When it comes to fighting and preventing cancer, some fruits and vegetables definitely pack a bigger punch than others.
There’s one cancer-fighting fruit in particular I’m thinking of today …
It’s available in your local grocery store year round, and you don’t have to buy it organically grown if you don’t want to. (Its thick outer skin protects the edible insides from conventional sprays.)
Read on to discover the amazing things this super fruit can do for you.
Continued below. . .
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The super fruit I’m talking about is the avocado. Long-time readers of this newsletter know I love the stuff. You don’t have to twist my arm to get me to eat it. So it’s nice to know (for once) that something I like is GOOD for me.
Research has shown this green fruit contains certain phytochemicals that trigger apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells.
It’s also loaded with vitamins A, C and E, as well as necessary minerals like copper, iron and potassium — all key nutrients for a healthy body and brain.
There’s a lot to be said about the avocado, so let’s get going. . .
Vitamin E succinate
The avocado is one of the richest sources of vitamin E succinate on earth. One fruit has roughly 30% of the recommended daily allowance.
Research shows this incredible vitamin fights cancer from all angles: it turns off genetic signaling agents in the cell, which slows cancer’s growth, induces cell death, and kills tumors from the inside out.
In a study published in Clinical Cancer Research, researchers discovered that vitamin E succinate targeted and destroyed colon cancer cells in mice, while leaving healthy cells untouched.1
In another study, vitamin E succinate was shown to inhibit breast cancer cell growth in both lab cultures and mice.2
Carotenoids and their benefits
Carotenoids are naturally occurring pigments found in fruits and vegetables that have antioxidant properties. You may recognize some of the more common carotenoids, like lutein, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene.
The humble avocado has these in spades — and many, many more.
These important phytonutrients have been shown to scavenge free radicals and reduce red-hot inflammation in the body.
Specifically, studies have shown that a diet high in a variety of carotenoids may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.3
A study published in the Journal of the Society for Integrative Oncology suggests the carotenoid lycopene is useful for preventing prostate cancer as well.4 Lycopene is well-known as a nutrient found in tomatoes. Few people know it’s in avocados, too.
Carotenoids are best absorbed with some fat, and since the avocado gets the bulk of its calories from healthy monounsaturated fat, it’s a great way to get highly bioavailable carotenoids for use in your body.
Source of one of the most powerful antioxidants
Avocados are also rich in glutathione peroxidase (GPx). About half an avocado provides 21 milligrams, which helps boost the body’s production of glutathione (GSH), considered to be one of the most important antioxidants and detoxifiers the body produces.
One of the holy grails of alternative health is to find natural ways to raise glutathione levels.
GSH controls inflammation, reduces oxidative stress in cells, and aids in regulating metabolism. It also helps muscles to repair and grow. It sweeps toxins out of the body and keeps the immune system running strong.
Talk about packing a big punch!
And according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, having a consistently high level of glutathione derived from raw fruits and vegetables may help prevent oral and pharyngeal (the area where your nose, mouth and throat come together) cancers.5
Researchers believe glutathione’s anticancer effect may come from its habit of neutralizing oxidants and binding with cellular mutagens (substances that cause DNA mutations).
Avocatin B for fighting leukemia
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive cancer that begins in the bone marrow. It turns healthy blood stem cells into an overabundance of abnormal white blood cells that interfere with the production of normal blood cells.
AML generally occurs in older adults, with the average age of a patient being 67. Of the nearly 21,000 cases of AML each year, about half prove to be fatal within five years.6
But a 2015 study published in the journal Cancer Research may offer new hope in combating this devastating cancer.
Researchers discovered that avocatin B, a lipid (fat) derived from avocados, selectively targets and destroys leukemia stem cells without harming nearby healthy cells.7
By targeting these powerful cancer-spreading cells, this nutraceutical can greatly reduce chances of relapse, as well as extend the life expectancy and improve the quality of life of those already afflicted by AML.
The severity of a case of AML may be reduced, and the disease itself possibly eliminated, thanks to the avocado.
So, are you ready to whip up a batch of guacamole yet?
How to get the most out of this super-fruit
When you purchase avocados at the market, most times they will not be ripe. Pick any that are hard and look good to you. You can slowly ripen them on your counter or put them in a paper bag with a banana to ripen faster. The fruit is ready when the skin gives way a little, but is still firm. If it’s really soft and squishy, it’s over-ripe.
How you get to the sweet fruit of the avocado is actually very important. You want to ensure you get all the flesh from just under the skin—the part that’s extra dark green—because it has the most carotenoids and other nutrients.
The easiest way to preserve that precious layer is to peel the avocado … or, if you prefer to scoop, be sure to scrape all the extra dark green flesh from the skin.
You can enjoy a whole avocado every day without worry. Doing so will supercharge your diet with all these amazing nutrients, which in turn translates to dozens of health benefits.
And there’s more to avocados than just guacamole. My sources tell me you can use it in some recipes as a substitute for butter or eggs in baking, add it to a smoothie, use it to thicken soups, and more.
If you’re in the process of switching from a diet high in processed foods, carbs and sugar to one that’s rich in healthy fats for energy, avocado is great for getting you over the hump while you develop new eating habits. It helps you feel full for longer while you wean yourself off unhealthy foods.
However, if the taste or texture of the fruit itself just doesn’t appeal to you, avocado oil provides many of the same benefits as the whole fruit. (I find it hard to believe some people don’t like avocado, but I know they exist. Many a time I’ve ordered guacamole dip at a Mexican restaurant and ended up eating it all with no help from my dinner companions.)
So if you opt for the oil, choose a cold-pressed variety with a green hue, which indicates a high carotenoid and chlorophyll content. Use it as you would extra virgin olive oil in low-to-medium-heat cooking, on salads, or for dipping.
Add this green superfood to your diet in whatever delicious and creative ways you can and start reaping the health benefits.
You won’t find a richer treasure trove of health-enhancing nutrients.
What’s the opposite of a superfood like avocado? Well, one contender has been in the news lately – sometimes accused of being one of the worst carcinogens in the supermarket. If you missed our article about this, we’re rerunning it just below.
Yet Another Cancer Scare Over Red Meat –
Is There Anything to It?
To the horror of bacon lovers everywhere, the World Health Organization recently claimed those tasty, meaty, fatty breakfast strips are carcinogenic. Besides bacon, they also handed down a guilty verdict on sausages, jerky, hot dogs, and any other kind of processed meat.
Then the WHO went beyond that and proclaimed ALL red meats probably have some carcinogenic properties. The list of offenders was made up of beef, pork, veal, and lamb.
For folks in a hurry this morning, I’ll give my quick take first, then I’ll go into the evidence for and against this never-ending health scare over meat. . .
Continued below. . .
A Few Sips a Day,
The Simple Secret That’s Saving Thousands of People Around The World from Deadly Cancers…
The National Cancer Institute confirmed its effectiveness. When the results came in, the NCI researchers were amazed…
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Imagine the millions of lives it could save,
I eat bacon or other processed meats maybe four or five times a year – usually when I’m traveling or I’m someone’s houseguest. I’m pretty confident such moderate consumption won’t kill me.
Other red meats I eat maybe once or twice a week. But it’s rare for me to eat conventionally grown meats. I eat organic meats free of antibiotics and hormones, and (I hope) free of pesticides and herbicides that could be in the food the animals consume.
I suspect (warning: no proof here) that the cancer link which keeps turning up is the result of these contaminants, and is not endemic to animal products as such. But in any case, I eat moderate amounts.
The evidence: Who says they’re dangerous?
The WHO’s evidence comes from the combined efforts of 22 scientists from 10 countries who reviewed studies that linked processed meat and red meat consumption to cancer. Their conclusion was that regular feasting on these staples is a bona fide way to bump up your risk for colorectal cancer.
The researchers combed through over 800 epidemiological studies that looked at links between cancer and consumption of either red meat or processed meat. The studies varied across countries, ethnic groups, and diets.
A full 14 of these studies showed positive associations between high red meat consumption and colorectal cancer. Similar positive associations of colorectal cancer and processed meat were reported in another 12 studies.
The scientists were even able to determine a statistically significant dose-response relationship. That meta-analysis shows that every 100 grams (about 3 ½ ounces) per day of red meat gives you a 17% increased risk of colorectal cancer. Every 50 grams per day of processed meat increases your risk by 18%.
Colon cancer is not the only worry. Fifteen other types of cancer were positively associated with red and processed meats. These included pancreatic and prostate cancer as well as cancer of the stomach.
The data, along with the fact that consistent associations were found in studies with different populations, were enough for the WHO Working Group to feel confident in declaring processed meat is a carcinogen.
With red meat, the story was slightly different. Unlike processed meat, in this case the WHO people could not completely rule out chance, bias, and confounding evidence. They warn only of “limited evidence for carcinogenicity” and say that red meat is “probably carcinogenic to humans.”
Bingo. That’s pretty much what I thought, and it’s the reason I don’t worry about moderate consumption of organic red meats.
But processed meat gets the full sentence without hesitation: “Carcinogenic to humans.”
Nutritional value versus carcinogenic risk
Let’s specify what the scientists meant by red meat. For their research purposes, they were referring to unprocessed mammalian muscle meat (beef, veal, pork, lamb, mutton, horse, or goat meat). These meats can be minced or frozen, and are usually cooked before being eaten.
Processed meat, on the other hand, is meat that gets transformed through salting, curing, smoking, fermentation, or any other method used to step up flavor. Processed meat also tends to keep longer. Most processed meat consists of pork or beef but could include other red meats or meat byproducts (like blood).
Red meat has a lot of good nutritional value, especially if you want to add protein, B vitamins, iron, or zinc to your diet. Processed meat doesn’t usually rank as high on the nutritional barometer since curing or smoking can alter nutrients.
I lend some credence to the theories that, genetically, some people are suited to consume meat and some aren’t. I certainly find meat agrees with me. Some people don’t. There are lots of hypotheses on body types, blood types, and so forth, but not much evidence.
But nobody is genetically programmed to benefit from processed meat.
There’s some evidence against processed meat at the molecular level, and this is one reason I find the cancer claims more persuasive. The process of curing or smoking meat can prompt tiny carcinogenic chemicals to form, like N-nitroso-compounds (NOC) or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Cooking can bump up these carcinogenic levels even further, especially if you grill or pan-fry your meat.
Should you completely cut bacon out of your diet?
What does this mean for your grocery list? Since this news first surfaced, bacon buffs and doubters have argued that “everything” gives you cancer, including the air you’re breathing right now. Shrug it off and enjoy life, is their take.
That’s tempting, except for this: We’re told that the arm of the WHO that studied this issue won’t evaluate something for cancer risk until a vetted group of international scientists and experts recommends making it a priority. In this case, it means they saw some compelling evidence against bacon and its cohorts.
It’s also not true, as angry meat-eaters have shouted, that bacon is being touted as dangerous as smoking. When you’re looking at cancer risk, smoking is far more dangerous than a sausage patty at your local diner.
Oncology researcher Bernard Stewart from the University of New South Wales is a WHO Working Group member. He says processed meat and red meat could raise your risk of cancer twofold, and that’s a worst-case scenario. Smoking a pack a day over a lifetime bumps your cancer risk up to 50-fold.
Like so many pleasures in our world, moderation is the key. If you’re the type to scarf down three strips of bacon and a sausage link every morning at breakfast, cut back. The risk of colorectal cancer is small, but it does increase with each helping.
The findings about red meat do encourage me to eat smaller portions on the one or two days each week when I indulge. Eight ounces once a week sounds pretty safe. A 16-ounce porterhouse, less so. And, let me say again, I eat organic meat.
You might also look into healthy, locally made high-protein sausage as an alternative. Or, consider variations on bacon—like the strain of seaweed recently patented by researchers at Oregon State. When cooked, it has twice the nutritional value of kale…and reportedly tastes just like bacon. I can’t personally vouch for bacon seaweed, but it’s nice to know we may someday have healthy alternatives.