It turns out you've probably been missing out on the best part of avocados.

According to the Daily Mail researchers have found an extract in avocado pips can assist with reducing inflammation that's caused by white blood cells.

The team at Penn State University says the study has found it could be used as a food ingredient or alternatively turned into a pharmaceutical drug.

However, experts have made it clear that this research is in its early stages and previous findings show it could be toxic if consumed it in large amounts.


The benefits of eating the fruit have been widely spread, such as being high in healthy fats, as well as other nutrients including vitamin K, folate and potassium.

Studies have also shown avocados can raise levels of "good" cholesterol, assist with nutrient absorption from foods and promote weight loss. The numerous benefits have led to avos earning the label "superfood".

The creamy green flesh is now a common meal feature, an extra on restaurant menus and some even treat it as a meal on its own. But in all settings, the skin and seeds are typically discarded.

Prior research

Penn State conducted a study in 2013 that discovered Aztecs and Mayans would eat the seeds to treat a range of diseases. By boiling it or heating it, they'd consume it to assist with diabetes, gastrointestinal problems and parasitic infections.

And a Nigerian study from 2009 found that historically Nigerians would use the stone to help manage high blood pressure.

Yet, other research suggests the stone could be harmful.

A 2013 study in Mexico proved that high quantities of the extract could be harmful for mice, however didn't appear to cause genetic harm.


Before that, a 1988 study in Israel showed that avocado seed oil increased the level of fat build-up in the livers of rats.

For the last 10 years the Penn State research team have had the same extract in development to be used as food colouring, which is pending with a patent office before proceeding.

In petri dishes the researchers grew macrophages, a specific white blood cell that stimulates the immune system and increases inflammation.

The cells were triggered with a pro-inflammatory molecule with and without the presence of the avocado stone extract.

The test when the pit was present showed inflammation was suppressed, opposed to when it was not.

"The level of activity that we see from the extract is very good," co-author Dr Joshua Lambert, associate professor of food science at Penn State, said, according to the Daily Mail.


"We saw inhibitory activity at concentrations in the low microgram-per-millilitre range, which is an acceptable amount of activity to justify further studies."

Dr Lambert says several serious illnesses - such as arthritis, cancer, colitis and heart disease - are all serious forms of inflammation.

"The next step, before we can draw further conclusions about the anti-inflammatory activity of this avocado seed extract, will be to design animal model studies," Dr Lambert explained.

"For example, we can look at a mouse model of ulcerative colitis where we formulate the avocado seed extract into the mice diet and look at whether it is able to reduce inflammation."

The Daily Mail also reports Lambert explains the seed could be beneficial in more ways than one, and on a much larger scale.

"If we can reduce the amount of this material being dumped in landfills, that would be a good thing, given the huge amount of avocados that are consumed," he shared.


The California Avocado Commission have said they do not recommend anyone eats the seed, however most studies refer to consuming extracts, rather than the seed as a whole.

"The fact is there is not enough research to support consuming an avocado seed," said the commission. "The purported health benefits and risks of avocado seed intake are poorly characterised."

New York Nutritionist Lara Metz agrees with the commission.

"There are some who do eat the pit because they have heard of possible health benefits or do not want to waste it," she told the Daily Mail.

"[But] some research suggests the pit may have some toxins in it. My takeaway, stick to the delicious and highly nutritious green flesh!"