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Avocado oil may be the next big thing

Apr 23rd, 2012
Staff Writer

Avocado oil - enemy of free radicalsAvocado oil could become a popular item in kitchens because of its health benefits, researchers say.

Avocado oil appears to help protect the body from free radical oxygen molecules, which harm cells, said Christian Cortés-Rojo, a researcher at Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Morelia, Michoacán, México.

The researchers used yeast cells – those used in wine and beer production – to examine avocado oil's properties. Yeast was used because it's highly resistant to free radicals. The study showed that avocado oil allowed the yeast cells to survive high exposures to iron, which normally produces large numbers of free radical molecules.

Avocados have long held a good reputation for health properties, said Cortés-Rojo. Previous research has shown avocado lowers cholesterol other fats in the blood stream that may lead to stroke or heart attack.

"Our results are promising because they indicate that avocado consumption could improve the health status of diabetic and other patients through an additional mechanism to the improvement of blood lipids," he said. "We'll need to confirm that what has been observed in yeasts could occur in higher organisms, such as humans."

"In some Mediterranean countries, low or almost no appearance of these kinds of diseases has been associated with the high olive oil consumption," he explains. "Olive oil has a fat composition similar to that found in avocado oil. Therefore, avocado oil could eventually be referred to as the olive oil of the Americas."

The study was presented 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.

Photo credit: Public Health Image Library