It has been known for several years that oxygen-rich foods have good and bad effects in the human body (due to a process called oxidation
). For example, eating fruit allows certain cells to combat harmful free radicals and oxygen allows nutrients to be used efficiently for the body to generate energy.
However, oxygen molecules also have some negative effects in the human body. Several environmental factors, like such as pollution and cigarette smoke, can turn the oxygen molecules in cells into free radicals. Free radicals are associated with several diseases, including hypertension and diabetes.
This has led to search for foods rich in antioxidants
and from this many nutritionists recommend that foods rich in anti-oxidants are included in diets. Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements and have been investigated for the prevention of diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease and even altitude sickness.
A food stuff which has not been explored, until recently, for its anti-oxidant potential is the humble avocado, according to The Times of India
. Research conducted by Christian Cortés-Rojo, a researcher at Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Morelia, Michoacán, México, suggests that the avocado could not only be a rich source of anti-oxidants but also of a type which can be easily absorbed by cells. This was most effective for avocado oil.
According to Newswire
, on April 22, Cortés-Rojo presented his research at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, held in conjunction with the Experimental Biology 2012
conference in San Diego.
For the study, the research team examined yeast cells, of the type used in wine and beer production, to examine avocado oil's properties. The results of the research demonstrated that avocado oil allowed the yeast cells to survive exposure to high concentrations of iron, which produces a huge amount of free radicals.
The results, overview on the science site DNA analysis
, which suggest health benefits, match other research in avocado. Other studies
have shown that avocado lowers the blood concentration of cholesterol and certain fats that are increased in diabetic patients and that may lead to stroke or heart attack.
Further research is due, but it could be that the avocado could become the latest ‘super food’ (certainly a better bet than recent attempts to market popcorn