You may be familiar with the latest food trend among the uber health-minded: eating avocado pit. What benefit does eating the avocado pit have on your health? What are the possible detriments, and is it a safe practice? Let's look into the studies that have sought to answer these questions.
History Behind the Pit
Pulverizing the avocado pit into a powder and adding it to foods is a practice that has been adopted from long-standing cultural traditions. Avocado pits and skins have been utilized for centuries in South American countries, where avocados grow natively and abundantly. There, the avocado pit has been used to treat digestive issues, such as dysentery and gastric ulcers, hypertension, inflammation, and diabetes.
Today, avocado pits and skins are readily used in dermatological products. The use of soaps containing avocado pit has even been found by researchers at Pennsylvania State University to have therapeutic effects for those with osteoarthritis.
While research on the avocado pit is in its early stages, the information found thus far is intriguing. The pits and skins of avocados are often a large source of food waste within households and processing centers. But ironically enough, the journal Antioxidants reported that they have larger amounts of bio active substances, such as polyphenols and other antioxidants, in comparison to the flesh of the fruit. It's these substances, in addition to fiber, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, that are responsible for the beneficial cardiovascular health effects the seeds may hold. It was also found that the avocado pit may help improve high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and inflammatory diseases like diabetes. These studies also found that the pits may have insecticidal, anti fungal, and antimicrobial effects.
The polyphenols found in avocado pits and skins have also been found to have intense free radical-fighting power. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules within the body that are responsible for illnesses, including Alzheimer's disease and cancer. Therefore, the consumption of the pits and skins could help to potentially prevent diseases, such as asthma, arthritis, and other conditions caused by inflammation.
The International Journal of Biological Macromolecules outlines other possible functional applications of the avocado pit. This study found that the starch from the avocado pit has potential as an alternative starch source in food products, acting as a binding and thickening agent. The article also deduced that this starch could have future applications as an active ingredient in pharmaceuticals and as a potential component to biodegradable food packaging products.
The Final Verdict
So what's the verdict on the avocado pit? Should you be eating it? Although you can see many potential benefits, the studies currently available regarding the avocado pit have one thing in common: More evidence is needed to deem them safe for human consumption. Because of that, eating the avocado pit is not recommended at this time, even by the California Avocado Commission, surprisingly enough.
Wonderful ways to safely enjoy the healthy benefits of this interesting pit is through homemade or store-bought skin and body products. The skins and pits can also be used to make all natural clothing dye and you can even use your leftover pit to start growing an avocado plant. Maybe, in time, it'll be verified as safe to use them in recipes at home, but for now the best practice is to abstain.