The avocado is now considered as a “gold mine of medicinal compounds”

New research found the existence of the many health benefits of avocados. People have eaten the smooth green part of the fruit more frequently each year, making chemists to gain more interest in its properties.

The latest study concluded that the husks of the avocado seed, which is not often eaten, can be used to treat several diseases, create cosmetics and other products.

According to research presented at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Washington, D.C. this week, the husk that covers the seed of the avocado has a lot of beneficial molecules that can help people with their diseases and innovate consumer products.

Image credit: Hungryforever.com
Image credit: Hungryforever.com

Americans are consuming around 2 billion pounds of avocados per year, according to the Hass Avocado Board, a trade group. In 2015, HAB’s sales were estimated at more than 95 percent of all avocados consumed in the United States, meaning a record of nearly 4.25 billion avocados. This is the double of the amount consumed in 2005, and almost four times as many sold in 2000. The demand is also growing within Europe and China.

“Avocados do contain fat, but it is mostly the monounsaturated kind [the good kind],” New York University’s Langone Medical Center said on its website. “No matter how you slice it, the avocado has plenty of health benefits.”

Chemists found molecules used to treat cholesterol and cold sores

Researchers already knew that the green part of the avocado has beneficial properties, besides the “good” fats and carbohydrates. The fruit contains vitamin A, C, B-6; calcium, iron, and magnesium. Its sales have grown within the American population, even in fast food chains – like Burger King, Au Bon Pain, Panera Bread Co., and others – have added the fruit to their menus and saw a rise in their profits.

To find the compounds, researchers grouped around 300 seeds of avocado and smashed them into a powder. It resulted in three teaspoons of seed husk oil and about an ounce of seed husk wax. Chemists ended calling them a “gold mine of medicinal compounds.”

Debasish Bandyopadhyay, a chemist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, found inside the husk of the avocado seeds more than 130 different compounds in the oil, and 16 molecules in the wax. Among them was docosanol, which is commonly known as Abreva – used to treat cold sores. It also has lauric acid, which is used to raise levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or the “good” cholesterol.

“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,” Bandyopadhyay, who also led the researcher, said in a statement. “Our results also suggest that the seed husks are a potential source of chemicals used in plastics and other industrial products.”

Source: Forbes

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