Avocado Seeds: Overview
Avocados are, by far, my favorite food; in fact, I try to eat at least one avocado every day. The green, creamy fruit can pretty much go with anything. I add half an avocado to my morning smoothie and another half to my salad at dinnertime…and if I have a craving for nachos, I love making homemade guacamole!
Like most people, I used to toss the avocado seed in the garbage. But it turns out avocado seeds are not only healthy, but they have even been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Is It Safe to Eat Avocado Seeds?
“Wait a minute,” some may say. “Aren’t fruit seeds toxic?” Well, fruit seeds from cherries, plums, and apricots contain the toxic chemical cyanide, and large quantities of these seeds can lead to vomiting, dizziness, and even death. But that is not the case with the avocado seed.
Avocado seeds contain tannins, which are mildly toxic; however, you would have to consume several before you’d notice any negative health effects. In a 2013 study published in the Scientific World Journal, researchers concluded that avocado seed extract was safe and it did not show any toxicity.
5 Health Benefits of Eating Avocado Seeds
We know avocados are loaded with folate, vitamin B, and healthy fats. But avocado seeds are nutrient-rich as well. The avocado seed is a beneficial source of bioactive phytochemicals.
It contains fatty acids, triterpenes, phytosterols, and glucosides from abscisic acid. The avocado seed also contains 70% of the avocado’s antioxidant content. The antioxidant phytochemicals in avocado seeds include proanthocyanidins and flavonols. The avocado seed is also considered one of the best sources of soluble fiber.
What are the health benefits of eating avocado seeds?
They contain antifungal, antibiotic, antimicrobial, insecticidal, larvicidal, amoebicidal, giardicidal, hypolipidemic, and antihypertensive properties. Eating avocado seeds also has other valuable health benefits.
1. Helps fight cancer
The avocado seed contains anti-tumor properties, especially the potent antioxidants called flavonols. In a 2013 study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology, researchers from the University of Antioquia in Medellin, Colombia found that extract from avocado fruit and seeds caused leukemia cells to self-destruct.
In a more recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research, researchers discovered that a compound found in avocado seed extract called avocatin B was effective against acute myeloid leukemia cells. In total, study researchers tested 800 natural health products against the human acute myeloid leukemia cells.
2. Benefits heart disease patients
In a 2012 study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, avocado seed flour reduced the total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in mice. Researchers also suggested that avocado seeds could offer protection against arterial plaque formation.
The dietary fiber found in avocado seeds is linked with lower cholesterol. The fiber will bind to the cholesterol in the intestinal tract and prevent it from being absorbed. Other research shows that avocado seeds can help improve high cholesterol and hypertension. It can also help fight inflammation and diabetes.
3. Digestive benefits
Eating avocado seeds can also help with digestion. South Americans once used avocado seeds for treating gastric ulcers, severe diarrhea (dysentery), acute diarrhea, and other digestive problems. The antioxidants and fiber found in the avocado seed are beneficial for digestion.
4. Strengthens the immune system
A strong immune system is a great way to prevent disease. Avocado seeds and skins contain greater antioxidant levels, including procyandins and catehchins.
They have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce stiffness, swelling, joint pain, and diseases. The anti-inflammatory effects also help strengthen the immune system and prevent colds and flus.
In an in-vitro study, published in the journal Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical in 2009, researchers found that the antifungal and antibiotic effects of avocado seed extract could inhibit harmful pathogens such as candida, along with other fungi. Fungal and candida infections are related to a weakened immune system.
5. Helps reduce wrinkles
Evidence shows that avocado seed oil can increase collagen in the skin, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Avocado seed oil is also used to treat acne flare-ups.
How to Extract the Avocado Seed
To safely remove the avocado seed from the avocado:
- Cut the avocado by slicing around the pit in order to cleanly remove the seed.
- Insert your knife tip into the pit, twist, and gently pull.
- Finally, remove the avocado seed from the knife.
- Simply put the avocado seed into a plastic bag and then crush it with a hammer (or a blunt object).
- Combine the crushed seed with your favorite smoothie ingredients, such as dates, a banana, and dark leafy green vegetables, like spinach. If you have a high-powered blender, you may not need to smash the seed first, but you will need to add water.
Recipe for the Perfect Avocado Seed Smoothie
- 1/2 avocado seed
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 cup of almond milk or water
- 1 ripe pear
- 1/2 apple
- 1 cup of organic spinach
- 1 small piece of ginger (grated)
- Smash the seed, blend all of the ingredients together until smooth, and enjoy your avocado seed green goddess smoothie!
Do you want another green smoothie recipe? You’re in luck—this next recipe also contains flaxseed and red leaf lettuce:
- 1/2 avocado seed
- 2 1/2 cups of water or almond milk
- 1 ripe pear
- 1/2 to 3/4 of a ripe mango
- 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
- 3/4 of a head of red leaf lettuce
- Be sure to crush your avocado seed and blend all of the ingredients until smooth.
- Serve over ice and enjoy!
Other Uses for the Avocado Seed
Besides adding nutrition to your smoothie, the avocado seed has a plethora of other uses. Here are some of my favorites:
- Guacamole saver: Keep your guacamole from going bad in the refrigerator by placing the avocado seed in your dip.
- Homemade face mask: The avocado seed can also make a great face mask exfoliator. All you need to do is dry the seeds, grind them up, and add them to a homemade face mask recipe.
- Avocado seed tea: The avocado seed makes a great tea. Simply boil the seed for approximately 30 minutes.
- Grow an avocado plant: You can also grow an avocado seed into a decorative houseplant.
- Natural food additive: The antioxidant phytochemicals are thought to make avocado seeds a healthy food additive. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers concluded that the antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of avocado seeds may help with food spoilage prevention.
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Sources for Today’s article:
“Could avocados hold the key to treating leukaemia?” PubMed Health, National Center for Biotechnology Information web site, June 17, 2015; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2015-06-17-could-avocados-hold-the-key-to-treating-leukaemia/