Transcript: Are Avocados Good for You?
I’ve covered high-fat plant foods in the past, such as nuts, which are health-promoting; coconut oil, which is not so health-promoting, but what about avocados? 75% calories from fat, but good for you nonetheless? Neither good nor bad? Or, something we should consider avoiding?
Well, rats fed the human equivalent of 200 pounds of avocado seeds don’t do so well. But we’re not rats, and who eats avocado pits?
Then, of course, the FDA warns about the toxicity of avocado leaves for the lactating mammary gland of the goat. But what about the actual fruit? Not good for pets evidently, but then again, neither is chocolate. What about the actual fruit for actual humans? We’ve been eating avocados for 10,000 years; the darling of health nuts everywhere. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, they’re not a problem for cholesterol. In fact, people put on an avocado diet see a significant improvement in their cholesterol—probably in part due to its phytosterol content.
The California Avocado Commission even supported a study pitting (no pun intended) avocados against a malignant line of oral cancer cells. Here’s the control: the red dots indicate living mitochondria inside the cells, the little sparks of life force; extinguished by an avocado extract, leaving dead lifeless husks of cancer cells in its wake.
Kills breast cancer cells, too. There’s a natural plant toxin produced by the avocado tree, and found in avocado fruit, that acts as a fungicide, an insecticide, and can do a number on human breast cancer cells. And here they are.
These are not what we want in our body. These are three breast cancer cells huddled together, planning their route of attack. This is a different stain than used before. The red is their nucleus, and the green is their cytoskeleton, the cell skeleton. Didn’t know cells had skeletons? How else could they move?
How else could a breast cancer cell get from the breast to the brain or to the liver? It crawls there. Here’s a video of breast cancer cells in a lab working their way through a maze researchers set up for them, using their cellular skeletons to pull themselves along.
Ah, but that’s what chemotherapy is for. This is what the chemo drug Paclitaxel can do: clumps up their cytoskeleton so the cells can’t move, can’t divide. And the avocado toxin can do the exact same thing—stopping breast cancer cells in their tracks.
The researchers conclude that persin, the avocado toxin, should be further evaluated as a single agent combination chemotherapy agent for cancers of the breast; and potentially other cancers, as well.
Look what this toxin does to cancer cell DNA. This is a measure of DNA fragmentation. The avocado compound rips their chromosomes limb from limb. Unfortunately, it turns out, it appears to do the same thing to normal cells, too.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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