Avocados and Cancer
Last updated on September 21, 2011
Avocados are known as a superfood because of the high levels of nutrition and health benefits that they have to offer. In fact, studies have found that avocado consumption may help to prevent and treat several different types of cancer.
A study done at Ohio State University and published in “Seminars in Cancer Biology” found that Haas avocado extracts destroyed existing precancerous cells that would eventually lead to oral cancer and also prevented new ones from forming.
A study done at UCLA in 2005 found that extract from Haas avocados inhibited the growth of androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells in vitro. Researchers believe part of the reason that avocados were so successful in destroying cancer cells is because the high level of monounsaturated fat they contain helps cancer-fighting nutrients within the avocado such as bioactive carotenoids and other phytochemicals to be absorbed into the bloodstream.
Avocados are high in oleic acid, which several studies have found to prevent breast cancer while other studies have found to increase the risk of breast cancer. Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain found that avocado oil and olive oil, which are both high in oleic acid, lower the risk of HER2-positive breast cancer, which accounts for about 1 in 5 cases of breast cancer. They believe this is why there were conflicting results in previous breast cancer studies.
Avocados are a good source of vitamin E, which has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. Over 80,000 women were studied during the Nurses’ Health Study, which looked at breast cancer occurrence in participating women. This study found that women with a higher consumption of vitamin E had lower risk of breast cancer, especially if breast cancer was prevalent in their family history.
Avocados, like many other fruits and vegetables, are a great source of fiber. Increased fiber intake is associated with lower cancer risk.
When you eat an avocado, you are getting a high level of antioxidants, which are very beneficial for overall health. Antioxidants work to reduce the amount of free radicals in the body, which in turn helps to prevent cancer and other diseases. Reducing free radicals prevents cancer cells from growing and spreading throughout the body.
The antioxidants as well as other compounds within avocados help to reduce the amount of inflammation within the body. Lower levels of inflammation have been linked with a lower risk of cancer.