If you think that an avocado’s nutrition is confined to the yellowish-green flesh and you can trash the skin and the seed, discard that thought. Avocado peel benefits are similar to those of the flesh, such as lowering cholesterol, aiding in weight loss, and preventing cancer. But the effects are probably faster when you add the peel to the fruit because the skin is richer in beneficial plant chemicals.
Avocado Peel Has Twice The Antioxidants In The Flesh
The peel is a storehouse of nutrients and provides the fruit with natural resistance to pests and diseases, thanks to its antifungal properties. However, as the fruit ripens, the antifungal properties decrease.1
A study found that the avocado peel has more antioxidants than the fruit flesh.2
|Nutrient||Avocado Peel (100 g)||Avocado Flesh (100 g)|
|Carotenoid||2.585 mg||0.815 mg|
|Phenolic compounds||679.0 mg||410.2 mg|
|Flavonoids||44.3 mg||21.9 mg|
Avocado Antioxidants Fight Free Radical Damage And Cancer
In the course of daily activities, your body accumulates a number of toxins which give rise to reactive molecules called free radicals. These free radicals go on a rampage inside the body, damaging cells and increasing oxidation (burning). Cancer and cardiovascular diseases are thought to be a result of this free radical damage.
Plant antioxidants are helpful in boosting your body’s immunity against reactive molecules called free radicals which damage cells and cause inflammation.
If you are healthy, your body has natural antioxidants to prevent this excessive burning. But if the free radical damage overwhelms your body’s defense mechanism, resulting in oxidative stress, you need to add antioxidants in your diet. And plants are the best source of antioxidants. Here’s a list of foods that reduce cancer risk.
Avocados are rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, chlorophyll, phenols, and flavonoids. But the total carotenoid and chlorophyll pigment concentration in the fruit is found to be highest in the dark green part of the flesh, closest to the peel and farthest from the seed.3 All of these antioxidants are potent fighters of free radical damage.
- Phenols prevent oxidative damage to biomolecules such as DNA, lipids, and proteins. Plant phenols are capable of interfering with the cancer process, potentially resulting in the reduction of cancer risk.4
Almost all avocado antioxidants fight free radical damage and prevent cancer, but each type also has specific benefits for specific body parts. For instance, lutein helps the eyes, and flavonoids prevent nerve degeneration.
- Flavonoids are antioxidants that help against inflammation and fight conditions like diabetes and cancer. Flavonoids also protect the nerve cells from degeneration caused by free radical damage.5 All flavonoids are phenols, but all phenols are not flavonoids.
- Carotenoids act as antioxidants and have anticancer properties.6 Lutein and zeaxanthin are two kinds of carotenoids that help your eye.
- Chrolophyll is a blood builder that detoxifies your body, helps wound healing, and prevents cancer.7
The good news is that while the antifungal properties of the avocado peel decline with ripening, the levels of carotenoids and chlorophylls do not change significantly.8
Scrape Out The Avocado Peel
If you cut open a ripe avocado, you will notice the color of the flesh varying from yellow near the seed to pale green in the middle and dark green closer to the skin. And when we talk about avocado peels being as nutritious or sometimes even more nutritious than the fruit itself, we are talking about this dark green side of it.9
Since it has been found that the content of these helpful chemicals increases as we approach the skin, do not peel the skin off. Instead, cut the fruit in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. Don’t stop at the yellow fleshy part. Take the green signal, dig deeper, and scrape out as much of the green part as you can.10
Not just the peel and the flesh, the avocado seed also has many benefits. Check them out here.
|↑1||Adikaram, N. K. B., D. F. Ewing, A. M. Karunaratne, and E. M. K. Wijeratne. “Antifungal compounds from immature avocado fruit peel.” Phytochemistry31, no. 1 (1992): 93-96.|
|↑2||Vinha, Ana F., Joana Moreira, and Sérgio VP Barreira. “Physicochemical parameters, phytochemical composition and antioxidant activity of the Algarvian avocado (Persea americana Mill.).” Journal of Agricultural Science5, no. 12 (2013): 100.|
|↑3||Lu, Qing-Yi, James R. Arteaga, Qifeng Zhang, Sergio Huerta, Vay Liang W. Go, and David Heber. “Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances.” The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 16, no. 1 (2005): 23-30.|
|↑4||Hollman, Peter C. H. “Evidence for health benefits of plant phenols: local or systemic effects?.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 81, no. 9 (2001): 842-852.|
|↑5||Flavonoids. Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information|
|↑6||Leoncini E, Nedovic D, Panic N, Pastorino R, Edefonti V, Boccia S, “Carotenoid Intake from Natural Sources and Head and Neck Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Epidemiological Studies”, Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention, 2015 Jul;24(7):1003-11.|
|↑7||Chlorophyll and Chlorophyllin. Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center|
|↑8||Ashton, Ofelia BO, Marie Wong, Tony K. McGhie, Rosheila Vather, Yan Wang, Cecilia Requejo-Jackman, Padmaja Ramankutty, and Allan B. Woolf. “Pigments in avocado tissue and oil.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 54, no. 26 (2006): 10151-10158.|
|↑9||Lu, Qing-Yi, Yanjun Zhang, Yue Wang, David Wang, Ru-po Lee, Kun Gao, Russell Byrns, and David Heber. “California Hass avocado: profiling of carotenoids, tocopherol, fatty acid, and fat content during maturation and from different growing areas.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 57, no. 21 (2009): 10408-10413.|
|↑10||Ashton, Ofelia BO, Marie Wong, Tony K. McGhie, Rosheila Vather, Yan Wang, Cecilia Requejo-Jackman, Padmaja Ramankutty, and Allan B. Woolf. “Pigments in avocado tissue and oil.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 54, no. 26 (2006): 10151-10158.|