Interesting new research shows that the avocado may be a potent warrior as part of a cancer prevention diet. Avocados contain the highest amount of the carotenoid lutein of all commonly eaten fruits. In addition, they contain related carotenoids, including zeaxanthin, alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, as well as significant amounts of vitamin E. All of these nutrients have been proven to be effective deterrents of cancer, but there’s more to the science than these nutrients in isolation.
A very recent study showed that an extract of avocado containing carotenoids and tocopherols inhibited the growth of prostate cancer cells. Interestingly, when researchers used lutein alone, the cancer cells were unaffected, thus demonstrating once again that it’s the synergy of health-promoting nutrients in whole foods that makes the difference.
Avocados may keep your brain healthy too. Research at Tufts University suggests that avocado can also play an important role in optimizing brain health and function. For one, avocado is high in lutein, and in one study a lutein-rich brain was linked with better memory and cognitive abilities. Secondly, avocado is a monounsaturated fat, therefore it contributes to healthy blood flow, which carries over to a healthy brain. Avocado also lowers blood pressure, and hypertension is a major risk for decline in cognitive abilities.