Avocados are a good source of healthy fats. The seed forms about 16% of the total weight of the fruit. Making any seed a part of our diet is beneficial if it has medicinal properties. However, many people believe avocado seeds are poisonous. So, are avocado seeds edible, or are avocado seeds poisonous?
Avocado seeds are not poisonous unless consumed in large quantities. Avocado seeds contain a toxic compound called persin. Consuming the seeds in excess amounts may be harmful.
Studies carried out to find the medicinal properties of avocado seeds make use of the dried seeds.
Are Avocado Seeds Poisonous or Not?
So, are avocado pits poisonous? With a number of queries flashing on this topic, you may think, is it safe to eat avocado seed? Read on to find it out yourself:
Avocado Seeds Aren’t Harmful to Humans If Eaten in Small Quantities
Avocado seed contains persin, which is a toxic compound present in small quantities in avocado seeds. Is persin toxic to humans? The amount of persin present in avocado seeds doesn’t make it harmful to humans.
So, are avocado seeds poisonous? No, they aren’t poisonous, if you limit the intake. The seeds also contain some amounts of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogenic glycosides.
Both the compounds from the avocado pit can produce hydrogen cyanide, which is toxic. The human body can detoxify small quantities of these compounds. A single avocado seed will not result in cyanide poisoning in adults.
In fact, persin is beneficial to humans. Persin may cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) of breast cancer cells. Persin also enhances the cytotoxic, or cell-killing, effects of tamoxifen, which is a cancer drug.
Avocado Seeds Are Toxic to Livestock
Persin is present in the bark and leaves of avocado plants and soluble in oil. It is a fungicidal toxin, which is harmful for livestock. Animals can suffer from diarrhea or vomiting on consuming the leaves or bark.
Not Recommended for People with Latex Allergy
Avocado seeds aren’t recommended for people with latex allergy. The seeds contain high amounts of trypsin inhibitors, tannins, and polyphenols, which act as antinutrients. They decrease the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
How to Eat Avocado Seeds
The surface of the avocado pit is hard and leathery. It has to be cracked and peeled off. Within the pit lies the softer part. The pit has to be discarded. Avocado seeds are bitter and should be mixed with strong flavors.
You can dry out and pulverize the avocado seeds in a food processor. Put the seeds in the oven set at 250°F for two hours. Peel the skin and dice the seed. Put it in a blender and grind it to a powder. This powder can be added to recipes.
You can put the powder into an empty capsule shell and take it as a supplement. Here are a couple of ways to consume the bitter but nutritious avacado powder:
1. Make a Smoothie
You can add powdered avocado seeds to a smoothie. To make the smoothie, blend together two apples, half banana, a peeled lemon, half-cup of spinach, ginger to taste, and half of the ground avocado seed.
2. Brew a Tea
Add large chunks of chopped avocado pits to a tea infuser. Put the infuser to a mug and then pour boiling water over it. Add any sweetener of choice like honey and enjoy the avocado seed tea.
Avocado Seeds Can Be Beneficial
In humans, avocado seeds help slow down aging, may be helpful in preventing cancer, and lower your blood sugar. It may also lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, and help with weight loss.
In a study conducted by researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, it was found that avocado seeds contain 218% more overall antioxidant than the meat. They can help slow down the oxidation of body cells and protect the cells from free radical damage.
A study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design states that avocado seeds may help treat hypertension, inflammatory conditions, and diabetes. The seeds are a rich source of phenolic compounds and may also help improve hypercholesterolemia.
Final Word on Whether Avacado Seeds Are Edible
So, are avocado seeds poisonous? By now, you know they are not poisonous for humans if consumed in small quantities. In fact, they offer many health benefits. You can add them to your diet in simple ways.
However, to decide on the quantity and rule out latex allergy, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before making them a part of your diet. Also, even if these seeds are touted to help in cancer treatment, they should be consumed along with a proper cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, and upon consultation with your doctor.
“Avocado (Persea americana) seed as a source of bioactive phytochemicals.,” NCBI web site;
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23448442, last accessed May 29, 2017.
“Acute Toxicity and Genotoxic Activity of Avocado Seed Extract (Persea americana Mill., c.v. Hass)”, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835709/, last accessed May 30, 2017