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EFFECTS OF AVOCADO ON HEALTH, WEIGHT LOSS, CANCER, INFLAMMATION, AND CHOLESTEROL – 2 OF 3

Avocado can enhance weight loss and reduce inflammation as it is a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, and other nutrients.
EFFECTS OF AVOCADO ON HEALTH, WEIGHT LOSS, CANCER, INFLAMMATION, AND CHOLESTEROL 2 OF 3

Table of Contents

In advising our members, we filter thousands of research and fads, relying only on the credible worldwide science available for better health and weight reduction. Here we chose the interesting research of Dr. Michael Greger. Yet, no research replaces your own doctor's advice.

Research Summary

  1. Avocado has potent anti-inflammatory effects. 
  2. Adding ½ avocado to a meat hamburger may reduce the negative pro-inflammatory effect of meat-eating. 
  3. Avocado extract can extinguish the growth of oral cancer cells and appears to inhibit cancer cell growth in colon and esophageal tissues.
  4. Eating avocado fights the formation of breast cancer cells and can be used as chemo itself.
  5. Fats and fiber in avocado can increase gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites that keep the gut healthy. 
  6. One medium avocado provides 30-50% of the recommended amount of soluble fiber per day.
  7. Avocado consumption alters the increase of good gastrointestinal bacteria and microbial metabolism among adults with obesity. 
  8. Adding ½ avocado to a meat hamburger may reduce the negative pro-inflammatory effect of meat-eating.
  9. Eating avocado reduces bile acid and chain fatty acids.
  10. Eating avocado have beneficial effects on colonic and epithelial lining cells.

Definitions

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s reaction to infection, irritation, or injury that causes redness, swelling, and pain. When a person does not eat healthily, does not get enough exercise, or has too much stress, the body responds by triggering inflammation.

Early symptoms of chronic inflammation have subtle signs and symptoms that may go undetected for an extended period. A person may feel slightly tired or even normal. As inflammation progresses, however, it begins to damage the arteries, organs, and joints. It can contribute to chronic diseases like heart disease, blood vessel disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions if left unchecked.

Immune system cells that cause inflammation contribute to the buildup of fatty deposits in the lining of the heart’s arteries. Dr. Marcus Free states that these plaques can eventually rupture, which causes a clot to form that could potentially block an artery. When a blockage happens, the result is a heart attack.

Does Eating Avocado Fight Cancer?

Thanks to NutritionFacts.org and Dr. Michael Greger

It was 1975 when a pesticide naturally produced by the avocado tree was discovered, explaining why nibbling on the leaves caused lactating livestock to suffer mammary gland damage. The toxin, called persin, was found to be damaging to the heart.

In 2010, there was an evaluation of the genotoxicity (the toxicity to human chromosomes) of the avocado extract on human white blood cells. Typically, less than 10% of our dividing cells have any chromosome abnormalities. The study, however, revealed that dripping avocado fruit extracts on human chromosomes increase the percentage by 40%. It concluded that there is something in avocado fruit that can potentially induce significant genomic instability and genetic damage in human white blood cells in a petri dish. If the same effect occurs in actual people, it could, for example, result in transforming cells into cancer.

However, for anything to get into the bloodstream, it first has to survive the stomach acid, get absorbed through the intestines, and then sneak past the liver’s detoxification enzymes. And indeed, persin may be affected, changed by acidic conditions. At high enough concentrations, avocado extracts can harm the growth of the cells that line the mouths but damage oral cancer cells even more.

Can eating avocado prevent cancer cell growth?

A research found that avocado fruit extract can inhibit cancer cell growth more than average cell growth when it comes to colon cancer cells or esophageal cancer cells. 

Like fiber, the fermentation of other carbohydrates in the colon is considered beneficial. On the other hand, putrefaction (fermentation of protein) is deemed detrimental. Switch people to a high protein diet, and the excess protein putrefying in their gut leads to a doubling of levels in ammonia and p-cresol within a week. In terms of cell viability, epithelial integrity, and mitochondrial function, avocado and other phytonutrient-rich plant foods like apples, cranberries, and grapes may protect the cells lining our colon from the harmful effects of p-cresol. They act as protection against gut leakiness. It can be inferred that avocado has a beneficial impact on colon lining cells. Now, let us look for a link between avocado consumption, actual human beings eating avocados, and prostate cancer. It was found that eating a third of an avocado a day can reduce the risks of prostate cancer by about half.

Can Eating Avocado Reduce Inflammation? 

Thanks to NutritionFacts.org and Dr. Michael Greger

Calorie-dense foods increase inflammation and oxidation, thereby contributing to the development of artery disease. However, it is unclear whether the high-calorie load alone, irrespective of the ingested food’s nutritional content, produces an entire postprandial oxidative and inflammatory activity. 

A study compared the impact of high-calorie, phytonutrient-reduced, high-fat, and high-sugar ice cream to the effects of the same number of calories from an avocado. The concentration of fat should have the same impact if it is just the concentration of calories. 

To separate the effects of the saturated butterfat, the researchers tested the reactions to four different meals: ice cream versus avocado versus just the fat and protein from the ice cream to separate the sugar, and then only the amount of sugar in the ice cream.

People who eat avocado consumed fat and calories in the form of whole plant food, which tends to be packed with antioxidants. The antioxidants can inhibit oxidized fats formed when meat is cooked and when it hits your stomach acid.

Thanks to NutritionFacts.org and Dr. Michael Greger

Avocado can reduce meal-induced inflammation


Graph 1: Adding avocado to meat meal reduces inflammation within hours after eating.

If a whole plant food source of sugar can reduce inflammation response to an “inflammatory stressor” meal, is it the same for a whole plant food source of fat? When a person eats a burger with half an avocado on top, within hours, the level of an inflammatory biomarker goes up in the blood, although not as high as eating the burger without the avocado. All whole plant foods have antioxidants that decrease inflammation. They also contain fiber, which is why even high-fat whole plant foods like nuts can lower cholesterol. Eating avocados can result in a significant drop in cholesterol levels, especially in high cholesterol, with even a reduction in triglycerides.

Is Avocado Probiotic?

Thanks to Plant Based Science London

Researchers from the University of Illinois examined the effect of avocado on gut microbes and the consequences of daily avocado intake on 163 overweight or obese adults between 25 and 45 who were otherwise healthy. They aimed to test the idea that the fats and fiber in avocados positively affect gut microbes. 

Subjects received one meal per day as a replacement for either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Group one consumed an avocado with each meal, while the control group consumed a similar meal without the avocado. Blood, urine, and stool samples were taken throughout the 12-week study. They also recorded how much of the provided meals were consumed every four weeks. Participants were told not to restrict or change what they ate; instead, they consumed their regular diets except replacing one meal per day with the meal the researchers provided.

The research has found that those in the avocado group saw an increase in gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites. They had greater microbial diversity than people who did not receive the avocado meals in the study. Bile acid was also reduced, and short-chain fatty acids increased. “These changes correlate with beneficial health outcomes,” Hannah Holscher, senior author of the studies, said.

Avocados are high in fat. However, results demonstrated that while the avocado group consumed more calories than the control group, more fat was excreted in their stool. Greater fat excretion means the participants were absorbing less energy from the foods that they were eating.

This can be linked to the reductions in bile acids (molecules secreted by our digestive system to absorb fat). “We found that the amount of bile acids in store was lower, and the amount of fat in the stool was higher in the avocado group,” Holscher explained.

Is avocado a good source of fiber?

A medium avocado contains around 12 grams of fiber which is about 35% of the daily recommended amount of fiber intake. Not only is fiber healthy for us it’s also critically important for our microbiome. We can’t break down dietary fibers, but certain gut microbes can. When we consume dietary fiber, it’s a win-win for gut microbes, and just like we think about hot healthy meals, we also need to be thinking about gut healthy meals and how to feed the microbiota. Avocado is simply a nicely packaged fruit that contains essential nutrients for health.

Clinical Reference

Hass avocado inclusion in a weight-loss diet supported weight loss and altered gut microbiota: a 12-week randomized, parallel-controlled trial 

Avocados contain fiber, lutein, and vitamin E, and they are a rich source of MUFAs. The effect of including an avocado daily as part of a hypocaloric weight-loss diet on weight loss is not known. A randomized, parallel-controlled, open-label, 2-arm intervention research was conducted on 51 healthy overweight/obese women and men. The study aimed to determine the effects of daily avocado consumption as part of a hypocaloric diet on weight loss, body composition, satiety, biomarkers of inflammation, and intestinal microbiota composition.

Results indicated that daily consumption of Hass avocado as part of a hypocaloric diet supported weight loss. There was also a decrease in serum HGF and an increase in the abundance of bacteria involved in plant polysaccharide fermentation. Read the full medical research here.

Citations

Greger, M. [NutritionFacts.org]. (2017, October 23). Are Avocados Healthy? [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/P5YZlluVXn0

Greger, M. [NutritionFacts.org]. (2018, June 11). The Effects of Avocados on Inflammation [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/c3psl0FtlPk

Greger, M. [NutritionFacts.org]. (2017, April 21). The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation [Video]. Youtube. https://youtu.be/dvDHX9jNw3Y

Plant Based Science London. (2020, December 18). What Avocados Do to Your Gut [Video]. Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oknWtBx9xJs

Thompson, S.V., Bailey, M.A., Taylor, A.M., et.al. (2021). Avocado Consumption Alters Gastrointestinal Bacteria Abundance and Microbial Metabolite Concentrations among Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 151(4), 753–762. https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa219