They’re delicious in salads and an excellent source of ’good’ fats, and now it has been found that avocados can help fight disease and signs of ageing.

Research from the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo in Mexico found avocado oil can protect the body’s cells against damaging free radicals, which attack lipids, proteins and DNA and in doing so contribute to the ageing process.

Free radicals are especially dangerous because they turn the energy producing part of cells - mitochondria - into free radicals too, a process that is associated with several diseases, from hypertension to diabetes.

Countless amounts of money are spent treating these illnesses, so if avocados can be used to help prevent or cure damage caused by free radicals, health systems around the world will be able to slash their spending accordingly.

The herbal oil is similar in composition to olive oil, which is widely used in Mediterranean countries and is said to be linked to low levels of chronic disease in these populations.

Lead researcher Christopher Cortes-Rojo said that avocado oil could become known as the olive oil of the Americas.

"Our results are promising because they indicate avocado consumption could improve the health status of diabetic and other patients," he commented.

"In some Mediterranean countries, low or almost no appearance of these kinds of diseases has been associated with the high olive oil consumption."

Previous research has found that avocados can lower the blood concentration of cholesterol and reduce certain fats that are increased in patients with diabetes and that can lead to stroke and heart attack.

Avocado is also great for soothing irritated skin as it contains vitamin E, which is great for producing healthy red blood cells and protecting the heart, as well as promoting healthy skin and hair.

Posted by Matilda Jones