- A new study has found that avocado seed extract could help reduce inflammation.
- The research is a promising development for future treatment of cancer, arthritis, colitis, cardiovascular disease, and more.
- It also offers hope for reducing food waste.
- However the researchers note that further research is needed, and it’s not recommended people start gnawing on avocado seeds.
Any millennial worth their organic sea salt flakes knows avocados are a great source of monounsaturated (AKA healthy) fats.
However a new study, published in the journal Advances In Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences, has found that the benefits of eating the brunch staple goes further than we thought, right to the very core of the fruit.
It turns out avocado seeds could be as good for us as the flesh.
Researchers from Penn State University have found that avocado seed extract could successfully be used to reduce inflammation caused by white blood cells.
While they’re not suggesting we start gnawing on the seeds as an addition to our avo toast, the researchers hope the extract could be added to food or pharmaceuticals in the future.
It’s hoped that the development could lead to progress in treating diseases such as cancer, arthritis, colitis, cardiovascular disease, and many more.
However further research is needed first, as previous studies have found that consuming avocado seeds in vast quantities could be toxic.
The Penn State researchers conducted their study in a lab, testing the extract on cells that stimulate the immune system and increase inflammation.
They grew a type of white blood cell called macrophages in petri dishes and then activated them with a pro-inflammatory molecule, either with or without the avocado seed extract.
The macrophages with the extract produced less inflammatory substances compared to those without.
“The level of activity that we see from the extract is very good,” said Joshua Lambert, co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health.
“We saw inhibitory activity at concentrations in the low microgram-per-milliliter range, which is an acceptable amount of activity to justify further studies.”
The study also signals positive change in terms of food waste, given currently most people simply throw avocado seeds – which make up 16-20% of the fruit’s weight – away.
“If we can return value to avocado growers or avocado processors, that would be a benefit,” he said. “And if we can reduce the amount of this material being dumped in landfills, that would be a good thing, given the huge amount of avocados that are consumed.
“This is encouraging because there is a market for other high-value sources of bioactive compounds we have tested in my lab, such as cocoa and green tea – whereas avocado seeds are essentially considered to be garbage.”
Eating avocado seeds isn’t unheard of – some food bloggers have been posting about how they consume them for a while. Most tend to rinse and dehydrate the stone, remove the outer skin, dice, and blitz in a blender before adding the powder to smoothies and baked goods.
But the study’s authors maintain further research is needed.
“The next step, before we can draw further conclusions about the anti-inflammatory activity of this avocado seed extract, will be to design animal model studies,” Lambert said.
“For example, we can look at a mouse model of ulcerative colitis where we formulate the avocado seed extract into the mice diet and look at whether it is able to reduce inflammation.”
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