Fruit compound more potent than drugs against leukemia

Your body constantly makes new blood cells and when this physiological machinery goes awry and starts making abnormal cells it can lead to leukemia. Now, research into the health benefits of plant foods reveals a fruit with natural substances that have the potential to stop deadly leukemia at its source. Considering its one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, I’m not surprised.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have found a type of fat in avocados that can stymie a variety of leukemia called acute myeloid leukemia (AML) — a deadly illness that when it occurs in people over 65, has a 90 percent death rate within five years.

This fat in avocado attacks the root of AML — stem cells that yield cancerous blood cells. This is a huge deal as researchers explain there are hardly any types of drugs available that can go after leukemia stem cells.

“The stem cell is really the cell that drives the disease,” says researcher Paul Professor Spagnuolo. “The stem cell is largely responsible for the disease developing and it’s the reason why so many patients with leukemia relapse. We’ve performed many rounds of testing to determine how this new (fat) works at a molecular level and confirmed that it targets stem cells selectively, leaving healthy cells unharmed.”

Spagnuolo is trying to develop this type of avocado fat — called avocatin B — into a drug that can be used to fight leukemia. But it may be years before avocation B is used widely against AML.

You, however, don’t have to wait until some drug company starts selling a refined version of the avocado’s healing fat just to reap its many health benefits. Start eating avocados now and you may enjoy a little of its anti-cancer effects, as well as an abundance of nutritional benefits that include 20 vitamins and minerals, beneficial plant compounds and brain-healthy fats.

Avocado is great in sandwiches and salads, but if you’re not a fan of plain avocado, give this easy healthy guacamole recipe a try.

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Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.