Thursday, May 05, 2011
The Perfect Food - Avocado
Dr. Robert O. Young was once asked the question from one of his students while teaching his Microscopy Course, "what one food will improve my health and the health of my family more than any other?" Dr. Young replied without a moment of hesitation, "THE AVOCADO." He said, "It's just about the perfect food." Also, in Shelley Young's food preparation classes she always refers to the Avocado as "God's Butter."
The avocado originally came from Persia. It has been popular in South and Central America, Mexico and now in the U.S. The monounsaturated fat content gives the avocado its smooth, mellon taste and nut-like flavor.
The latest guidelines issued by the American Diabetes Association emphasize a diet rich in monounsaturated fat for improved diabetes control.
According to the guidelines, people with diabetes are no longer limited to a low carbohydrate, low fat diet and may instead choose a higher monounsaturated fat diet that includes avocados and olive oil. On pages 70 through 120 of the Annual Review of Diabetes 2002, the American Diabetes Association in their report, "Evidence-Based Nutrition Principals and Recommendations for the Treatment and Prevention of Diabetes and Related Complications," recommends that carbohydrate and monounsaturated fat intake should account for 60 - 70% of calorie intake for people with diabetes, and 15 - 20% should come from protein.
The new American Diabetes Association guidelines also present evidence that a diet high in good monounsaturated fat can improve glucose tolerance and reduce insulin resistance allowing for better control of diabetes.
Dr Young suggests, "Anyone with low or high blood sugar, or type I or type II diabetes, can significantly regulate their blood sugars by eating liberal amounts of avocados."
Studies confirm this showing that avocados are an essential food for people with higher than normal blood glucose levels. Results for the Diabetes Prevention Program, a landmark clinical trail from the National Institute for Health released in August 2001, indicate that diet intervention and exercise conclusively slash Type 2 diabetes risk by up to 58%.
The compound profile of the avocado includes a cholesterol-lowering by a phytosterol called beta-sitosterol and the anti-acid glutathione, according to Dr. David Huber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Evidence suggests phytosterol and glutathione found in avocados may help prevent certain types of cancers and heart disease in humans.
"The avocado has long been known for its special taste enhancing properties," Heber said. "However, new research demonstrates that avocados provide favorable phytochemicals that work in combination with biochemicals from other foods in the diet to enhance overall health."
Scientific evidence from a May 1999 study conducted under the California Avocado Commission shows that nutrient-dense avocados contain 76 mg. of beta-sitosterol per 100 grams of fruit. This is more than 4 times the beta-sitosterol found in other commonly eaten fruits, such as bananas, apples, cantaloupes, grapes, plums and cherries. Also, avocados do not have all the sugar that raises blood glucose! In addition, avocados contain at least twice the amount of beta-sitosterol found in other foods, including corn, green soybeans and olives.
Beta-sitosterol is a plant sterol that occurs naturally in the avocado, according to Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and author of "What Color is your Diet."
Beta-sitosterol can inhibit cholesterol absorption in the intestine resulting in lower blood cholesterol levels. In animal studies, phytosterol has been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors, particularly the growth of prostate tumors. A survey conducted by the National Cancer Institute in 1992 demonstrated that ounce per ounce, the glutathione content of avocados is three times that of bananas, apples, cantaloupes, grapes, plums and cherries. Glutathione is composed of three amino acids and functions as a buffer, neutralizing acids that can cause damage to cells in the body during the process of aging, heart disease and cancer. Numerous studies have linked glutathione to the prevention of various types of cancer, including cancer of the mouth and pharynx, and also heart disease.
“The California avocado is an excellent dietary source of glutathione and phytosterol, further demonstrating the value of the diverse plant-based diet and providing micronutrients that may have unique roles in the body and the potential to improve overall health and prevent chronic disease," Heber said.
According to Heber, he has discovered that avocados contain a biochemical called lutien, which is a carotenoid recently discovered in avocados and found in green vegetables to help protect against cancer, including Prostate Cancer.
UCLA lab tests showed that lutein reduces Prostate Cancer cell growth by 25%, while lycopene from tomatoes reduce cell growth by 20%. When lutein and lycopene were combined, Prostate Cancer cell growth was reduced by 32%. This indicates that both nutrients together help protect against Prostate Cancer better than either nutrient alone. <
"Lutein and lycopene combination appear to have additive or synergistic effects against Prostate Cancer, our results suggest that further study should be done to investigate the nutrient interactions of lutein and lycopene at a subcellular and molecular level," said Heber.
Traditionally, lutein has been found in green vegetables such as parsley, celery and spinach, but was recently discovered in avocados. In fact, research shows that avocados are the highest fruit source of lutein among the 20 most frequently consumed fruits. In addition to the new Prostate Cancer findings, lutein is also known to protect against eye disease such as cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, due to diabetes.
The new research at UCLA also indicates that avocados have nearly twice as much vitamin E as previously reported, making avocados the highest fruit source of this powerful buffer of acid. Vitamin E is known to slow the aging process and protect against heart disease and common forms of cancer by neutralizing acids, which may cause cellular damage. Heber states, "avocados are recognized as an excellent source of monounsaturated fat which is known to lower cholesterol levels, but the antioxidant and biochemical properties of avocados are less well-recognized. These plant nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables work together to reduce oxidative stress and prevent disease." Heber, along with 35 scientists at the UCLA Canter for Human Nutrition, has long endorsed a diet based on 5 to 11 servings per day of a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables like the avocado. Worldwide research demonstrates the high intake of fruits and vegetables are associated with better health due largely to their disease-fighting properties.
The oil also gives the avocado its high food energy value. The avocado contains fourteen minerals, all of which regulate body functions and stimulate growth. Especially, noteworthy are its iron and copper contents, which aid in red blood cell regeneration and the prevention of nutritional anemia. It also contains a higher source of potassium than bananas and sodium which gives it a high alkaline reaction without all the sugar. The avocado contains no starch and very little sugar and therefore does not raise blood sugar levels but provides a high source of fat, 80%, which the body can metabolize for energy and use for construction of cellular membranes. The avocado is also a great source of protein at 10 to 15%.
For all the reasons above, the avocado will be one of the most important foods that you eat and has been a major player in reversing Cancer, Heart Disease, and Type I and Type II diabetes as the body moves away from sugar metabolism to fat metabolism and all its protective attributes. Dr Robert O. Young suggests 2 to 3 avocados a day, for a 154 lb. man or woman, as good fats are at the foundation of balancing blood sugars and the pH Miracle Lifestyle and Diet. One of our favorite avocado breakfasts is the Avorado Kid Green Shake (seeRecipes and More) or a bowl of broccoli, avocado and tomato.
For beautiful organically grown California avocados, picked fresh off the tree and shipped to you next day, Rancho Avarado! Our Avocados are HASS AVOCADOS, sold by the box containing approximately 48-50 avocados (please select 3-day, 2-day, or overnight shipping only, to ensure freshness).
Posted by Robert O. Young M.Sc.,D.Sc., Ph.D., ND
Since I was a young boy I have always been fascinated in the anatomy and physiology of the human body. I have spent the last twenty-seven years investigating the impact of foods and liquids on the delicate pH balance of the blood plasma and the blood cells.