Sure, you know that avocados add creamy goodness to guacamole, salads, sandwiches and even smoothies. But what you might not know is that avocado seeds are just as versatile as the superfood fruit itself. Though most people throw them away, the pits can be used to make a heart-smart drink known as avocado seed tea — for pennies!
How avocado seed tea improves heart health
People in Africa, Central, and South America have used avocado seed tea for decades to promote health and well-being, thanks to its rich stores of beneficial compounds called phytochemicals. And while avocado seeds are incredibly nutrient-dense, they also have high concentration of soluble fiber that safeguards your ticker.
“We know that avocado seeds contain healthy fatty acids, carbs, and a small amount of protein,” explains Sonali Ruder, DO, an emergency room doctor, trained chef and the founder of The Foodie Physician. “They’re especially high in soluble fiber, which has several potential health benefits, including aiding in digestion and lowering cholesterol. Fiber helps keep everything running smoothly in our intestinal tract, stabilizes blood sugar, and prevents heart disease.”
Carmelita Lombera, RDN, a registered dietitian based in Sacramento, California, agrees. “Avocado seed tea may improve heart health by lowering blood pressure and LDL or “bad” cholesterol. The polyphenols in the seed help limit HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme responsible for the production of cholesterol. Many statin drugs act on this same enzyme, but they can also have side effects.” Those statin side effects can include muscle pain, liver damage and a spike in your blood sugar levels. (Click through to our sister publication to see how a citrus fruit called bergamot lowers high cholesterol.)
Avocados also brim with potassium, “and the seed is an excellent source, too,” Lombera adds. Research in the journal Hypertension suggests that upping your intake of dietary potassium (also known as potassium citrate) lowers systolic (top number) blood pressure by 13 points and diastolic (bottom number) blood pressure by 5 points. It works by relaxing blood vessels an helping flush excess salt from the body.
More health benefits of avocado seed tea
Avocado seeds can do more than just keep your heart strong. It turns out the grocery toss-out has total-body health benefits, too.
“These seeds contain several vitamins and minerals,” Dr. Ruder says. “They also have bioactives, which are plant-based compounds that have many potential health benefits such as reducing inflammation and fighting chronic diseases like cancer. They even have anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.” Here’s how sipping avocado seed tea can transform your health:
It improves your immunity
Avocado seeds are loaded with antioxidants. In fact, as much as 70% of an avocado’s antioxidants are found in the seed, according to research in the journal Food Chemistry.
“Antioxidants are like protective superheroes for our cells, helping to prevent damage from free radicals that contribute to aging and chronic disease,” Dr. Ruder explains. “These antioxidants include vitamin C and vitamin E, which are especially important for boosting our immunity.”
Avocado seed tea reduces chronic inflammation
Avocado seeds protect health at the cellular level, warding off the chronic inflammation that can dampen your energy and mood and accelerate aging. Avocado seeds are so beneficial, a study in the journal Advances in Food Technology and Traditional Sciences suggests their anti-inflammatory compounds may one day be used in pharmaceutical development.
“I would recommend avocado seed tea to anyone who is experiencing chronic inflammation from conditions such as obesity, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, cancer, digestive issues, or hormonal imbalances,” Lombera says. “One compound inside avocado seeds, chlorogenic acid, captures free radicals” that play a role in triggering inflammation. And researchers know that inflammation causes weight gain, and excess weight causes more inflammation. (Click through to learn more about how inflammation contributes to post-menopausal weight gain and what to do about it.)
It steadies your blood sugar
Compounds within avocado seed tea called flavanoids have been shown to help regulate energy-sapping blood sugar swings and dips. In fact, a study found these flavanoids reduce sugar absorption and increase insulin secretion in diabetes patients.
And avocado seeds’ chlorogenic acid plays a role in steadying blood sugar, too. “It’s been shown to increase the GLP-1 hormone, which increases blood insulin levels and slows down gastric emptying, making you feel fuller,” Lombera says. GLP-1’s effects on regulating blood sugar and aiding weight loss are well-known. A class of drugs called GLP-1 antagonists mimic the hormone’s actions by increasing insulin production after someone eats. (Click through to our sister site to discover how natural GLP-1 alternatives speed weight loss.)
Homemade vs. store-bought avocado seed tea
Ready to tap into the healing power of avocado seed tea? Both freshly-brewed avocado seed tea and store-bought varieties deliver the same health benefits. The difference: homemade brews cost just pennies per cup, but take a little more time to make. That’s because you have to let avocado seeds dry for at least three days before using them in tea. Lombera says fresh avocado seeds are rich in phytochemicals that can potentially be harmful in high doses. “If you don’t have time to dry and boil the seeds, buying them is an easier option.”
You can buy pre-made avocado seed teabags or powdered tea. “I personally recommend NutriCargo’s Avocado Pit Powder,” says Lombera. “I suggest this brand because all of their products undergo weekly testing for microbial pathogens and heavy metals. Since many companies sell tea made from avocado leaves, make sure the tea or powder you buy is derived from the seed/pit.” Try: NutriCargo Avocado Pit Power (Buy from NutriCargo.com, $9.99).
How much avocado seed tea you should drink daily
Avocado seed tea has powerful nutritional properties, but “there are concerns that some of the plant compounds in avocado seed could potentially be harmful,” explains Dr. Ruder. “Safety tests are in the early stages. So, if you’re going to try avocado seed tea, I wouldn’t overdo it and recommend sticking to one cup per day.”
Lombera concurs, noting that “drinking one cup has been shown to provide benefits. Since avocado seeds are so high in nutrients, you don’t need to drink any more than that.”
While avocado seed tea is widely enjoyed by most folks, there are few who should steer clear of the brew. Of course, anyone with an avocado intolerance or allergy should avoid avocado seed tea, says Dr. Ruder. “Also, avocado contains small to moderate amounts of vitamin K, which may interact with blood-thinning medications like Warfarin. So, if you’re on a blood thinner, consult with your doctor first,” Dr. Ruder adds.
How to make avocado seed tea at home
Making avocado seed tea is easy and takes less than 15 minutes once you have your ingredients ready. “The avocado seed can impart a subtle bitterness to the tea,” says Dr. Ruder. “You’ll probably want to add a little sweetener like honey, or warm spices like cinnamon or ginger, to balance the flavor profile.” And as a fun bonus, “when you make your own avocado seed tea, the water turns a pinkish hue due to the polyphenols being released from the seeds,” Lombera adds.
What you’ll need:
- One or two avocado seeds (pits) that have dried for at least 3 days
- 3-4 cups of water
- Honey and spice to taste
- Rinse the avocado seeds in cool tap water to remove any debris.
- Add the seeds and water to a tea kettle or small saucepan, then bring to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes or until soft.
- Remove the skin, then grate or slice the soft, boiled avocado seeds into smaller pieces. Return to the kettle or saucepan and boil for another 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, then strain brewed tea into a mug. Sweeten with honey or spices to taste.
Read on to discover more ways avocados improve your health:
- Avocado Doesn’t Just Taste Great — It Can Also Help You Get in Shape
- Don’t Throw Away Your Avocado Peels! They Can Help Fight Inflammation and Give You More Youthful Looking Skin
- Avocado Pit Broth Is Packed With Nutrients and Super Easy to Make
Leftover avocado? Check out some of our favorite recipes:
- How to Make Crispy, Keto-Friendly Chips With Avocados
- Keto Vanilla Avocado Pudding
- 15 Unique Avocado Recipes That Go Beyond Toast
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.