If you can't tolerate bananas or peaches, it's best to steer clear of avocado seeds. No. Others were skeptical, concerned the seeds are actually toxic. Peel away the skin and then grind the seed in a spice mill or food processor. Avocado contains a toxin called persin, but only certain species of animals are poisoned by persin. However, the human body can detoxify small amounts of the compounds, so there's no risk of cyanide poisoning to an adult person from eating a single seed. However, to decide on the quantity and rule out latex allergy, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before making them a part of your diet. Cats and dogs may become slightly ill from eating avocado flesh or seeds. Cats and dogs show slight signs of illness after eating large amounts of avocado flesh and peels, and eating the pits can cause gastric obstruction. The softened seeds can be pureed in a blender. So, are avocado seeds poisonous? The seed forms about 16% of the total weight of the fruit. Avocados are a good source of antioxidants that help fight free radical damage. The researchers claimed this was the first study to evaluate the seed in that regard. There is a slight amount of persin, a fungicidal toxin similar to a fatty acid, in avocado pits, and the skin, bark, and leaves of the avocado tree. Persin is an oil-soluble compound found in the leaves and bark of the avocado plant as well as the pits. 10. Persin may cause apoptosis (programmed cell death) of breast cancer cells. Avocado seed water may be added to coffee or tea or to a smoothie, much like avocado seed powder. Avocado seeds are not poisonous unless consumed in large quantities. Even the California Avocado Commission writes on its website that it does not recommend the consumption of the avocado pit: "The seed of an avocado contains elements that … Add any sweetener of choice like honey and enjoy the avocado seed tea. However, real scientific research around this topic is still amiss. There are so many nutritional benefits to consuming the seed! However, the seeds have been found to contain more than 70% of the antioxidant content in each avocado, making it an excellent … You can grate it by hand, too. Actually, the myth that avocado seeds are poisonous comes from a fact that avocado flesh, as well as avocado bark and leaves, are toxic to some animals, including dogs, cats, birds and horses. Put the infuser to a mug and then pour boiling water over it. What exactly is known about the usefulness and safety of avocado seeds? "A novel plant toxin, persin, within vivo activity in the mammary gland, induces Bim-dependent apoptosis in human breast cancer cells". The one known poison in avocados is something called “persin.” Persin is a natural antifungal compound that can be produced within the avocado plant. The amount of persin present in avocado seeds doesn’t make it harmful to humans. The surface of the avocado pit is hard and leathery. In addition to persin and tannin, avocado seeds also contain small quantities of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogenic glycosides, which can produce toxic hydrogen cyanide. Within the pit lies the softer part. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. Another way to use avocado seeds is for "avocado seed water". Cause Mouth Allergy. "Synergistic cytotoxicity between tamoxifen and the plant toxin persin in human breast cancer cells is dependent on Bim expression and mediated by modulation of ceramide metabolism". The levels of persin vary between the different types of avocados other external factors. Among its many bioactive compounds, avocado seeds contain a compound called persin. To make avocado seed powder, remove the pit from the fruit, place it on a baking sheet, and cook it in a preheated oven at 250 F for 1.5 to 2 hours. Apricot Seeds: Nutrition, Benefits & Role in Cancer Treatment, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23448442, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3835709/, Figs: Nutrition Facts, Health Benefits, and How to Eat Them, Healthy Christmas Cookies: 5 Christmas Cookie Recipes, What Is Cherimoya? Avocado seeds are bitter and should be mixed with strong flavors. Avocados are a great part of a healthy diet, but what about their seeds or pits? So, are avocado pits poisonous? Persin is a fungicidal toxin present in the avocado. 5 (9): 2300–9.Roberts CG, Gurisik E, Biden TJ, Sutherland RL, Butt AJ (October 2007). Are Avocado trees poisonous to pets? The seeds are a rich source of phenolic compounds and may also help improve hypercholesterolemia. But there is only a very small amount, meaning that the avocado seed is not really poisonous to humans, unless eaten in massive quantities. Avocado leaves and seeds are harmful when ingested in large quantities, but as of 2014, few cases of toxicity have been reported. Stop grinding the avocado seed into smoothies, regardless of what social media says. If avocado is consumed in adequate amounts then it may cause mouth allergy like itching sensation in the mouth and swelling tongue. Cancer Ther. Mol Cancer Ther. However, the compound is soluble in oil rather than water, so further research is needed to see whether an extract of the seed can be made into a useful form. Is Eating Apple Seeds or Cherry Pits Safe? Animals can suffer from diarrhea or vomiting on consuming the leaves or bark. … Avocado seeds aren’t recommended for people with latex allergy. Is persin toxic to humans? Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. It is a fungicidal toxin, which is harmful for livestock. Persin may cause apoptosis of some types of breast cancer cells, plus it enhances the cytotoxic effects of the cancer drug tamoxifen. If you decide to go ahead and try avocado seeds, one of the most popular ways to prepare them is to make a powder. In a study conducted by researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, it was found that avocado seeds contain 218% more overall antioxidant than the meat. Persin is an oil-soluble compound structurally similar to a fatty acid, and it leaches into the body of the fruit from the seeds.. The Guatemalan varieties of avocado have been most commonly associated with toxicosis. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Due to the specific taste, easiness to use, and health benefits, the avocado is a commonly used fruit in many households. In a 2013 study published in the Scientific World Journal , researchers concluded that avocado seed extract was safe and it did not show any toxicity. It is present in the leaves, skin, seeds and fruit of the avocado. While the amount of persin in an avocado pit isn't enough to harm a human, avocado plants and pits can harm pets and livestock. Ingestion of fruit, leaves, stems, and seeds of avocado has been associated with toxicosis in animals; leaves are the most toxic part. The answer is yes and no, but mostly no. 9. Persin also enhances the cytotoxic, or cell-killing, effects of tamoxifen, which is a cancer drug. Free … Because the pits are so fibrous, they also pose a risk of gastric obstruction. Let us discuss that in detail below. The answer is, once again, yes, it’s safe. The active principle is believed to be persin but its mechanism of action has not been fully elucidated. “Avocado (Persea americana) seed as a source of bioactive phytochemicals.,” NCBI web site; The avocado seeds are also effective in fighting bad cholesterol. Avocado leaves, bark, fruit and seeds are toxic to some animals. Put it in a blender and grind it to a powder. Avocado pits (and other parts of the tree, like leaves and bark) can be poisonous to pets, but generally not to humans unless they are allergic. The Domestication of Sesame Seed - Ancient Gift from Harappa, Avocado History - Domestication and Spread of Avocado Fruit, The Myth About Learning How to Make Ricin from the Internet, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. 6 (10). So, are avocado seeds poisonous? In large quantities, avocado seeds can make your stomach hurt. Avocado Seeds Are Edible and Good for You – Fact or Fiction? Here are a couple of ways to consume the bitter but nutritious avacado powder: You can add powdered avocado seeds to a smoothie. Copyright © 2020 - FoodsForBetterHealth. To make this, mash 1-2 avocado seeds and soak them in water overnight. Both the compounds from the avocado pit can produce hydrogen cyanide, which is toxic. This powder can be added to recipes. There are also concerns that avocado seed oil may cause harm, as it has been shown to increase enzymes and fat build-up in the livers of rats ( 17, 18 ). Avocado seeds contain a toxic compound called persin. A study published in Current Pharmaceutical Design states that avocado seeds may help treat hypertension, inflammatory conditions, and diabetes. All rights reserved. Although the fruit is so delicious for humans to eat, it’s best to stay on the safer side and keep avocados away from your furry animals. We haven’t found any mention of avocado seeds for cancer in folk medicine literature, but a 2013 study found that ethanol extracts of the avocado fruit and seed could induce death (apoptosis) in cells affected by leukemia or blood cancer. That may be why research shows avocado seeds can lower cholesterol . To make the smoothie, blend together two apples, half banana, a peeled lemon, half-cup of spinach, ginger to taste, and half of the ground avocado seed. Making any seed a part of our diet is beneficial if it has medicinal properties. While it's true there are many healthful compounds in the seeds, including soluble fiber, vitamins E and C, and the mineral phosphorus, the consensus is more research is needed to determine whether the benefits of eating them outweigh the risks. So, are avocado seeds edible, or are avocado seeds poisonous? Peel the skin and dice the seed. Sources: Avocado leaves contain a toxic fatty acid derivative, persin, which in sufficient quantity can cause colic in horses and without veterinary treatment, death. The human body can detoxify small quantities of these compounds. Consuming the seeds in excess amounts may be harmful. Put the seeds in the oven set at 250°F for two hours. Do you throw out the seed of an avocado after cutting it open? There are certain types of avocado that are known to be poisonous due to the amount of persin in the avocado leaves, seeds, bark, and fruit. With a number of queries flashing on this topic, you may think, is it safe to eat avocado seed? You can add them to your diet in simple ways. Discussion. As said before, there is insufficient scientific evidence available to make a clear statement whether an a… Also, even if these seeds are touted to help in cancer treatment, they should be consumed along with a proper cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, and upon consultation with your doctor. A mouse study in Scientific World Journal in 2013, for instance, found that high doses of avocado seed extract were toxic to the animals but didn’t cause genetic damage. The avocado fruit is poisonous to some birds, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists it as toxic to horses. Avocado pits are especially toxic to horses, cattle, goats and birds. At this point, the skin of the seed will be dry. Avocado seeds make up more than 18% of the deliciously creamy avocado fruit and are often tossed aside habitually. Studies have been conducted that show that avocado is not highly toxic to dogs; however, if a dog were to ingest the seed of an avocado, it could cause illness. No, they aren’t poisonous, if you limit the intake. The avocado (P. americana) is consumed by humans because of its organoleptic characteristics; furthermore, the pulp contains up to 33% oil, rich in monounsaturated fatty acids [].The avocado seed is discarded in the majority of countries, although in some countries such as Niger, it is consumed [18, 19].This waste may represent an ecological or human contaminant. The avocado seed is one of the top high-fiber foods on the planet, and we know fiber can help balance cholesterol levels. The California Avocado Commission recommends people avoid eating the avocado seed (though of course, they encourage you to enjoy the fruit). Avocado seeds contain a toxic compound called persin. Avocado seeds contain tannins, which are mildly toxic; however, you would have to consume several before you’d notice any negative health effects. 4. In humans, avocado seeds help slow down aging, may be helpful in preventing cancer, and lower your blood sugar. Home > Food Facts > Fruits > Are Avocado Seeds Poisonous? The relatively low concentrations of persin in the ripe pulp of the avocado fruit is generally considered harmless to humans. You can dry out and pulverize the avocado seeds in a food processor. Other types of seeds containing cyanogenic compounds include apple seeds, cherry pits, and citrus fruit seeds. Health Benefits and Side Effects…, Top 20 Antihistamine Foods that Help Fight Inflammation. Eating the seed has potential risks and no evidence of health benefits. As for safety, occasionally eating small amounts of the seeds is probably fine, but consuming larger amounts regularly is an open question. Mol. It is also known that avocado seeds may contain cyanide, which is toxic to humans. Avocado pits also cause problems for people who are allergic to latex. Cyanide Poisoning from Apples, Peaches, Cherries, Plums, etc. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. The seed is strong and heavy, so this is not a task for a blender. A recent report described […] When eaten, our bodies convert these compounds to hydrogen cyanide – the active form of the molecule. Persin is present in the bark and leaves of avocado plants and soluble in oil. By now, you know they are not poisonous for humans if consumed in small quantities. The seeds also contain some amounts of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogenic glycosides. Read on to find it out yourself: Avocado seed contains persin, which is a toxic compound present in small quantities in avocado seeds. Consuming the seeds in excess amounts may be harmful. The powder can be mixed into smoothies or other foods to disguise the bitter flavor, which comes from tannins in the seed. Avocado (Persea Americana), native to Central America, is a pear-shaped salad and Mexican cuisine fruit. Right along with the question of eating avocado skin is whether it’s safe to eat an avocado pit or seed. It may also lower blood pressure, fight inflammation, and help with weight loss. They contain a small amount of a natural toxin called persin [(R, 12Z,15Z)-2-Hydroxy-4-oxohenicosa-12,15-dienyl acetate]. https://www.foodsforbetterhealth.com/are-avocado-seeds-poisonous-35086, https://www.foodsforbetterhealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/AreAVOCADO-150x90.png. Avocado seeds are not poisonous unless consumed in large quantities. However, many people believe avocado seeds are poisonous. While dogs and cats are rarely affected by persin, avocado poisoning can be deadly to birds and large animals (such as cows, goats, sheep). The seeds contain high amounts of trypsin inhibitors, tannins, and polyphenols, which act as antinutrients. However, like the leaves of many avocado plants, the pits can contain some nasty substances. But what about the avocado seed? There is a slight amount of persin, a fungicidal toxin similar to a fatty acid, in avocado pits, and the skin, bark, and leaves of the avocado tree. In fact, persin is beneficial to humans. In addition to persin and tannin, avocado seeds also contain small quantities of hydrocyanic acid and cyanogenic glycosides, which can produce toxic hydrogen cyanide. Poisoning has been reported in birds (chickens, cockatiels, budgies, canaries, ostriches), horses, goats, sheep, mice and rabbits. Studies carried out to find the medicinal properties of avocado seeds make use of the dried seeds. A single avocado seed will not result in cyanide poisoning in adults. Add large chunks of chopped avocado pits to a tea infuser. Acute Toxicity and Genotoxic Activity of Avocado Seed Extract (Persea americana Mill., c.v. Hass) This one isn’t very relevant, since they were only looking at the potential toxicity of the seed extract. That is a myth, and the truth is that avocado seeds are edible and highly nutritious, although slightly bitter tasting. The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in many pets. They can help slow down the oxidation of body cells and protect the cells from free radical damage. Butt AJ, Roberts CG, Seawright AA, Oelrichs PB, MacLeod JK, Liaw TY, Kavallaris M, Somers-Edgar TJ, Lehrbach GM, Watts CK, Sutherland RL (2006). Many blog articles have been written about the health benefits of avocado seeds. They too have pits containing a cyanide compound, causing the same symptoms as pear seeds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23448442, last accessed May 29, 2017. The seeds contain high levels of tannins, trypsin inhibitors, and polyphenols that act as anti-nutrients, which means they reduce your ability to absorb certain vitamins and minerals. It acts as a natural fungicide. The pits are considered toxic to birds, cattle, horses, rabbits, and goats. The pit has to be discarded. Avocado seed contains flavonoid that acts as antioxidant which protect the cells from any damage that caused by free radicals and later can trigger the development of cancer cells. In fact, they offer many health benefits. Avocado is a high calorie food and it will increase your weight. 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