The next time you reach for the guacamole and chips, you'll be doing something good for your body. Avocados are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fat,* and now researchers say they might also help your body fight off cancer.

Renee Bean always tries to make fresh fruits and vegetables a part of her recipes. As a chef, she says they can make her dishes taste better.
As an oral cancer survivor, she believes they might actually help her feel better.
"I try to eat things that are supposed to keep you from getting any recurrences. Lots of berries and broccoli," says Bean.
And now there's a new fruit Renee may want to add to her diet - the avocado. The green meat inside is rich in more than 20 vitamins and minerals, and it may offer much more than that.

For the first time, researchers at Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered that certain compounds in avocados have the ability to find and destroy oral cancer cells, even before they do any damage.

"It's significant in that the compounds that we're interested in will only target the pre-cancerous cells and potentially the cancerous cells and not affect the normal cells," says Steven D'Ambrosio, PhD at Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Researchers still aren't sure exactly how the avocados do it, but they think it has something to do with phytonutrients and their ability to help regulate the signals that your body sends to certain cells.

"Signals that tell cells to grow, live or die. And we're looking at the potential targets of these phytonutrients from the avocados," says D'Ambrosio.

Researchers say they've only tested the avocado in oral cancer, but other types of cancer grow in similar ways. So if scientists can figure out exactly how it works, this one fruit could help fight other forms of cancer too.

In addition to their potential cancer-fighting power, experts say avocados are loaded with nutrients. Two tablespoons have 50 calories and 4 grams of fat. That's better than using butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese or mayonnaise on your next sandwich.*

*The California Avocado Commission, "Avocado Nutrition Structure/Function Statements"

Ohio State University