Another of avocados’ superpowers: Resisting the effects of leukemia
08/19/2019 // Melissa Smith // Views

The popularity of avocados has risen in recent years – not only because they are delicious, but because they are highly nutritious superfoods. One of the many health benefits they offer is their ability to ward off cancer. Avocados contain avocatin B, which is a compound found to fight against a type of leukemia called acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to a study carried out by a researcher from the University of Waterloo, Canada.

AML is known by many names, like acute myelocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, acute granulocytic leukemia, and acute non-lymphocytic leukemia. AML is a type of blood cancer that is most common in older people. Approximately 90 percent of people with this type of cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

In the in vitro study, Canadian researcher Paul Spagnuolo found that avocatin B fights AML by targeting leukemia stem cells – which are the root of the disease – without harming healthy, non-cancerous cells. This indicated that the compound is both effective against AML and not toxic to the body.

Spagnuolo believed that his findings could help significantly increase the life expectancy and quality of life for AML patients. He published his study in the journal Cancer Research. He teamed up with Canada’s Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) for the financial backing needed to pursue animal and clinical trials.

Avocados may also prevent other forms of cancer

Many health problems, including cancers, are preventable by eating the right foods. Avocados can be part of a balanced, healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet. Avocados and the Mediterranean diet are rich in monounsaturated fats, which could help lower your risk of developing breast cancer.


Avocados can also fight against prostate and oral cancer cells. Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles conducted a review of studies on the potential health benefits of avocados and looked at evidence that specific avocado extracts can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells and oral cancer cells. They found that the active compounds in avocados make them potentially beneficial for preventing cancer.

Avocados: The ultimate superfood

Avocados are a great addition to a regular diet because they are abundant in various nutrients. For one, avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids that the body needs to create complete proteins. This reduces the need for pancreatic proteolytic enzymes that are used to break down whole proteins into amino acids. Additionally, these same enzymes break cancer cell walls to make their destruction easier.

As mentioned earlier, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. They are a rare plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are important for preventing cardiovascular diseases, as well as preventing inflammation that may lead to autoimmune diseases. (Related: Avocado seeds contain compounds that reduce inflammation.)

Avocados also contain potassium, which is good for the heart as it balances internal sodium levels. They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which helps lower the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Dietary fiber also helps you feel satiated, which can stop you from snacking throughout the day, and eventually prevent weight gain.

Moreover, avocados are loaded with vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and minerals like magnesium. Magnesium is involved in more than 300 metabolic functions of the body. Eating avocados also helps your body produce glutathione, which is the master antioxidant that can be replenished by the liver.

Avocados also lead the Environmental Working Group (EWG) "Clean 15" crops that are least chemically sprayed. You can spread avocados on toast, add them to salads, or blend them in smoothies.

Sources include:

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