Just How Healthy Is the Avocado?

The avocado is ripe with flavor, obviously, but also many components beneficial to your health. Actually, you may be surprised to learn that the healthiest parts of the avocado most people just throw away.

Like all fruits, it is the meaty, fleshy part that you want to eat. Sure, some people eat apple peel but not banana peel, for example. We also throw out the seed(s), or the pit; and, according to a new study, that might be a huge mistake (at least, if you are trying to get the most nutrition for your buck).

Study co-author Debasish Bandyopadhyay, of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, explains, “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.”

This is a landmark study that has been presented at the American Chemical Society.

He goes on to say, “Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products.”

With that in mind, then, he reports that scientists theorize avocado seed husks could, in fact, be a “gold mine of medicinal compounds” which might actually help “treat a whole host of host of debilitating diseases.”

More importantly than what science is learning about the avocado, we should also consider that the world is simply going avocado crazy right now. According to the Hass Avocado Board, approximately 5 million tons of avocado are produced around the world every year. In the United States, alone, roughly 2 billion pounds are sold annually; but most people eat only the flesh and throw out the seed (and its husk).

In all, the student research team found that more than avocado husk oil and its wax—just the husk, alone—contains more than 130 different compounds. This includes the anti-viral agent docosanol (sold as a cold sore treatment under the brand name Abreva) as well as lauric acid (shown to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein, the “good cholesterol). Also, they found the anti-cancer molecule heptacosane which is not actually present in the meat of the fruit at all.

In addition to all of these health benefits, the team also found molecules that are helpful for consumer products. This includes Butylated hydroxytoluene, which is an anti-oxidant molecule that the food industry uses as a preservative. Also, Benzyl butyl phthalate, which is used in plastics like PVC to make them more flexible.

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