This is one of the most frequenlty asked questions I get at my Vitamix demos.
So lets dive right in
With a goal of maximizing the nutrition in juices and smoothies prepared with a high-performance blender, following are twenty of this country’s most popular fruits that contain skins and/or seeds that are traditionally discarded before ingestion. Next to each is listed what, if any, nutritional benefits they contain.
An apple a day really could keep the doctor away – as long as you don’t throw away the peel. The chemical behind the apple skin’s waxy shine is being credited with a host of health benefits from building muscle to keeping the lid on weight.
Ursolic acid also keeps cholesterol and blood sugar under control, meaning an apple a day could do wonders for all-round health. Researcher Christopher Adams said: ‘Ursolic acid is an interesting natural compound. It’s part of a normal diet as a component of apple peels.
‘They always say that an apple a day keeps the doctor away…’The importance of apple peel was discovered after Dr Adams, a U.S. expert in how hormones affect the body, set out to find a drug that stops muscles from wasting, keeping pensioners strong as they age and cutting their risk of hard-to-heal fractures.
He said: ‘Muscle wasting is a frequent companion of illness and ageing.
‘It prolongs hospitalisation, delays recoveries and in some cases prevents people from going back home. It isn’t well understood and there’s no medicine for it.’
In order to remedy the situation, Dr Adams, of the University of Iowa, studied the genetic changes that occur when muscles waste or atrophy.
He checked a pool of 1,300 chemicals for one that would counter the changes – and hit on ursolic acid.
The researcher then supplemented a normal diet in mice with small amounts of the compound and subjected them to a battery of health tests. The creatures’ muscles got bigger and their grip became stronger.
The benefits didn’t end there. The mice fed the apple peel chemical had lower levels of cholesterol and other blood fats blamed for clogging up the arteries and damaging the heart, and had around a third less body fat.
It is thought that ursolic acid enhances the effects of insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1, two hormones key to muscle growth.
It is particularly concentrated in apple peel but is also found in cranberries and prunes and in basil, oregano and thyme.Dr Adams said: ‘We know that if you eat a balanced diet like mom told us to eat you get this material. People who eat junk food don’t get this.’
He added that the goal is to establish whether apple peel is as good for humans as it is for mice – and work out how many apples we might need to help make muscles bulge and waistlines shrink.
If large amounts of ursolic acid are required, it is likely that people will have to take it in concentrated form, either as a supplement or a drug.
Reporting his findings in the journal Cell Metabolism, Dr Adams said: ‘Given the current lack of therapies for muscle atrophy, we speculate that ursolic acid might be investigated as a potential therapy for illness-related and age-related muscle atrophy.’
Obesity and diabetes might also be in its grasp, he added.
Other recent research has credited an apple a day with keeping the undertaker away – at least in flies.
Fruit flies given an apple extract lived 10 per cent longer and found it easier to walk, climb and move about as they aged.
Researchers who questioned women about their diets found that those who regularly ate apples were around 20 per cent less likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes.
Apricot: Apricot skins are good sources of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Their seeds, though, are similar in properties to apples.
Many are familiar with the nutritional benefits of eating apricots. Its high mineral content assists those with anemia, asthma, tuberculosis and bronchitis.
However, not many are familiar with thehealth benefits of apricot seed or kernel. Although surrounded with controversy on its claim to cure cancer, the overall benefits outweigh the underlying fear of eating apricot seeds.
Just like pomegranate and dates, eating apricot seed is very common and popular in the Middle East and considered one of their traditional and herbal medicine.
Health Benefits of Apricot Seed or Kernel
In summary the health benefits of eating apricot seed or kernel are as follows:
- It is claimed that vitamin B17 helps in the prevention of cancer. Apricot seed has the highest percentage of B17 in any fruits and consuming this seed will help prevent cancer.
- Vitamin B17, and hence apricot seed, also helps to lower high blood pressure
- Helps to reduce pain associated with arthritis.
- Help to maintain the general health and well-being. Hence, it will strengthen the ability to resist infections like colds and flu
Most people eat apricot seeds not just for the overall general well-being, but because of its property to prevent cancer
Will eating apricot seed or kernel be fatal?
An apricot seed contains just about half mg of cyanide (Holzbecker, Moss & Ellenberger 1984). Based on a report by the Committee on Toxicity (2006), dosage of between 0.5 – 3.5 mg per kg of body weight can be fatal. Hence, a man weighing 175 lb. has to consume 40mg to 280 mg that is equivalent to about 80-560 apricot seeds, per day, for it to be fatal.
It is claimed that about five milligram of cyanide is considered sufficient to prevent cancer. This is equivalent to eating 10 apricot seeds per day. It is also claimed that to combat existing cancer, you will need to consume 50 apricot seeds.
This is all below the danger zone.
Except for the reported death of two Turkish children after eating apricot seeds (in 1957 & 1962. However, the amount was not documented), there has been no other reported death due to cyanide poisoning (from eating apricot seeds).
As a comparison, gm. per gm. Aspirin is more toxic than laetrile. However, it is always best to take apricot seed in smaller amount initially and consult a doctor that practices natural medicine for any further guidance. This will give the full health benefits of apricot seed.
Avocado: No documented health benefits for avocado skins could be found. The avocado seed, or pit, is high in potassium and antioxidants, and is one of the best sources of soluble fiber on Earth. Many of us do not have to be “sold” on the benefits of avocados—their silky texture and versatile flavor make them hard not to love. But when studies show that avocado-eaters are healthier overall than their counterparts, we feel justified in our love-affair with the green fruit. And the research may even convince some non-avocado-eaters to cross over to the other side.
Avocados are also considered as one of the healthiest foods in the planet because they contain in excess of 25 essential nutrients, including vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosporus, magnesium, and potassium. Avocados also contain fiber, protein, and several beneficial phytochemicals such as beta-sitosterol, glutathione and lutein, which may protect against various disease and illness.
Here are 15 health benefits of avocados:
Maintain a healthy heart: Avocado contains vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help regulate homocysteine levels. High level of homocysteine is associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Avocado also contains vitamin E, glutathione, and monounsaturated fat, which help in maintaining a healthy heart.
Lower cholesterol levels: Avocados are rich in a compound called beta-sitosterol which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood cholesterol levels. According to a study, patients with mild hypercholesterolemia who included avocados in their diet for 7 days had 17 percent decrease in total blood cholesterol levels, a 22 percent decrease in both LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglyceride levels, and a 11 percent increase in HDL (good cholesterol) levels.
Control blood pressure: Avocados are also a great source of potassium, which helps in controlling blood pressure levels.
Anti-Inflammatory properties: Phytonutrient compound found in avocados, such as polyphenols and flavonoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, thereby reducing the risk of inflammatory and degenerative disorders.
Promote eye health Avocado is an excellent source of carotenoid lutein, which known to help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Regulate the blood sugar levels The monounsaturated (good) fats in avocados can reverse insulin resistance which help to regulate blood sugar levels. Avocados also contain soluble fiber which keep a steady blood sugar levels.
Prevent birth defects Avocados are rich in folate, a B vitamin commonly known as folic acid. One cup of avocado provides about 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. The high amount of folate in avocado is essential in the prevention of birth defects, such as neural tube defect and spina bifida.
Reduce strokes risk The high levels of folate in avocados may also protect against stroke. A study has shown that individuals who ate a diet rich in folate had a lower risk of stroke than those who did not
Protect against cancer Many studies have shown that avocado can inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. The oleic acid in avocado is also effective in preventing breast cancer.
Fight free radicals Avocados contain glutathione, a powerful antioxidants that helps fight free radicals in the body.
Anti-aging properties Being rich in antioxidants, avocado is beneficial in preventing aging symptoms. The glutathione in avocado may boosts immune systems, slows aging process, and encourages a healthy nervous system.
Cure bad breath Avocados are one of the best natural mouth wash and bad breath remedies. It is cleanses intestine which is the real cause of coated tongue and bad breath.
Increase nutrient absorption Avocado intake is linked with an increased nutrient absorption. A study suggests that, when participants ate salad included avocados, they absorbed five times the amount of carotenoids (a group of nutrients that includes beta carotene and lycopene) than those who did not include avocados.
Skin Care The avocado oil is added in many cosmetics because of its ability to nourish the skin and make your skin glow. It also aids in treating psoriasis, a skin disease that causes skin redness and irritation.
Weight gain The avocado has 200 calories for 100 grams. Typically, fruits has approximately 60-80 calories for 100 grams. Due to the high amounts of calories, avocado is a best diet for people who want to gain weight. Avocado is a healthy source of calories, unlike many other calorie-dense foods that may contain excess saturated fats and sugar.
The total antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of edible portions and seeds of avocado, jackfruit, longan, mango and tamarind were studied. … The seeds showed a much higher antioxidant activity … than the edible portions. The contribution of all the fruit seed fractions to the total antioxidant activity … was always more than 70%. Source
Avocado seed contains relatively low amounts of calcium and magnesium, somewhat higher amounts of phosphorus, and high amounts of potassium.” Source
The seed of the avocado contains tannins, and these make it bitter or “puckery” to the taste. And some of the tannins can be mildly toxic, though an individual would have to eat a lot to see any effects, unless that individual had a food allergy. Source
Dr. Tom Wu: When I eat the avocado I always eat the seed. It is packed with very good nutrients… It’s also the highest in soluble fiber. This soluble fiber binds to the fat and excess cholesterol. Then we can lower cholesterol and improve heart function naturally. We can improve the blood circulation by pulling out all the fatty deposits in our circulatory system with the soluble fiber of the avocado seed. Soluble fiber is very difficult to get in our diet. Oatmeal has some, but it cannot compare with the avocado seed. Any heart disease patient must eat the avocado including the seed. Source
Another source states following benefits:
Sweet and Sour Delight
4 Fuji apples, sliced
2 medium lemons without peel
1 banana, peeled
1 cup spinach
1 stalk celery
Small piece ginger
½ avocado seed
Avocado Seed are great for inflammation of the GI tract and diarrhea too! In fact in South America Avocado Seeds are used for dysentery and other GI tract problems. Avocado Seeds has lots of phenolic compounds that help to prevent gastric ulcers, and prevent bacterial and viral diseases.
Avocado Seed contains a flavonol that prevents tumor growth… in fact studies with rats with cancer given Avocado Seed powder looks promising.
Avocado Seeds boost your immune system and keep you from coming down with debilitating diseases. Keeping your immune system high, because antioxidants keep free radicals at bay… and slows the aging process. Avocado Seeds seems to have a goodanti-inflammatory ability and thus helps with arthritis and other joint diseases.