Avocado is a tree native to region of Central America and the Carribean. Nowadays it is cultivated worldwide, mostly in tropical areas. Thanks to its pear shape and leathery skin, it is knows as the Alligator pear.
Nutritional facts and general health
Avocado fruit contains high levels of monounstaturated fatt acids, which made it popular in vegetarian cuisine as meat substitute. Oleic acid, one of these acids is known to be beneficial in fight against breast cancer. Oleic acid and other monounsaturated, together with various carotenoids also found in avocado, has been used in experiments to successfully inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells.
Tests with individual substances yielded no result. It turns out that the fruit itself bears an optimal mixture of these components that promote general health. Numerous carotenoids, known for their beneficial effect on health, are contained in many vegetables (such as carrots, after which they are named), but their bioavailability (ability of organism to absorb them from the digestive tract) is relatively low. Adding avocado to vegetables in meals such as salads has greatly increased bioavailability of carotenoids from consumed vegetables.
A theory suggests that fats form the avocado dissolve the carotenoids, as they are soluble in fat, and thus increase their absorption through the intestines. Avocado fruit also contains high levels of potassium and vitamins B, E and K. Its fiber content (75% insoluble and 25% soluble fiber) is one of the highest among fruits.
Heart health and avocado
Oleic acid contained in avocado reduces levels of troublesome LDL cholesterol, which is known to cause heart problems. High potassium levels in avocado reduce high blood pressure, also linked with various heart conditions, and bring it to a normal level. One avocado contains about one fifth of daily requirements of folate, a substance that is known for reduce the risk of having heart attacks up to fifty percent.
Cancer and avocado
Oral cancer is usually detected too late and is thus connected with much higher mortality rate (mortality rate is about 50%) than other famous cancers such as breast, skin, or cervical cancer. A thorough study was conducted to determine relation between consuming avocados and prevention of onset of oral cancer. It was show that avocado increases amounts of free radicals (highly reactive atoms or groups of atoms, extremely damaging to the cell, able to destroy it) in cancerous and pre-cancerous cells, thus destroying them, while normal cells remained unaffected.