Superfood #6. Avocados - Avocados contain oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that may help to lower cholesterol. In one study of people with moderately high cholesterol levels, individuals who ate a diet high in avocados showed clear health improvements. After seven days on the diet that included avocados, they had significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, along with an 11% increase in health promoting HDL cholesterol.
Avocados are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium can help to guard against circulatory diseases, like high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.
One cup of avocado has 23% of the Daily Value for folate, a nutrient important for heart health. One study showed that individuals who consume folate-rich diets have a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke than those who do not consume as much of this vital nutrient.
Not only are avocados a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids including oleic acid, which has recently been shown to offer significant protection against breast cancer, but it is also a very concentrated dietary source of the carotenoid lutein; it also contains measurable amounts of related carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene) plus significant quantities of tocopherols (vitamin E).
In a laboratory study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, an extract of avocado containing these carotenoids and tocopherols inhibited the growth of both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.
Enjoying a few slices of avocado in your tossed salad, or mixing some chopped avocado into your favorite salsa will not only add a rich, creamy flavor, but will greatly increase your body's ability to absorb the health-promoting carotenoids that vegetables provide.
Since avocados contain a large variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals, as well as heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, eating a little avocado along with carotenoid-rich vegetables and fruits is an excellent way to improve your body's ability to absorb carotenoids while also receiving other nutritional-and taste-benefits.
Oral cancer is even more likely to result in death than breast, skin, or cervical cancer, with a mortality rate of about 50% due to late detection. Avocados may offer a delicious dietary strategy for the prevention of oral cancer.Phytonutrients in Hass avocados, the most readily available variety, target multiple signaling pathways, increasing the amount of free radicals (reactive oxygen species) within pre-cancerous and cancerous human oral cell lines, that leads to their death, but cause no harm to normal cells. Hass avocados may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer as well. When analyzed, Hass avocados were found to contain the highest content of lutein among commonly eaten fruits, as well as measurable amounts of related carotenoids (zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene, and beta-carotene).