Whether you’re enjoying tacos, enchiladas or chips and salsa, one of the best parts of Mexican food is the rich, creamy guacamole. At least in my humble opinion.
In addition to giving a pop of flavor to just about any dish, guacamole can also help you fight cancer.
Why guacamole? Here’s the delicious story…
The main ingredient in guacamole is the creamy, nutritious flesh of avocados.
The avocado is actually a fruit, and, at the turn of the 20th century, was known as the alligator pear. Botanically, it’s a giant berry containing a single large seed.
And for centuries this giant berry has been prized for its rich, nutritious flesh and oil. The Mayan Indians are credited with saying, “where avocados grow, hunger or malnutrition has no friends.” This ancient nation clearly recognized the avocado as one of the healthiest foods on earth—and quite likely without knowing it’s packed with over twenty-five essential healthful nutrients.
Avocados boast an impressive list of health-boosting compounds including:
- Vitamins A, B, C, E and K
- Minerals such as copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc
- Phytochemicals including beta-sitosterol, glutathione, and lutein
Modern day science shows that this unique nutrient profile provides numerous health benefits and can…
- Protect your eyes from age-related diseases
- Control heart disease to keep your heart pumping longer and stronger
- Improve your digestive system with high fiber content
- Balance blood sugar levels
- Protect your joints from painful inflammation
Even more impressive is research that shows avocados can help prevent the growth of various cancers of the mouth, skin, and the male prostate gland!
Inflammation fighter stops cancer growth
Preliminary laboratory studies on avocados’ chemoprotective properties have revealed the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutrients are equally beneficial for battling abnormal cells in your body.
Study results published in the journal Seminars in Cancer Biology show that excessive inflammation can promote the growth of cancer cells. When your body lacks anti-inflammatory nutrients and antioxidants, your cells lack the “guardians” that protect them from damaging free radicals. But the study results suggest that avocados help improve inflammatory and oxidative stress levels—which can stop cancer dead in its tracks.
Avocados put cancer cells on suicide watch!
According to 2009 study results published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, avocado nutrients also increase oxidative stress on cancer cells.
These nutrients basically commandeer these cells and maneuver them into the programmed cell death cycle you often hear me talk about — apoptosis. Simply put, avocado nutrients hand-pick cancer cells and put them out of commission.
And remember—these same nutrients simultaneously support healthy cells by increasing their supply of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Take vitamin E for example…
Avocados happen to be one of the richest sources of vitamin E succinate—a nutrient noted for its ability to reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
Research shows that vitamin E succinate can turn off some of the signaling agents that cancer cells need to reproduce. This helps shut down their ability to spread. Vitamin E is also instrumental in triggering cancer cell suicide, while leaving healthy cells untouched.
This is even true with certain types of human breast cancer cells and prostate cancer cells that are resistant to apoptosis. Vitamin E succinate can stimulate receptors on these cells to encourage them to self-destruct.
This was proven in part by findings from The Nurses’ Health study of more than 83,000 women.
Researchers examined the incidence of breast cancer during a 14-year follow-up. They found that pre-menopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who consumed the most vitamin E experienced a 43 percent lower cancer rate.
Make avocados part of your
Avocados also provide the highest level of the plant pigment (carotenoid) lutein among fruits. And they’re rich in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and zeaxanthin—three other carotenoids that have been shown to stop the growth of cancers of the head and neck, mouth, and prostate.
These findings support the idea that your diet can play a significant role in providing cancer protection. Research demonstrates that cancers tend to be more prevalent in areas of the United States where the diet is lower in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains.
In contrast, studies have tied healthier eating to the relatively low rates of breast and endometrial cancers in some Asian cultures which feature more plant-based diets.
But what about the fat?
It is true that avocado is a high-fat food, with roughly 85 percent of its calories from fat. That’s actually WONDERFUL news because this fat is good for you. In fact, the fat found in avocado is one of the healthiest fats our research has been able to turn up.
Oleic acid is the main type of fat in avocados. It helps your body absorb and use antioxidants and phytochemicals in other fruits and vegetables you may eat at the same time. Oleic acid also has been shown to specifically protect women against breast cancer.
So why not add some avocado to a salad or whip up a batch of guacamole? This can be a delicious part of a healthy diet that can help you stay cancer free!
- Ding H, Han C, Guo D et al. Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(3):348-56. 2009.
- Ding H, Chin YW, Kinghorn AD et al. Chemopreventive characteristics of avocado fruit. Semin Cancer Biol. 2007 May 17; [Epub ahead of print] 2007.
- Levine, B. 2013. The health benefits of avocado prevent and reverse cancer. NaturalHealth365.