It is the native fruit of Central and South America for centuries. There are different types of avocado fruits but the popular one is Hass, that weight 170g and has dark green/black sin. It consists of the following:
Fat – But the good, healthy version! Omega 3 fatty acids! This helps to lower cholesterol and improve the heart circulatory system. However too much of avocados can lead to WEIGHT GAIN despite you are consuming good monounsaturated fats!
Protein- needed to strengthen the bones
Carbohydrates – for energy!
Vitamins – It has Vitamin B5, E, K helps maintain regularity of the body.
Fibre – to help digest (break down) the food
Minerals – Magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium. Did you know it has more potassium than bananas according to studies conducted by New York University Langone Medical Center!
It contains lycopene and beta-carotene which are important carotenoid antioxidants that aids in reducing cell damage. Their highest concentrations can be found in the dark green area near the skin.
Avocado and Cancer
Research have shown that Avocados have the ability to lower the risk of certain cancers such as prostate, skin and mouth. This is due to the mixture of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents it contains. Phytochemicals in avocados are able to stop cancer cells from growing leading to death (apoptosis).
Lu et al. discovered that carotenoids have a big role in preventing cancer. Lutein accounts for 70% of carotenoids found in avocado. Vitamin E also found in avocados can prevent the growth of androgen-dependent (LNCaP) and androgen-independent (PC-3) prostate cancer cell lines.
How? By leading cancer cells to G2/M cell cycle arrest and increase p27 protein expression.
Because avocado has a high monounsaturated fat content, it allows Lutein and other bioactive carotenoids to be absorbed into the blood where it can contribute to lowering the risk of cancer.
Lee et al. discovered that Avocatin B, a fat found in avocado induces leukaemia cell death without affecting normal peripheral blood stem cells, this is due to where mitochondria are located. Cells that do not contain mitochondria nor CPT1 (an enzyme that aids in transporting mitochondria lipid) were insensitive to avocation B. The team of researchers also found that Avocatin B can inhibit fatty acid oxidation and decreased NADPH levels. This ultimately causes reactive oxygen species (ROS)- dependent death of leukaemia cells.
Avocado and the Cardiovascular system
Due to the high content of monounsaturated fats in avocado, it lowers the blood cholesterol levels which in turn reduce the risk of heart disease. This is due to high amount of the beta-sitosterol compounds in avocado.
Furthermore, avocados can increase levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins - good cholesterol). A study found that patients with mild hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels in the blood) who consumed avocados within their diet for one week had: 22% decrease in LDL (low density lipoproteins - bad cholesterol), Triglycerides, and 11% HDL.
In addition, avocados contain folic acid (vitamin B12) and vitamin B6 which regulates the levels of the amino acid homocysteine as high levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of heart disease.
A recent study discovered that avocados were linked to reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. This in turn lowers the incidence of diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease.
Moreover, due to the high levels of potassium, it helps keep the blood pressure under control and can also regulate sodium chloride (salt) levels in the blood as that can increase the blood pressure.
Avocado and the Immune system
One of the anti-oxidants besides carotenoids found in avocado is Glutathionine. Studies have shown that lymphoid cells having a good amount of glutathione strengthens the immune system.
Avocado and the Muscoloskeletal system
Avocados contain phytosterols, omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols that provide anti-inflammatory support in patients with arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Avocado and the Endocrine System
The low carbohydrate levels in avocados aids in maintaining blood glucose levels. Its high levels of monounsaturated fats helps stop insulin resistance. This in turn helps regulate the blood glucose levels. Soluble fibres in avocados also aid in regulation.
Avocado and the Nervous System
Avocados contain Lutein, a form of carotenoid that lowers the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration of the eyes.
Avocado and the Reproductive System
Avocado contains Vitamin B12 which aids in preventing birth defects such as neural tube defects and spina bifida.
Avocado and the Digestive system
Avocados contain fibre which aids in digesting foods because it aids in bowel movements, and keeping the intestines healthy.
Avocado and Beauty
Avocados contain Vitamin C and E which keeps the skin glowing and nourishing. Another study found that Avocado and B12 cream may be useful in treating psoriasis; an autoimmune condition that is characterised by red, crusty skin patches.