Think twice before you throw away these highly nutritious food sources
We all love avocados. In fact, many consider them to be a superfood due to their healthy fat content, and a few slices go perfectly with just about any whole food meal. But it’s not just the soft, green, tasty flesh of the avo that can give you a nutritional boost.
Believe it or not, the big, hard pit (also known as the seed or stone) in the middle also has a lot of value to offer, so think twice before you throw it away or compost it.
Over 70% of the all antioxidants found in avos are contained within the seed. A study on the benefits of avo seeds found that the phenolic antioxidant compounds in the seeds may lower high cholesterol, high blood pressure, reduce inflammatory conditions and diabetes, and boost your immunity. The seeds also contain a phytochemical known as flavonol, another potent antioxidant that can purportedly reduce tumour growth.
The seeds even have insecticidal, fungicidal, and anti-microbial properties. This is attributed to the catechins and procyandins it contains, which are beneficial compounds which have anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce pain, swelling, and joint stiffness. These two antioxidants also improve heart health and blood circulation. In ancient medicinal practices, avo seeds were even used to treat dysentery and gastric ulcers.
They’re also a rich source of fibre. In fact, an avocado seed contains more soluble fibre per gram than almost any other vegetable.
How: The easiest way to include the avo seed in your diet is to shave or grate it and include it in salads or as an edible garnish. You can also crush it up or slice it and include it your favourite smoothie recipe.
One of the main concerns regarding juicing is that you lose much of the fibre contained in the fruits and vegetables used. Try keeping the pulp to make tasty crackers by simply adding seeds and grains. You’re left with a healthful snack option that goes great with homemade spreads like hummus or guacamole, and they’re packed full of fibre to enhance digestion.
Your habit of throwing away the apple core needs to stop. In fact, there is no special structural support in the middle of the apple that makes it inedible. The apple core myth has been perpetuated by a simple case of nutritional misinformation. You see, apple seeds, found in the centre of the apple, contain a substance called amygdalin that can release cyanide under the right circumstances, such as contact with digestive enzymes. The truth is that one would need to consume about 100g of just the apple seeds (not the whole apple) to deliver a lethal dose to a 70kg human, and that’s a lot of apples!
For the meat eaters among us, we have a tip for you. During your next trip to the butchery, ask the butcher for some animal organs. That’s right! The kidney, liver, heart, brain and other organs, which are often discarded or processed for other meat products, contain more nutrients than the lean muscle-derived cuts of meat we normally eat.
In fact, the liver is one of the most nutritious food sources available in nature, offering a highly concentrated source of vitamin A (retinol) and it contains an abundant, highly usable form of iron. It is also a rich source of copper, folic acid, cholesterol, choline, purines and coenzyme Q10.
It is, however, essential that you choose organs from organically reared meats. The use of hormones and other drugs used in commercial farming practices can cause toxicity in organs such as the liver and kidneys, which is something you want to avoid ingesting yourself.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.