This is why people are eating avocado seeds now

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This is why people are eating avocado seeds now

Kitchen

This is why people are eating avocado seeds now

Humans are obsessed with avocados. We love eating them plain, and especially on toast. We love taking pictures of our avocados. We love making ice cream from them. We love pretending our avocados are other, more affordable vegetables in grocery store self-checkout kiosks. We read about them. Some of us write about them. We love shaming others for their avocado habits, and also refusing to live without them. If there’s something new to be done with avocados, we’re all over it.

So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise to learn that the latest trend in avocado culture has taken things all the way back to the basics. Having created nearly endless recipes, riffs, and abominations with the silky green fruit, people are now nursing their avocado addictions by just straight up eating the seed. Yes, the hard, brown, nut-like center. People are eating that now, too.

To actually ingest an avocado seed – sometimes alternatively called the pit – you first need to put in a little bit of work. After all, the seeds aren’t being gobbled down whole (just yet). Instead, the liberated seeds are dehydrated in the oven at a low temperature for about two hours. The brown, papery skin on the seed should peel right off once the seed is done baking. What you have left is a chestnut-like inner seed that should be soft enough to dice. If you give the chopped seed a few long pulses in a food processor, you finally arrive at something resembling a cross between whole-wheat flour and the sort of finely chopped nuts you might find on the edge of a Christmas cookie.

People are mixing this avocado seed crumble (Flour? Meal? Paste?) into smoothies, baked goods and granolas, along with Instagrammable foods like chia pudding and overnight oats. It’s an interesting reclamation of what had up until now been an otherwise unusable part of an in-demand piece of produce. And with avocado seeds making up between 30% and 40% of the total fruit, it’s a significant reclamation.

But why go through all the trouble of roasting, peeling, dicing and processing avocado seeds? What’s the allure? Well, the seeds are rich in fiber, and even have a bit of protein in them. But it’s the avocado seed’s phytochemicals that people are after. These naturally produced nutrients are powerful antioxidants, and possess natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that may help boost human immune systems. A study on the effect of avocado seed flour on mice also found a reduction in cholesterol levels among the animals who regularly ingested the seed. A second study, this one among rats, even suggested that avocado seeds might make an effective treatment for Diabetes.

Have we all been guilty of tossing the best part of the plant into the trash can for our entire lives? I wouldn’t go that far just yet. That’s because a third study found continual avocado seed ingestion to be toxic to lab animals. Not all seeds are meant to be eaten, after all. Peach, cherry, and apricot seeds, for example, contain cyanide. It would take a pretty large number of pits to actually take you out, but it’s still not a great idea to eat your way toward figuring out what that number is.

So are avocado seeds overlooked nutrition bombs or potentially toxic (fruit) waste? It depends who you ask. Try Googling whether or not they are safe to eat, and you come up with headlines as varied as “No, You Shouldn’t Start Eating Avocado Seeds,” “Why You Should Eat That Avocado Seed and How to Make it Tasty,”Please Don’t Eat Avocado Seeds” and Avocado Seeds Are Edible and Good for You – Fact or Fiction?” Even the experts are all over the place on this one. But whether you should eat them is almost besides the point, because people already are.

If you’re considering taking the plunge, you might want to ask your doctor or nutritionist if they think it’s a good idea for you to eat avocado seeds. Just be prepared for them in turn to ask you why you would want to do a thing like that.

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