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Irvine, CA. (March 1, 2005) -
Research findings published in this month's issue of the Journal of Nutrition indicate that avocados act as a "nutrient booster," allowing the body to absorb significantly more heart-healthy nutrients like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene found in fruits and vegetables.
The study was conducted at Ohio State University where adult men and women consumed salad and salsa with and without fresh avocado. The subjects who consumed the meals with 75 grams of avocado (equivalent to 2.5 tablespoons) absorbed 8.3 times more alpha-carotene and 13.6 times more beta-carotene, both of which may promote heart health. The subjects also absorbed 4.3 times more lutein, which contributes to eye health.
The subjects who consumed salsa with 150 grams of avocado absorbed 4.4 times more lycopene, which has been linked to prostate health, while absorption of beta-carotene doubled. Researchers concluded that the monounsaturated fat in the avocados boosted the participants' ability to absorb the beneficial nutrients.
According to Dr. Steven Schwartz from Ohio State University, "Many fruits and vegetables are rich in beneficial carotenoids, but most fruits and vegetables are virtually fat free, which may limit the body's ability to absorb some of these nutrients. Our latest research shows that the natural fat content in avocados increases cartenoid absorption, which offers nutritional advantages over other sources of fat such as salad dressings."
Dr. David Heber, Professor of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and author of What Color Is Your Diet?, concurs with Dr. Schwartz. "While it is well known that fats help in the absorption of colorful compounds that are good for you such as lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark greens, the good fats from olives and avocados are better for you than many processed salad dressings made with hydrogenated vegetables oils."
Avocados are a nutrient dense fruit, offering vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can help maximize the nutrient quality of the diet. According to the Food and Drug Administration, diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases. California avocados are a part of the National Cancer Institute's National 5 A Day program.
For more nutrition information, please visit www.avocado.org.
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