Health Benefits Of Avocado Seed
Add dried avocado seed powder to your smoothie. It can lower your BP and lipid levels, control diabetes, and shield your pancreatic, kidney, and liver tissues, thanks to its antioxidants like tocopherol and glucose-regulating flavonoids and minerals. But get the dose right. Apply it on your skin to cure a fungal infection. Or use as a sunscreen. Its polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols reduce the risk of UV-induced skin cancer.
Avocado has long been celebrated as a superfood, thanks to its proven effects against many ailments like diabetes and cardiovascular and liver diseases.1
Bury, Throw, Or Eat: What To Do With The Avocado Seed?
But after you have devoured the soft, buttery avocado pulp, what do you do with the seed? Although a few industrious avocado fans try burying the seed in their gardens hoping for an avocado plant to sprout out, most people throw it out.
But would you throw it out if you knew that the seed also contains all the nutrients that lend the fruit’s pulp its superfood status?
According to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, avocado seeds showed high antioxidant activity and phenolic content. The phenols are beneficial plant chemicals that control a number of enzymes. The seeds were deemed safe for consumption.2
Here are a few more reasons you shouldn’t throw out that avocado pit just yet.
This Is How The Seed Helps You
It Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Avocado, as a fruit, is highly regarded for its “good fat” content. Unlike other fruits, it contains large amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids, which is what keeps your cholesterol levels from rising even after eating such a fatty fruit.
A study published in the World Journal of Dairy and Food Sciences finds that the avocado seed has more effect in lowering the lipid profiles in blood and liver than the fruit pulp itself.3
And this cholesterol-lowering effect of the seeds can be attributed to their beta-sitosterol and tocopherol content, says another study conducted by Nigeria’s University of Benin.4
Beta-sitosterol is a natural plant sterol (steroid alcohol) that helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels by interfering with cholesterol absorption into the blood.
Tocopherols are natural antioxidants that mop up free radicals that cause excessive oxidation of the low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), commonly known as the “bad cholesterol.” Oxidized LDLs deposit in the arteries as plaque and raise the risk of atherosclerosis (fat buildup in the arteries).
Though conducted on rodents, the first study recommends the consumption of avocado seed as it has strong antioxidant activity, which lowers the lipid profile and thus provides protection from cardiovascular diseases and has beneficial effects on atherosclerosis.
It Can Lower Blood Pressure
For long, studies and anecdotal experiences have linked hypertension to high LDL levels, low HDL (high-density lipoprotein, commonly known as the “good cholesterol”) levels, or diabetes-induced obesity. With this background, a study found that avocado seed extract reduced blood pressure at all dose levels in rodents.
Though the study recommended adapting the findings to the human body, it warned that the use of avocado seed should be dose dependent as using too much of this herbal drug can be counterproductive. This is because high concentration of the avocado seed can cause hypothyroidism, which in turn increases the cholesterol levels.5
It Has Anti-Diabetic Effects
The extract of avocado seeds has been found to contain elements like calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, zinc, and chromium, all of which play key roles in managing diabetes, says a study.6 These elements regulate key enzymes involved in the formation of glucose and enhances the utilization of existing glucose in the body.
The study also found that the seed contains other hypoglycemic or glucose-lowering agents like flavonoids, saponins, steroids, tannins, and alkaloids and suggested that the seed extract should be taken orally for a prolonged period of time to manage diabetes.
These findings were further supported by a 2013 study conducted at School Of Medical Sciences at Malaysia’s Sains University, which showed the diabetes-managing effects of a hot-water extract of avocado seeds, adding that it also has a protective effect on liver, pancreatic, and kidney tissues.7
It Treats Fungal Infections
Historical research reviews have found that avocado seed extracts have been used in its countries of origin as a treatment for parasitic and fungal infections. A study found that these antifungal properties of the seed arose from the presence of various natural substances like phytosterols, triterpenes, fatty acids, furanoic acids, and flavonol dimers.8
A 2009 African study, too, had similar findings about the seed extracts’ antifungal and antimicrobial properties and attributed this to the presence of phytochemicals or plant chemicals. It also recommended the use of the seed extracts for therapeutic purposes.9
It Keeps Skin Diseases Away
The extracts from avocado seed have also been found to reverse or manage the skin damage and inflammation caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Its unique lipid molecules and polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFA) are responsible for stopping a condition that could lead to skin cancer by DNA damage.10
As far back as 1989, the United States had patented an oil-based composition made from grated avocado seed and treated with sulfur, castor oil, cod liver oil, peppermint spirit, orange water, and camphor, for the treatment of dry scalp and dry skin conditions. The mixture was to be applied on the affected area for a substantial period of time and then shampooed or washed off for best results.11
And This Is How You Use It
The Internet is filled with demonstrative videos on how to use avocado seeds and lists out many recipes and DIY beauty products you could use this wonder seed in. Here are a few ways to use it.
- Dry it or dehydrate it in the microwave oven and grind it into a powder. Mix it into smoothies or use as garnish for salads.
- Dry it and grind it and mix with mashed banana, avocado pulp, and olive oil to make a quick DIY face-exfoliating mask.
- Put chunks of the seed in a tea infuser and pour boiling water over it. To get through the bitter taste of the seed, add honey or other natural sweeteners.
- Boil grated avocado seed in water. Let it cool. Strain it and mix it to a small portion of your regular shampoo for soft, thick hair.
No, It’s Not Toxic
While there has been a hue and cry recently regarding the apparent toxicity of the avocado seed that makes it poisonous to eat, a study published in The Scientific World Journal rules out these concerns.12 Although the seed contains traces of isolated toxic compounds, the amount present is too low to cause any genetic damage. The study said that the seed and its extracts appear safe for use in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical material.
So, go on and incorporate this seed in your diet and beauty kit, but take care not to overdo it and reverse its many beneficial effects.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Carvajal-Zarrabal, Octavio, Cirilo Nolasco-Hipolito, M. Guadalupe Aguilar-Uscanga, Guadalupe Melo-Santiesteban, Patricia M. Hayward-Jones, and Dulce M. Barradas-Dermitz. “Avocado oil supplementation modifies cardiovascular risk profile markers in a rat model of sucrose-induced metabolic changes.” Disease markers 2014 (2014).|
|2.||↑||Kosińska, Agnieszka, Magdalena Karamać, Isabel Estrella, Teresa Hernández, Begoña Bartolomé, and Gary A. Dykes. “Phenolic compound profiles and antioxidant capacity of Persea americana Mill. peels and seeds of two varieties.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 60, no. 18 (2012): 4613-4619.|
|3.||↑||Shehata, M. M. S. M., and Sahar SA Soltan. “Effects of Bioactive Component of Kiwi Fruit and Avocado (Fruit and Seed) on Hypercholesterolemic Rats.” World Journal of Dairy & Food Sciences 8, no. 1 (2013): 82-93.|
|4, 5.||↑||Imafidon, K. E., and F. C. Amaechina. “Effects of aqueous seed extract of Persea americana Mill.(avocado) on blood pressure and lipid profile in hypertensive rats.” Adv Biol Res 4, no. 2 (2010): 116-121.|
|6.||↑||Alhassan, A. J., M. S. Sule, M. K. Atiku, A. M. Wudil, H. Abubakar, and S. A. Mohammed. “Effects of aqueous avocado pear (Persea americana) seed extract on alloxan induced diabetes rats.” Greener Journal of Medical Sciences 2, no. 1 (2012): 5-11.|
|7.||↑||Ezejiofor, Anthonet Ndidi, Abednego Okorie, and Orish Ebere Orisakwe. “Hypoglycaemic and tissue-protective effects of the aqueous extract of Persea americana seeds on alloxan-induced albino rats.” (2013).|
|8.||↑||Leite, João Jaime Giffoni, Érika Helena Salles Brito, Rossana Aguiar Cordeiro, Raimunda Sâmia Nogueira Brilhante, José Júlio Costa Sidrim, Luciana Medeiros Bertini, Selene Maia de Morais, and Marcos Fábio Gadelha Rocha. “Chemical composition, toxicity and larvicidal and antifungal activities of Persea americana (avocado) seed extracts.” Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical 42, no. 2 (2009): 110-113.|
|9.||↑||Idris, S., G. Ndukwe, and C. Gimba. “Preliminary phytochemical screening and antimicrobial activity of seed extracts of Persea americana (avocado pear).” Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences 2, no. 1 (2009): 173-176.|
|10.||↑||Rosenblat, Gennady, Shai Meretski, Joseph Segal, Mark Tarshis, Avi Schroeder, Alexandra Zanin-Zhorov, Gilead Lion, Arieh Ingber, and Malka Hochberg. “Polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols derived from avocado suppress inflammatory response and provide non-sunscreen protection against UV-induced damage in skin cells.” Archives of dermatological research 303, no. 4 (2011): 239-246.|
|11.||↑||Ruiseco, Mario G. “Oil based scalp treatment composition.” U.S. Patent 4,849,214, issued July 18, 1989.|
|12.||↑||Padilla-Camberos, Eduardo, Moisés Martínez-Velázquez, José Miguel Flores-Fernández, and Socorro Villanueva-Rodríguez. “Acute toxicity and genotoxic activity of avocado seed extract (Persea americana Mill., cv Hass).” The Scientific World Journal 2013 (2013).|