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Luscious Treat May Thwart Oral Cancer

Compounds in avocados may help fight oral cancer according to a new study from Ohio State University. The luscious fruit sometimes dismissed as a nutrition zero, turns out to be a hero: In a comprehensive review of research, avocado extracts were proven to selectively inhibit the growth of human oral cancer cells while allowing regular oral cells to grow normally in basic research. How? Avocado compounds actually signal cancer cells to self destruct, a process called “apoptosis.”

This is potentially important breakthrough in combating oral cancer, which strikes 34,000 and kills 8,000 Americans ech year. But avocados’ promising health constituents only begin with your mouth. The velvety smooth fruit may also be good for your heart: Avocados’ monounsaturated fat, fiber and phytosterols may keep cholesterol in check. In fact, in one Mexican study people who ate one avocado daily saw their total cholesterol drop 17% after just one week.

Japanese researchers found that avocado beat out 22 other fruits as an effective defense against liver damage in an animal study. The same researchers also found avocados appeared to lessen the liver damage caused by hepatitis C.

BONUS: Avocados have more vitamin E than any other fruit so try this month’s featured recipe for Spinach and Avocado Hummus.

Published September 1, 2008

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