Fiction or Nonfiction? Can You Eat an Avocado Pit?

By Samantha Black, PhD, ScienceBoard editor in chief

April 1, 2019 -- We all love avocados, on everything, right?! Let’s start a list of all the great things that make avocados a superfood: they are chocked full of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and healthy fat just to name a few. But these properties all refer to the avocado pulp. What about the avocado seed? That big black pit that we struggle to remove from the middle of the avocado… Turns out, this is a large source of waste in many households. So, can you eat this fruit? Yes, it seems that you can. To use the avocado pit, you must first dry the seed in the oven and then grind into a powder. But before you try it out on your own, here are some important facts that you might want to know about consuming avocado pits.

Things we like:

  • Potential antifungal, skin-regenerating, cholesterol-lowering properties (1)
  • Powerful source of antioxidants, containing over 70% of the whole fruit’s antioxidants (2)
  • May help patients with Alzheimer’s through anti-cholinesterase and antioxidant properties (3)
  • High fiber content to treat hypertension, inflammatory conditions and diabetes (4)

*New research from Penn State shows that avocado seed extracts have anti-inflammatory properties (5, 6). Researchers utilized cell culture techniques with key enzymes important in immune and inflammatory responses to determine the anti-inflammatory response of avocado pits. The compound methanoyl may be responsible for the anti-inflammatory response, however that has not been scientifically confirmed yet. Avocado pit extract may be used as a dietary component in the prevention of chronic diseases. Penn State researchers plan to soon move toward using animal models to test their hypothesis. The researchers have filed a patent for use of the product as a food colorant and are testing for safety before submitting a proposal for FDA approval of commercialization and production.

The flip side:

  • Limited clinical research on the effects of avocado pit extracts in humans. (7)
  • May contain amygdalin which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities (based on mouse models) (8)

While avocado pits have tons of beneficial health properties and reducing house waste is great, because of the reasons listed above, many suggest that avocado pit consumption should be minimal (7, 9). We might be better off leaving our hope in the heads of capable scientists to find innovative and important solutions using the avocado seed.

What do you think: after all this new information, would you still try to eat an avocado pit?

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