Avocados are, by far, one of the most versatile foods on the planet. You can easily combine them with any dish, whether it is your morning smoothie, dinnertime salad, nachos, or homemade guacamole. What’s more, avocadoes are a storehouse of nutrients that improve your health on many levels. And, not just the fruit.
What most people don’t know is that avocado seeds have an even wider range of medicinal properties than the fruit. In fact, they have been used in traditional medicine for centuries.
Is It Safe to Eat Avocado Seeds?
Although there’s general belief that fruit seeds are toxic, this doesn’t include avocado seeds. Fruit seeds from cherries, plums, and apricots do contain a toxic substance called cyanide, which can result in vomiting, dizziness, and even death if consumed abundantly. But, that’s not the case with avocado seeds. These seeds have tannins, which are mildly toxic and only produce side effects when consumed abundantly. According to a 2013 study published in the Scientific World Journal, avocado seed extract is safe to use and causes no toxicity.
5 Health Benefits of Eating Avocado Seeds
The amazing health benefits of avocados are due to the abundance of nutrients these fruits contain – folate, vitamin B, and healthy fats. But, a number of studies have also confirmed that avocado seeds are a storehouse of bioactive phytochemicals, fatty acids, triterpenes, phytosterols, and glucosides from abscisic acid. In fact, avocado seeds account for 70% of the avocado’s antioxidant properties. The antioxidant phytochemicals in avocado seeds include proanthocyanidins and flavonols. According to research, avocado seeds are one of the best sources of soluble fiber.
The health benefits of eating avocado seeds
Avocado seeds provide a wide array of medicinal properties including antifungal, antibiotic, antimicrobial, insecticidal, larvicidal, amoebicidal, giardicidal, hypolipidemic, and antihypertensive. Read on and find out how eating avocado seeds will provide you with valuable health benefits.
1. Avocado seeds fight cancer
Avocado seeds contain potent antioxidants – flavonols, which have strong anti-cancer properties. A 2013 study conducted by the University of Antioquia in Medellin and published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology found that avocado fruit and seed extract lead to apoptosis (cell death) in leukemia cells.
A more recent study that examined over 800 natural health products against the human acute myeloid leukemia cells, published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research, also confirmed that avocatin B – a compound found in avocado seed extract effectively destroyed acute myeloid leukemia cells.
2. They improve heart health
According to a 2012 study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, avocado seed flour lowered total cholesterol and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in lab mice. The study also suggested that avocado seeds prevent against arterial plaque formation.
What makes avocado seeds so effective in terms of heart health is the fact that the dietary fiber they contain binds to the cholesterol in the intestinal tract thus preventing it from being absorbed.
A separate study found that avocado seeds reduce high cholesterol levels and hypertension. Also, they protect against inflammation and diabetes.
3. They improve digestion
Consumption of avocado seeds can significantly improve digestive system function owing to its antioxidants and fiber, which are beneficial for digestion. In South America, avocado seeds are used for treatment of gastric ulcers, severe diarrhea (dysentery), acute diarrhea, and other digestive problems.
4. They strengthens the immune system
It’s a fact that the best prevention against disease is a strong immune system. Avocado seeds and skins are packed with powerful antioxidants such as procyandins and catehchins. These provide potent anti-inflammatory effects that reduce stiffness, swelling, joint pain, and diseases. The anti-inflammatory effects also boost the immune system and prevent common viral infections.
According to an in-vitro study, published in the journal Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical in 2009, the antifungal and antibiotic effects of avocado seed extract can fight harmful pathogens such as candida, along with a wide array of fungi species. These fungal infections have repeatedly been linked to a weakened immune system.
5. They prevent aging and reduce wrinkles
Research has also confirmed that avocado seed oil increases formation of collagen in the skin. This in turn reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Avocado seed oil is also beneficial for treatment of acne breakout.
How to Extract the Avocado Seed
Follow the simple steps to safely remove the avocado seed from the avocado:
- Cut the avocado lengthwise in two halves; cut around the pit so as to easily remove the seed.
- Place the knife tip into the pit, twist, and pull gently.
- In the end, free the avocado seed from the knife.
- Put the avocado seed into a plastic bag then crush using a hammer (or another blunt object).
- Add the seed to your favorite smoothie; mix it with different ingredients such as dates, bananas, and dark leafy greens, like spinach. If you are using a high-powered blender, you don’t need to crush the seed in advance.
Recipe for the Perfect Avocado Seed Green Goodness 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)
- Crush the seed then mix all the ingredients until well-blended. Bon appetite!
Another green smoothie recipe combines an avocado seed with 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 tbsps. ground flaxseed
- 3/4 of a head of red leaf lettuce
- Crush the avocado seed first then blend with the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
- Serve with ice!
Other Uses for the Avocado Seed
Aside from making the perfect addition to your smoothie, avocado seeds can also be used in the following ways:
- Guacamole saver: Put an avocado seed in your guacamole to protect it from going bad.
- Homemade facemask: Use an avocado seed to make a great exfoliator. Dry the seeds first before grinding them. Finally, add them to a homemade facemask recipe.
- Avocado seed tea: Use an avocado seed to brew a health-boosting tea. Boil the seed for about half an hour.
- Grow an avocado plant: Grow an avocado seed into a decorative houseplant.
- Natural food additive: According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry the antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of avocado seeds may prevent food spoilage.