Which is the healthiest part of an avocado? You might be surprised
Just when we thought avocados couldn’t get any healthier, experts have found that we’ve been throwing away the most nutritious part all along.
Our favourite fruit to put on toast (and Instagram), in salads, smoothies – everything really, is packed with more potassium than bananas, monounsaturated fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants and a vast range of vitamins.
Now new research suggests we might be missing out of the healthiest part – the seed husk (the coating around the stone).
Scientists found avocado seed husks could be a “gold mine of medicinal compounds” and potentially help “treat a whole host of host of debilitating diseases”, in a first of its kind study presented at a meeting for the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.
Dr Debasish Bandyopadhyay, from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, says: “It could very well be that avocado seed husks, which most people consider as the waste of wastes, are actually the gem of gems because the medicinal compounds within them could eventually be used to treat cancer, heart disease and other conditions. Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products.”
Nearly five million tons of avocados are produced worldwide annually, according to the Hass Avocado Board, but in most cases the seed and its husk is thrown away.
When the researchers ground 200 dried avocado seed husks, they found it contained ingredients used in anti-viral medications, which could inhibit the growth of tumour cells, and dodecanoic acid, which can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (the build-up of fatty material inside arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes).
Now we’re not suggesting you chomp down on the avocado seed at home, but in the future, manufacturers may find ways to use this extra-healthy part of the fruit. The seed husk could be ground down into a powder or used to make an oil, so that we might eventually make use of the medical benefits, rather than lobbing them in the bin.