If you're like the rest of the avocado eaters of the world, you approach your avocado like so: Cut around the avocado lengthwise with a knife, then twist the two halves to separate them. In a slightly unsafe fashion, you aim your sharp knife for the seed, hacking away until you get a firm grip, and twist again to dislodge the seed. And then, you throw the seed away.
Well, according to scientists at the American Chemical Society, I've just thrown away the healthiest part of my avocado toast breakfast. Here's a hint: It's in the seed.
What I imagine began as a "dumpster dive" for avocado seeds, scientists gathered 200 dried avocados and pulverized the seeds down to a powder. After close examination, they discovered the avocado seed husk carries a "gold mine of medicinal compounds" capable of treating "a whole host of debilitating diseases."
Dr. Debasish Bandyopadhyay, from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, explains "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."
Researchers found dodecanoic acid in the husk powder, said to increase high-density lipoprotein (known as HDL), which in turn can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis. Docosanol, a crucial component in antiviral medications and treatment for cold sores and blisters, was also found in the husks. Dr. Bandyopadhyay and his colleagues hope to modify these compounds to develop medications with fewer side-effects.
"Diving for treasure" really takes on a whole new meaning with this discovery. The discarded avocado seed from breakfast is not trash, it's a nutrient-packed, heart-protecting gold mine. But, you need not dip your hands into the trash to fetch this valuable stone seed. At least, not yet.
In light of the research findings, experts believe this could one day lead to a new wave of supplements containing the healthy compounds contained in avocado husks. For now, the jury is still out on the safety of consuming raw avocado husk powder.