Study Says Avocados Could Be Key to Fighting Inflammation

Avocados have been a favorite healthy food of ours for years now, but they are so much more than an Instagram-worthy toast topping. The famous fruit is an excellent source of heart-healthy fats, and is also chock-full of fiber, potassium, and B vitamins.

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Avocado consumption is linked to better vitamin and mineral absorption, improved heart health, and even longevity. But it turns out, we’ve been throwing away potentially the most health-boosting part of an avocado all along.

A new study, published in Advances in Food Technology and Nutritional Sciences, discovered avocado seeds—yes, the giant, sometimes injury-causing pits—possess some major anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers from Penn State University discovered avocado seeds could be a beneficial anti-inflammatory ingredient for functional foods and pharmaceuticals, while reducing food waste in the process.

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To determine the potency of the anti-inflammatory properties of avocado seeds, researchers began by growing enzymes and cell cultures responsible for immunity response and inflammatory diseases in petri dishes. Some petri dishes were left to fend for themselves, while avocado seed extract was added to others.

The avocado extract was found to reduce the production of inflammatory compounds and improved immunity response. The authors of this study noted with more testing, avocado seed extract could become a safe replacement for commonly used anti-inflammatory medications, such as NSAIDS and steroids, which have shown negative side effects in some users.

Joshua Lambert PhD, one of the lead researchers in the study, said in a press release this discovery could make a huge impact because chronic inflammation is linked to some of the most prevalent diseases in our country. Chronic inflammation is related to cancer, heart disease, and many other serious conditions, which affect more than 60 percent of Americans and are some of the leading causes of death in our country.  

The authors of this study have applied for a patent for this avocado seed extract compound, and their work was funded by the USDA. While it may be quite some time before we will start seeing avocado seeds pop up in functional foods and medications, we will still happily enjoy our avocados along with the dozens of other delicious anti-inflammatory foods out there.

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