Avocados are a super food that many people love to eat. After simply scooping out the flesh of a ripe avocado, it can be used in delicious dips, sandwiches, smoothies, spreads and salads, along with famous Mexican guacamole. Even beauty face packs are made with the flesh. However, most of us throw away the large seed, not realizing that it is edible and offers many health benefits. In fact, the seeds contain much higher antioxidant, fibre and phenolic content than the flesh.
Before consuming the seed, which has a bitter and astringent flavour, remove the fine layer of brown skin that covers it. Then, grate the seed or grind it into a powder using a coffee bean grinder or a high-powered blender.
You can use the powder as a garnish in salads, soups or stews or simply add a spoonful of it to your juice or smoothie recipe.
You can even use it to make an infusion by boiling 1 tablespoon of the powder in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes, then allowing it to sit for another 5 minutes before drinking.
The health and beauty benefits of avocado seeds are so numerous that you’ll have to think twice before throwing them away again.
Here are the top 10 surprising benefits of avocado seeds.
Avocado seeds have strong antioxidant properties. In fact, the seeds contain more than 70 percent of the antioxidants found in the entire fruit.
Antioxidants keep free radicals at bay, which in turn boosts your immune system and keeps you safe from bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
A 2004 study conducted at the National University of Singapore and published in Food Chemistry concludes that avocado seeds, among other fruit seeds like those in mangos, tamarinds and jack fruits, have an even greater level of antioxidant activity than the more commonly eaten parts of the fruits.
Include avocado seed powder in your smoothie or juice on a regular basis to strengthen your immune system and protect yourself during the cold and flu season.
It is a known fact that the pulp of avocados is a good source of monounsaturated fats that can help reduce high levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) and raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) levels.
The seeds also possess cholesterol-lowering properties. They contain nourishing oil, rich in antioxidants that have the ability to lower high cholesterol levels.
In addition, the seeds are one of the best sources of soluble fibre, which is good for overall heart health.
A 2008 study published in Current Atherosclerosis Reports highlights the positive effects of soluble dietary fibre on LDL cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
A 2013 study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design notes that avocado seeds are a good source of bioactive phytochemicals that may help lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as boost your immunity.
Avocado seeds also possess cancer-fighting properties. They contain flavonols, a class of flavonoids that include compounds like quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin, which work as powerful antioxidants to help prevent and reduce tumour growths.
Plus, the healthy fat in avocado seeds can wipe out leukemia stem cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed. In a 2013 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology, researchers found that extract from avocado fruit and seeds caused leukemia cells to self-destruct.
A 2015 study published in Cancer Research notes that avocatin B, a lipid derived from avocado fruit, is a novel compound with cytotoxic activity in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). It helps reduce primary AML cell viability without any effect on normal peripheral blood stem cells.
The antioxidant-rich seeds help burn fat to aid weight loss.
Their soluble fibre content lowers your appetite and provides you a feeling of fullness for several hours. This prevents you from eating calorie-rich snacks.
In addition, the pit contains calcium, magnesium and potassium that support overall health, fitness recovery and weight loss.
For weight loss, make a smoothie with ½ of an avocado seed (ground), 1 green apple, the juice of 1 lemon, ½ of a banana, ½ cup of spinach and 1 tablespoon of ginger.
The antioxidants like catechins and procyanidins in avocado seeds help reduce pain, swelling, and stiffness due to inflammation. Apart from having good antioxidant properties, the seeds are also rich in anti-inflammatory properties.
Thus, the seeds are beneficial for reducing inflammatory diseases within the body, which include acne, asthma, sinusitis, atherosclerosis, celiac disease, hay fever, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, interstitial cystitis, and even cancer.
People suffering from high blood pressure, or hypertension, should never throw away the pit after eating an avocado. Avocado seeds are very high in potassium, which is a good vasodilator. This nutrient helps relax the tension of blood vessels and arteries, thus lowering high blood pressure.
Potassium also lessens the effect of sodium, which in turn regulates blood pressure. A 2005 study published in Hypertension notes that increased intake of potassium-rich foods has the same lowering effect on blood pressure as potassium chloride.
When your blood pressure is at an optimum level, it indirectly reduces your risk of heart disease and strokes.