Tag Archives: avocado

Avocado's Cancer Fighting Fat | The Paleo Diet

If you’re eating avocados on a regular basis, you’re definitely on trend, but you may not be fully aware of their nutritional benefits and contents. Recently, brand new research revealed molecules derived from avocados could be effective in treating a specific form of Leukemia.1 Researchers filed a patent application for the use of avocation B, a compound found in avocados, to develop a lipid drug that combats acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Fighting occurs via specific targeting of the root of the disease – leukemia stem cells. With the existing body of scientific literature linking fruit consumption (yes, the avocado is a fruit) and cancer, we must take an unbiased look at the salient research.2, 3, 4, 5 Even back in 2005, researchers found the avocado is a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, but also noted its bioactive substances were overlooked.6 This included carotenoids, which may help with cancer prevention.7, 8, 9

In 2009, researchers noted phytochemicals extracted from avocado into a chloroform partition selectively induced apoptosis in cancer cells.10 These experiments are conducted using extracts and are in much higher amounts than you would get from just eating avocados regularly. But, would it be a good idea to consume avocados regularly, as a potential preventative measure against cancer?

I would argue yes, since avocados have a plethora of other benefits as well.11, 12, 13 They are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, and also contain nearly 50% of your daily dose of pantothenic acid, among other nutrients.14, 15 As many who follow a Paleo diet know, the intake of fat along with carotenoids greatly improves their absorption.16, 17 When consuming a salad for example, without fat content present, absorption is hindered. So, employ a simple, inexpensive, and delicious fix by adding it to your vegetable medley!

Cancer is something we all fear, and it can be debilitating in the extreme. But if you exercise regularly, sleep plenty, and eat a nutrient rich Paleo diet – your cancer risk is lessened.18 While cancer research continues to only skim the surface, we do know increased vegetable consumption and healthy habits are associated with a decreased risk.19

Pile your plate high with vegetables, choosing options like kale and spinach, both known to have cancer combative properties. 20 Between leafy greens and cruciferous veggies, and healthy fats from avocados, these measures might be just the ticket to nip cancer in the bud.



[1] Lee EA, Angka L, Rota SG, et al. Targeting Mitochondria with Avocatin B Induces Selective Leukemia Cell Death. Cancer Res. 2015;75(12):2478-88.

[2] Vainio H, Weiderpass E. Fruit and vegetables in cancer prevention. Nutr Cancer. 2006;54(1):111-42.

[3] Block G, Patterson B, Subar A. Fruit, vegetables, and cancer prevention: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Nutr Cancer. 1992;18(1):1-29.

[4] Chan JM, Wang F, Holly EA. Vegetable and fruit intake and pancreatic cancer in a population-based case-control study in the San Francisco bay area. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2005;14(9):2093-7.

[5] Benetou V, Orfanos P, Lagiou P, Trichopoulos D, Boffetta P, Trichopoulou A. Vegetables and fruits in relation to cancer risk: evidence from the Greek EPIC cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008;17(2):387-92.

[6] Lu QY, Arteaga JR, Zhang Q, Huerta S, Go VL, Heber D. Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances. J Nutr Biochem. 2005;16(1):23-30.

[7] Wu K, Erdman JW, Schwartz SJ, et al. Plasma and dietary carotenoids, and the risk of prostate cancer: a nested case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004;13(2):260-9.

[8] Gallicchio L, Boyd K, Matanoski G, et al. Carotenoids and the risk of developing lung cancer: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;88(2):372-83.

[9] Slattery ML, Benson J, Curtin K, Ma KN, Schaeffer D, Potter JD. Carotenoids and colon cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(2):575-82.

[10] Ding H, Han C, Guo D, et al. Selective induction of apoptosis of human oral cancer cell lines by avocado extracts via a ROS-mediated mechanism. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(3):348-56.

[11] Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50.

[12] Pieterse Z, Jerling JC, Oosthuizen W, et al. Substitution of high monounsaturated fatty acid avocado for mixed dietary fats during an energy-restricted diet: effects on weight loss, serum lipids, fibrinogen, and vascular function. Nutrition. 2005;21(1):67-75.

[13] Alvizouri-muñoz M, Carranza-madrigal J, Herrera-abarca JE, Chávez-carbajal F, Amezcua-gastelum JL. Effects of avocado as a source of monounsaturated fatty acids on plasma lipid levels. Arch Med Res. 1992;23(4):163-7.

[14] Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50.

[15] Yang M, Moclair B, Hatcher V, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a novel pantothenic Acid-based dietary supplement in subjects with mild to moderate facial acne. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2014;4(1):93-101.

[16] Ribaya-mercado JD. Influence of dietary fat on beta-carotene absorption and bioconversion into vitamin A. Nutr Rev. 2002;60(4):104-10.

[17] Widjaja-adhi MA, Lobo GP, Golczak M, Von lintig J. A genetic dissection of intestinal fat-soluble vitamin and carotenoid absorption. Hum Mol Genet. 2015;24(11):3206-19.

[18] Verhoeven DT, Goldbohm RA, Van poppel G, Verhagen H, Van den brandt PA. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1996;5(9):733-48.

[19] Murillo G, Mehta RG. Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Nutr Cancer. 2001;41(1-2):17-28.

[20] Maeda N, Matsubara K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity. Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011;11(1):32-8.

Potassium-Rich Foods in The Paleo Diet

Potassium is essential for normal body function, including muscle formation, the transmission of nerve impulses, and the metabolism of carbohydrates and protein.

In 2005, the Institute of Medicine established an adequate intake (AI) level for potassium of 4,700 mg per day for adults. This AI was calculated based on intake levels found to lower blood pressure, reduce salt sensitivity, and minimize the risk of kidney stones.1 Adequate potassium consumption may also prevent against stroke and osteoporosis.

Several large epidemiological studies, when considered together, suggest that increased potassium consumption can decrease the risk of stroke.2, 3, 4, 5 In cross-sectional studies of premenopausal, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal women, as well as elderly men, increased potassium consumption (from fruits and vegetables) is significantly associated with increased bone mineral density (BMD), suggesting that diets rich in potassium may help prevent osteoporosis.6, 7, 8

From an evolutionary perspective, our modern dietary ratios of potassium to sodium are much lower than those of our distant ancestors. Researchers estimate that people in Western industrialized cultures consume three times more sodium than potassium, whereas primitive man consumed seven times more potassium than sodium.9, 10


The chart shows the potassium (K) and sodium (Na) concentrations of common Paleo foods. As you can see, all of them provide many times more potassium than sodium, with the exception of chicken meat/skin and eggs, which contain potassium and sodium in roughly a 1:1 ratio.

The Paleo Diet, of course, recommends plenty of vegetables, modest amounts of fruit, seeds, and nuts, and no processed foods (which are typically high in sodium and low in potassium). Mushrooms are also an important food group, not only for their immune-boosting properties, but also for their impressive amounts of potassium. So try our fantastic recipe pairing cilantro-enriched guacamole with grilled Portobello mushrooms for a delicious potassium boost.


Serves 2

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed (divided)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • Freshly milled black pepper
  • 2 Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar


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Christopher James Clark, B.B.A.
Nutritional Grail

Christopher James Clark | The Paleo Diet TeamChristopher James Clark, B.B.A. is an award-winning writer, consultant, and chef with specialized knowledge in nutritional science and healing cuisine. He has a Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan and formerly worked as a revenue management analyst for a Fortune 100 company. For the past decade-plus, he has been designing menus, recipes, and food concepts for restaurants and spas, coaching private clients, teaching cooking workshops worldwide, and managing the kitchen for a renowned Greek yoga resort. Clark is the author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book, Nutritional Grail.

See more recipes!


1. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science. (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate. National Academies Press. Retrieved from //www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309091691

2. Ascherio, A, et al. (September 1998). Intake of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and fiber and risk of stroke among US men. Circulation, 98(12). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9743511?dopt=Abstract

3. Iso, H, et al. (September 1999). Prospective study of calcium, potassium, and magnesium intake and risk of stroke in women. Circulation, 30(9). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10471422?dopt=Abstract

4. Fang, G, et al. (July 2000). Dietary potassium intake and stroke mortality. Stroke 31(7). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10884449?dopt=Abstract

5. Bazzano, LA, et al. (July 2001). Dietary potassium intake and risk of stroke in US men and women: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey I epidemiologic follow-up study. Stroke 32(7). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11441188?dopt=Abstract

6. New, SA, et al. (June 1997). Nutritional influences on bone mineral density: a cross-sectional study in premenopausal women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 65(6). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9174480?dopt=Abstract

7. New, SA, et al. (January 2000). Dietary influences on bone mass and bone metabolism: further evidence of a positive link between fruit and vegetable consumption and bone health? American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 71(1). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10617959?dopt=Abstract

8. Tucker, KL, et al. (April 1999). Potassium, magnesium, and fruit and vegetable intakes are associated with greater bone mineral density in elderly men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(4). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10197575?dopt=Abstract

9. Young, DB, et al. (April 1995). Potassium’s cardiovascular protective mechanisms. The American Journal of Physiology, 268(4 Pt. 2). Retrieved from //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7733391?dopt=Abstract

10. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University. Micronutrient Information Center. Potassium. Retrieved from //lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/potassium/

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