It has long been known that avocados are an excellent source of dietary nutrients. New research by scientists at the Center for Human Nutrition of the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) indicates that they are actually better than previously thought.

"The antioxidant and phytochemical properties of avocados are less well recognised," said the UCLA: "These plant nutrients naturally found in fruits and vegetables work together to reduce oxidant stress and prevent disease."

In a new study, researchers point out that the avocado, which is among the twenty most commonly consumed fruits, contains around twice as much vitamin E as previously reported. This means that this fruit is the highest source of the powerful antioxidant, a vitamin that is known to slow the aging process and protect against heart disease and common forms of cancer by mopping up free radicals.

Avocados are also the highest popular fruit source of a carotenoin called lutein, which helps protects eye health.