We are certain you know that the avocado fruit can help prevent the progress of various diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart diseases, chronic inflammation, and even cancer.1
But did you know that pulp, pit, peel—there’s very little about avocado that is not nutritious. Although avocado leaf has been used by various cultures in cooking, little do people know about its health benefits. Before you find out about the benefits, take a look at what makes it so good.
The Nutrients In Avocado Leaf
Proteins And Fibers
Avocado leaves are richer in proteins and fiber than the fruit or the seed.2 There’s about 25.54 g protein and 38.40 g fiber per 100 g of the leaf, while the fruit contains only 1.60 g and 2.06 g of protein and fiber, respectively.
The leaves have a good quantity of sodium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.3 Increased potassium intake helps prevent and cure hypertension,4 and calcium supports the structure and hardness of bones and teeth, nerve function, and blood circulation.
Avocado leaves also contain a higher amount of healthy plant chemicals such as flavonoids and phenols than the fruit or the seed.5 Flavonoids are antioxidants that show anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer activities and protect our nerve cells from degeneration.6
Phenols are antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage to biomolecules such as DNA, lipids, and proteins. Oxidative damage plays a role in chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Plant phenols are capable of interfering with the cancer process, potentially resulting in the reduction of cancer risk.7
4. Benefits Of Avocado Leaves
1. It Reduces Convulsions
African traditional medicine advocates the use of avocado leaves to treat convulsions and epilepsy in children. An animal study validated this usage too. It treated mice with artificially induced convulsions with an aqueous extract of avocado leaves.
It was found that in the majority of the cases, the extract prevented the seizure or delayed it, possibly by increasing the activity of the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain that reduces nervous activity.8
2. It Fights Ulcers
A study was conducted to investigate the anti-ulcer activity of aqueous leaf extract of avocado. The extract produced significant dose-dependent anti-ulcer activity against artificially induced stomach ulcers in rats, probably because of its phytochemicals like flavonoids, saponins, and tannins.9
3. It Lowers Blood Glucose Level
Avocado leaf spells good news for diabetes patients because it has hypoglycemic or blood glucose–lowering effects. In a scientific study on rats with artificially induced diabetes, it was found that aqueous leaf extract of avocado possessed hypoglycemic effects depending on the strength of the dose. The reduction in blood sugar was maximum six hours after a single dose of the extract was administered.10
4. It Decreases Body Weight
When we ingest fat, it is stored in fat cells known as adipocytes. An animal study where rats on high-cholesterol diet were treated with aqueous and methanolic extract of avocado leaves proved that the leaves increase the destructive metabolism of fat accumulated in adipose tissues and thereby decreases body weight.11
How To Include Avocado Leaves In Your Diet?
You can add raw or freshly toasted avocado leaves of the Mexican variety to your salad or even use the leaf extract as a salad dressing. You can also use the avocado leaves to add flavor to your soup and stew. The leaf has a licorice or anise-like flavor and may taste bitter or pungent, so start with a small amount like one leaf or a teaspoon of leaf powder.
One of the best ways to consume avocado leaves is as tea. Just boil a few leaves in a pot of water and add appropriate amount of sweetener to suit your palate. But however you use it, make sure the leaves are washed properly to avoid harmful effects of fungicides sprayed on them.
What Are The Side Effects Of Avocado Leaves?
It was found that when lactating (breastfeeding) livestock eat avocado leaves, they may develop a painful infection of the breast tissue and lactation failure. Similar results have been found in the mammary glands of lactating mice fed a diet containing a small percentage of freeze-dried avocado leaf.12
Although there have been no conclusive studies on its side effects on humans, it is better to avoid the avocado leaf if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
|↑1||Owolabi, M. A., H. A. B. Coker, and S. I. Jaja. “Bioactivity of the phytoconstituents of the leaves of Persea americana.” Journal of Medicinal Plants Research 4, no. 12 (2010): 1130-1135.|
|↑2, ↑3, ↑5||Arukwe, U., B. A. Amadi, M. K. C. Duru, E. N. Agomuo, E. A. Adindu, P. C. Odika, K. C. Lele, L. Egejuru, and J. Anudike. “Chemical composition of Persea americana leaf, fruit and seed.” IJRRAS 11, no. 2 (2012): 346-349.|
|↑4||Whelton, Paul K., Jiang He, Jeffrey A. Cutler, Frederick L. Brancati, Lawrence J. Appel, Dean Follmann, and Michael J. Klag. “Effects of oral potassium on blood pressure: meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials.” Jama 277, no. 20 (1997): 1624-1632.|
|↑6||Phytochemicals. Linus Pauling Institute, Micronutrient Information Center|
|↑7||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.|
|↑8||Ojewole, John AO, and George J. Amabeoku. “Anticonvulsant effect of Persea americana Mill (Lauraceae)(Avocado) leaf aqueous extract in mice.” Phytotherapy Research 20, no. 8 (2006): 696-700.|
|↑9||Ukwe, C. V., and S. V. Nwafor. “Anti-ulcer activity of aqueous leaf extract of Persea americana (family-Lauraceae).” Nigerian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 3, no. 1 (2004): 91-95.|
|↑10, ↑11||Brai, B. I. C., A. A. Odetola, and P. U. Agomo. “Effects of Persea americana leaf extracts on body weight and liver lipids in rats fed hyperlipidaemic diet.” African journal of Biotechnology 6, no. 8 (2007).|
|↑12||Oelrichs, Peter B., Jack C. Ng, Alan A. Seawright, Annemarie Ward, Lothar Schäffeler, and John K. Macleod. “Isolation and identification of a compound from avocado (Persea americana) leaves which causes necrosis of the acinar epithelium of the lactating mammary gland and the myocardium.” Natural toxins 3, no. 5 (1995): 344-349.|