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Lutein-rich avocado

19-Jun-2001

According to a new study from University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) indicates that avocados have nearly twice as much vitamin E as previously reported, making avocados the highest fruit source of the powerful antioxidant, reports BW HealthWire. Vitamin E is known to slow the aging process and protect against heart disease and common forms of cancer by neutralising free radicals, which may cause cellular damage. The research also showed that avocados are the highest fruit source of lutein among the 20 most frequently consumed fruits. Lutein is a carotenoid, which helps protect against eye disease such as cataracts and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. .Dr. David Heber, director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, the data strengthen the healthful profile of the avocado says that "avocados are recognised as an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, known to lower cholesterol levels, but the antioxidant and phytochemical properties of avocados are less well recognised. These plant nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables work together to reduce oxidant stress and prevent disease." Avocados also contain glutathione, which functions as an an antioxidant to mop up free radicals. Avocados are also four times richer in beta-sitosterol than other fruits. Beta-sitosterol helps lower blood pressure; and according to Dr. Heber, beta-sitosterol combined with avocado's monounsaturated fat may reduce cholesterol levels in some studies. Source: BW HealthWire

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