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Can You Prevent Cancer With this “Womb Shaped” Fruit?

3 mins read NO! While Avocados are notoriously delicious, they do NOT prevent cervical cancer. More so, depending on the species, they take from 8 to 18 months to mature; not 9 months.

Photo Credit: The Guardian Nigeria 3 mins read

What can the similar shape of the uterus (womb) and the avocado pear tell us? There are many fruits/plants shaped like certain body parts, but does this mean having this particular shape makes them directly affect the health of those body parts?

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We know the avocado pear as the hard green coloured fruit when unripe but delightfully soft on the tongue when ripe. Locally it goes by the name ebelebo or butter fruit. Vendors usually sell avocado unripe as the fruit matures on the tree, only ripening when picked off. And, depending on the species, it can take from 8 months (like the West Indian) to 18 months (like the Guatemalan) to mature; not a fixed 9 months like human babies.

Principal countries around the world that market avocados in vast commercial quantities include Mexico (the probable origin of present-day avocado species), Guatemala, Chile, USA, and South Africa; countries within the tropical and Mediterranean regions generally. In Nigeria, avocados are mainly grown in the eastern part of the country.

You can find out more about the avocado fruit here.

Demystifying the “womb” shaped fruit

A breakdown of the Hass avocado, the typical variety sold, shows about 60mg of folate, amongst other constituents. Also, studies suggest folate hinders developing cancer growth; this is perhaps the reason the claim indicates a link between avocados and cervical cancer.

Within the body, folate functions as a coenzyme or co-substrate in building DNA and RNA and in the synthesis of amino acids. Further, folate acts to aid the building up of those tiny units which will make up the critical building blocks of cells. 

That said, avocados are not the only foods rich in folate, and per the table below have a lower Daily Value(DV) requirement quantity; less than 20% DV*. Beef and spinach have much higher percentages! This fact, however, does not detract avocadoes usefulness and tastiness.

Source: Folate -Health Professional Fact sheet

It is also worth knowing that folic acid is the form found in fortified foods (i.e. artificially added); whereas folate is the natural form found in the body and fresh foods.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer grows at the connection of the womb and vagina in females. This malignant is the second most common cancer in women; it is also the second most common leading cause of cancer death in Nigerian women. Human papillomavirus is the primary culprit for cervical cancer; however, there is a readily available HPV vaccine. A local clinic would have more information on where to get this vaccine.

Folate and Cancer

While some reviews suggest a link with folate and cancer, its exact role is something that is still under a great deal of study. However, what is known is that folate has a mixed effect on cancer development and progression. Studies have suggested an opposing association between folate intake and the risk of colorectal, lung, pancreatic, oesophagal, stomach, cervical, ovarian, breast, bladder, and other cancers.

Yet, research has not established the precise nature of folate’s effect on carcinogenesis. Still, scientists hypothesise that folate might influence cancer development through its impact on DNA formation and cell division. 

Evidence also indicates that folate might play a double role in cancer initiation and growth. That is, folate might suppress some types of cancer during the early stages of development; conversely, high doses of folic acid taken after pre-cancer changes have occurred might inadvertently promote cancer development and progression.

Conclusion

Eating avocados is a sure way of eating healthy, and in fact, one study found it helps with lowering cholesterol, and overall body mass index. However, eating them because they have the same shape as your womb and also carry a “baby” is not a sure way to prevent or cure your cervical cancer. Your best bet of fending of cervical cancer is an HPV vaccination. Further, we advise avoiding certain risky habits such as smoking, taking alcohol, and hormonal pills.

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