have found that the avocado, which already has a good reputation as an aid to health maintenance, helps to lower levels of cholesterol and certain fats that are usually higher in patients with diabetes, and which may lead to cardiovascular disease.

He concluded that avocado consumption could improve the health status of diabetic and other patients through an additional mechanism to the improvement of blood lipids.

He said that avocado oil could turn out to have similar health benefits to olive oil, which has a similar fat composition.

"Therefore, avocado oil could eventually be referred to as the olive oil of the Americas," Cortes-Rojo said.

His study was backed by Mexico's National Council on Science and Technology and the Ministry of Public Education.


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