Here lies an avocado. The thing that makes the guacamole that you have to pay an arm and a leg for at Chipotle. The thing that appears in Instagrams everywhere and is beloved by basically everyone who isn't a crazy person.
If you've been on Instagram in the last hour, you've seen avocado toast. It's the new, simple, yet delicious trend sweeping through foodie circles everywhere. And even though it seems to cost and arm and a leg, too, everyone loves it.
The craze has gone so far that people are getting avocado tattoos in droves. If your love for avocados is so strong you want to ink it on your body for the rest of time, then more power to you. Even better if you've got a friend to share the obsession.
We tend to see the pit as the pesky part of the avocado. But if you're missing the husk of the pit, then you're actually missing a lot, according to a whole slew of new studies. Don't throw away that seed just yet.
It turns out we've been throwing a super ingredient into the trash. A recent study from the University of Texas Rio Grande found that the coating of the avocado seed contains compounds that are just as super as the fruit themselves. They discovered that they could be used to improve cancer treatment, heart disease, and a number of other conditions.
We already knew that avocados on their own are good for us. As we probably tell ourselves whenever we eat them, they contain the healthy fat - the monounsaturated kind. They're also choc-full of vitamins, like A, D, E and K.
The researches at the University ground almost 300 avocado seed husks into powder, and then used chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis to analyze the compounds. They found 116 compounds in the oil and 16 compounds in the wax, a large amount of which do not occur in the seeds or the avocados themselves. So yes - it might be good for you to eat that avocado sheath.
In the oil, they discovered behenyl alcohol, also called docosanol, which is a primary ingredient in many anti-viral medications. They also found heptacosane, which has been shown to inhibit tumor cell growth. Dodecanoic acid, another find, has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. And those are only a few of the constituent they discovered.
“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,” said Debasish Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D. His team will continue working on the research and modify the compounds to try to improve medicinal research.
In the U.S. alone, we eat nearly two million pounds of avocados per year. That adds up to a lot of waste from avocado seeds. "I thought maybe we could [effect] change by getting something useful from this waste,” explained Bandyopadhyay.
While it's true that the avocado husks are teeming with nutrients, don't go overboard. You can consume it in moderation, but experts say that the medicinal values should be left to the professionals. Continue making your avocado art as planned.
The rise in popularity of avocados not only led to this groundbreaking research, but also the tragedy known as avocado hand. Don't get too excited when cutting up your fruit. Some people have landed in the emergency room because of a slip of the knife.
Whatever way you slice it, avocados are here to stay and the obsession doesn't seem to be fading soon. Grab an avocado, some toast, get your Instagram ready, and get ready to enjoy. And hey, now they might even be able to save your life.