Avocados have become a staple for nutritious eating because of their healthy fats and potassium-rich insides. But it turns out, that’s not even the most nutritious part.
A recent study from the American Chemical Society says that we’ve been throwing away the healthiest part of the nutrient-dense fruit – the seed.
Researchers for this study have found that the seed husk – the delicate membrane outside of the avocado seed – contains chemical compounds that could be used to treat a number of debilitating diseases.
"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," says Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D. and researcher for the study. "Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products."
To reach this conclusion, researchers ground up about 300 dried avocado seed husks into 21 ounces of powder. The powder was then processed into oil and wax and analyzed. From the analysis, the research team found 116 chemical compounds in the oil and 16 in the wax.
Among the chemical compounds found in the oil, several appeared to be medicinal – such as behenyl alcohol, which is used in anti-viral medications, and heptacosane, which may inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
The wax yielded compounds that are found in several flexible plastic and synthetic materials, like shower curtains and certain medical devices.
The researchers presented their findings at the 254th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society and are hoping to be able to translate their discovery into creating better medications.
Until then, maybe think twice before throwing away that avocado pit.