Avocado: Health Benefits

Avocado is an indigenous evergreen tree which was discovered in the Mexican tropics, where was cultivated by natives, since the fruit was component of their diet.

Later on it was spread to other areas in the US, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Cuba and came to Israel and Australia. In Europe started to cultivate avocado trees after the Second World War, in Spain and Portugal, while in Greece the cultivation began in the 1960s, in Crete.

The fruit of avocado is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are particularly beneficial for our body due to their anticancer activity. Furthermore, it is a good source of vitamin E, potassium and fiber. Because of its particular composition, several researchers have investigated the effect of avocado on our health.

According to a publication of the journal ‘Seminars of Cancer Biology’, the avocado has excellent anticancer activity, making it a shield against cancer.

Its antitumor activity is attributed to the monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) it contains, but also to its valuable carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, α- and β-carotene) along with the high concentrations of the antioxidant vitamin E.
Additionally, in a study published in the ‘Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry’, the avocado extract prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells and provides protection against breast cancer.

According to research, certain mixtures of avocado can detect pre-cancerous and oral cancer cells and destroy them, without causing any damage to the healthy cells. It has been proved that the alkaline nature of avocado helps in oral and tooth hygiene.

Many studies demonstrate the cardio-protective effect of monounsaturated fatty acids, such as those avocado contain, therefore the American Heart Association recommends eating foods containing them.

Moreover, in a study concerning exclusively the monounsaturated fatty acids of avocado, it was found that a diet rich in avocados can reduce both the total and ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol, and increase the ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol. The relevant research was published in the journal ‘Archives of Medical Research’, (1996).

The avocado is also particularly rich in potassium, which is an electrolyte that helps regulate blood pressure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the consumption of foods rich in potassium and low in sodium (salt) is associated with a reduced risk of developing hypertension and stroke.

Avocado not only has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system but also contains folic acid and vitamin E, which have been associated with a reduced risk of developing heart disease.

According to a publication in the scientific journal ‘Arthritis Research Therapies, (2006), it is claimed that certain fatty components of avocado have anti-inflammatory action and help reduce the feeling of pain in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. However, as stated by the researchers themselves, this field remains open since, since further research is required.

Additionally, the oil of avocado has a protective action for the skin due to its high content of lecithin, vitamins A, D, B1, B2 and E, proteins, β-carotene, potassium, magnesium, iron, amino acids, folic acid and many other beneficial components, making it a source of abundance for every skin.

Specifically, it helps to reduce aging spots and acts effectively in injuries due to its excellent regenerative properties. Regulates the skin PH, restoring to its nature levels. Nourishes the skin and keeps it elastic and very soft, a fact that makes it ideal for dry and tired skin. Also, stops the itching sensation, improves the appearance and in some cases eliminates skin irritation.

Avocado oil increases significantly the amount of collagen in the skin, an extremely important skin protein that provides elasticity, vigor, youthful appearance and helps wrinkles control.