Avocado seed husks loaded with medicinal compounds could be used to treat cancer and heart disease
(NaturalHealth365) The avocado is a true superfood – featuring a creamy, buttery-tasting pulp that is packed with healthy nutrients and precious phytochemicals. The large central seed, as well, are a source of beneficial oil. However, the husks surrounding the seed is considered “waste,” and routinely discarded.
But, this may soon be changing, with recent research suggesting that the seemingly-worthless husks may contain lifesaving compounds. Let’s take a closer look at how avocado “trash” may soon be mined for medicinal “treasures.”
Study reveals: Avocado seed husks have important medicinal compounds
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and presented (recently) at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC, avocado seed husks may contain powerful medical compounds – as well as chemicals that could be used for industrial products.
The research team used gas chromatography to identify 116 compounds in avocado seed husk oil, along with 16 more constituents in a wax produced from the oil. Interestingly, many of these compounds were exclusive only to the husks – and were not found in avocado pulp, peel or seed.
Because of their valuable content, lead researcher Dr. Debasish Bandyopadhyaya maintains that the paper-thin, grayish-brown avocado seed husks are not the “trash of trash” but are (in reality) the “gem of gems.”
Avocado seed husks yield antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anticancer compounds
The researchers found that the husks contained behenyl alcohol, or docosanol – a primary ingredient in antiviral medications. Research has shown that docosanol-treated cells resist infection by a variety of lipid-encased viruses, including the herpes virus and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. (RSV is a common virus which causes cold-like symptoms – and can be a serious problem for infants).
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In addition, the team identified dodecanoic acid, also known as lauric acid – a saturated fatty acid found in coconut and palm oils. Studies have shown that lauric acid increases beneficial HDL, thereby cutting the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Lauric acid also has proven anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, and can significantly inhibit pathogens such as H. pylori, S. aureus, C. albicans and S. mutans – the primary causal agent in tooth decay.
A study published in Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that dodecanoic acid outperformed benzoyl peroxide, a pharmaceutical medication, in decreasing levels of pathogens that promote inflammation and exacerbate acne.
Finally, the seed husks were found to contain heptacosane, a hydrocarbon also found in beeswax. Researchers believe that heptacosane can inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
From the wax, the researchers also identified benzyl butyl phthalate – a plasticizer – and butylated hydroxytoluene, or BHT, commonly used as a food additive.
Avocados help prevent obesity and chronic diseases
Avocados, a rich source of healthy monounsaturated fat, help to lower the risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Extensive studies have shown that consuming avocados helps improve lipid profiles, increases beneficial HDL and lowers harmful LDL.
Oddly enough, avocados have earned the false reputation as a “fattening” food. But, the fact is: with a modest 230 calories apiece, avocados can actually help promote weight loss.
The healthy levels of fatty acids and dietary fiber in avocados can impart a feeling of satiety, or fullness – which can help those people wanting to avoid “binge-eating.”
(Note: Avocados also feature more protein and less sugar than any other fruit on the planet – another reason they are a good bet for healthy weight control.)
Avocados are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals
Let’s not forget: avocados contain an all-star roster of beneficial nutrients – including B-vitamins, vitamin K and the immune system-boosting antioxidants, vitamin C and E.
With twice as much potassium as bananas, avocados help to stabilize blood pressure, while lowering the risk of blood clots. They also help to improve levels of glutathione, the body’s premier disease-fighting antioxidant.
Avocados are also an excellent source of lutein – a beneficial carotenoid which helps to prevent age-related macular degeneration – and of folate, a B-vitamin that can help prevent neural tube defects and possibly strokes.
And, their high levels of beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol give them anti-inflammatory properties as well.
According to the Hass Avocado Board, Americans currently eat 1.9 billion pounds of avocados a year – certainly a step in the right direction when it comes to nutrition and disease prevention. Now, new research has shown a spotlight on the possibility of realizing even more benefits from this amazing food – and turning a waste product into medicines.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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