In our grandparents’ generation, weight-conscious women were taught to stay away from avocados because of their high fat and calorie content. Now, these matcha-hued fruits are the darlings of the beautiful people who praise their high levels of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytosterols. But are these devotees throwing the best part of their miracle fruits into the compost each morning?
According to Jonathon Engels of One Green Planet, the healthiest part of the avocado is its seed, housing 70 percent of its total antioxidants. In addition to all the nutritional benefits of the fruit’s flesh, avocado seeds contain lots of fiber, which contributes to digestive health, as well as compounds which have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.
So how do you partake in the goodness without breaking a tooth? Either fresh or dried on the windowsill for a few days, cut the seed into quarters then grind it into a fine powder. Mix the powder into foods (think coffee smoothies, gazpacho or even green juice) to mask its bitter, tannic flavor.
There is such a thing as a bad seed, though, as certain ones contain dangerous organic compounds. For example, apple and plum seeds contain substances that the human body converts to cyanide, a potentially deadly substance. Apricot seeds are teeming with a poison called amygdalin and must be heated before it’s consumed.Avocado seeds aren’t the only ones worth saving. Watermelon seeds contain zinc, iron and protein. Cantaloupe seeds are a common snack in the Middle and Far East, which makes sense since they’re teeming with essential vitamins, minerals and good fats. Pumpkin seeds, a.k.a. pepitas, are relatively low in calories and a great source of magnesium and potassium. And kiwi seeds, though admittedly hard to avoid, are rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids.
Do you incorporate seeds into your diet? Will you?