Avocado has been one of the most recent trendy superfoods that are favorited by many health and fitness enthusiasts all around the world. People are making a large variety of recipes out of the fruit, from juice to sandwich spread to different kinds of salad. And this trend is not without reasons. Avocado fruit does help to prevent and to treat various diseases such as chronic inflammation, arthritis, heart diseases, and even cancer. However, do you know that the fruit is not the only part of an avocado tree that can be consumed? Although it’s a lot less common, many people around the world have been consuming avocado pulp, peel, pit, and leaf. The leaf, in particular, has been used as a cooking ingredient in various cultures.
Despite the fact that people have been consuming avocado leaves for a long time, there hasn’t been any wide understanding of the benefits of consuming avocado leaves for health. And this is a huge loss because the leaf has many properties that can boost your health. If more people understand the benefits of avocado leaf for their health, they will also tout this other part of an avocado tree as a superfood.
1. A source of Important Nutrients
Avocado leaves are rich in multiple nutrients that are necessary to maintain healthy functions of the body. In fact, it contains significantly higher levels of proteins and fiber compared to the fruit which is considered as a widely accepted superfood. For every 100-g serving of the leaf, you will get 38,40 g of fiber and 25,54 g of protein. Meanwhile, for the same serving of avocado fruit, you only get 2,06 g of fiber and 1,6 g of protein.
Moreover, avocado leaves are also rich in important nutrients like magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium, manganese, zinc, phosphorous, and calcium. The number of plant chemicals in the leaves are also higher than the amount presents in the fruit. Avocado leaves contain flavonoids and phenols which are necessary to maintain health because of their anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
2. Soothes Convulsions
Avocado leaf has a promising potential to treat epilepsy and reduce seizures. In fact, the avocado leaf has been used as a traditional herbal remedy to treat epilepsy and convulsions in children in Africa. The treatment is done by boiling the leaves and giving the concoction to children with epilepsy.
This ancient and traditional wisdom is also backed by a study. An animal study using aqueous extract taken from avocado leaves validated the study. The extract was used to treat mice that was previously induced with convulsions. The result of the study was very promising for people who are enthusiastic with treating epilepsy using natural means. In majority of the mice and in most cases, the extract delayed or prevented the occurrence of seizures. The scientists hypothesized that this is due to the improvement of the activity of the GABA receptor in the brain. The GABA neurotransmitter can reduce nervous activity and induce calmness.
3. Prevents Ulcer
Stomach ulcers happen because of excessive stomach acid that causes irritation on the inner part of the stomach. The stomach acid can even create a wound on the stomach. As a result, you will feel a burning sensation accompanied by a drumming voice of the stomach. If you suffer from a stomach ulcer, you can consume avocado leaf juice to ease the symptom. A study that was conducted to confirm whether the leaf of avocado exhibited an anti-ulcer activity demonstrated a positive result. The aqueous extract taken from avocado leaf was effective in treating and preventing ulcers. Using rats with artificially induced stomach ulcers as test subjects, the extract exhibited a significant anti-ulcer activity. This is probably due to the plant chemicals in avocado leaf-like saponins, flavonoids, and tannins.
4. Lowers The Level of Blood Glucose
People with diabetes or high diabetes risks will also be benefited from consuming avocado leaf. Avocado leaf has hypoglycemic properties. As a result, it is able to lower the level of blood glucose in the body. Scientists studied this effect by artificially inducing diabetes on rats and treating them with aqueous leaf extract of avocado. At the end of the study, the scientists concluded that the leaf possesses hypoglycemic effects that depend on the strength of the dose. This means, the more avocado leaf extract that the rats are given with, the more reduction in the blood sugar it results in. The reduction occurs up to six hours after the avocado leaf extract was administered. By learning from the study, we can conclude that taking avocado leaf tea or extract every six hours will help maintain a stable level of blood sugar.
5. Helps Maintain Healthy Weight
Not all fats are bad. However, some types of fats, like trans fats or saturated fats, can be bad for your aesthetics and health. The fats are quickly converted into body fat which will lead to weight gain and multiple related detrimental health effects. When we consume fat, not all will be converted into energy. A large amount of it will be stored in adipocytes or the fat cells.
Some scientists conducted an animal study to discover the effect of avocado leaf extract on body fats. The animals that were on high-cholesterol diet were given the methanolic and aqueous extract from avocado leaves and observed. The scientists concluded that the extract of the leaves improved the metabolism that destructs the accumulated fat that is stored in adipose tissues by turning it into energy. As a result, there was a significant decrease in the body weight of the rats.
6. Reduces Headache
Avocado leaf tea can also relieve painful headaches effectively. You just have to boil some avocado leaves and water and drink the tea after the temperature was lowered down. The effectiveness of avocado leaf tea in treating headaches is due to the antioxidant properties that it contains. The leaf is high in antioxidants, such as quercetin, vitamin C, and phenols. These antioxidants can optimize or fix the supply of oxygen to the brain by reducing the inflammation on blood vessels. When your brain gets sufficient oxygen supply, you will experience less headache that can be caused by multiple reasons like stress, exhaustion, migraine, or sinusitis.
7. Eases Stress
The fast pace of modern life is certainly a source of stress to many people. The difficulty to find a balanced office and personal life, unrealistic workload and career goals, and family and relationship problems can be damaging to emotional and mental wellbeing. In fact, minor but constant stress like being stuck in traffic each time you commute to and from your office can bring detrimental effects to your mental health which will also lead to physical sickness over the long run.
Drinking avocado leaf tea might be what you need to ease the stress. The active plant compounds like quercetin, flavonoid, saponins, and alkaloids are beneficial to reduce many types of ailments. These antioxidants can inhibit or prevent the oxidative stress that happens because your body constantly releases stress hormones. Avocado leaf tea can boost the flow of blood to the brain, improving the supply of oxygen and inhibiting the release of cortisol hormones to your body. When your body stops releasing cortisol hormones, you will feel more relaxed.
8. Alleviates Toothache
A toothache is an annoying pain that comes from multiple dental and oral problems, such as decaying teeth, holes in the tooth, gum inflammation, and many others. A very bad and prolonged toothache can impair your ability to perform your daily activities normally. You will even have difficulties to chew your foods, reducing your food intake and therefore nutrition that goes into your body.
You can reduce the pain by taking painkillers. Alternatively, drinking avocado leaf tea can offer an all-natural and cheap way to get rid of your toothache. The properties in the leaf reduce inflammation on gum and ease aching on teeth. It also has antibacterial properties that will eradicate gum bacteria that may cause infection.
9. Treats Kidney Stones
Your kidneys are important parts of your body that prevent you from being poisoned by substances that enter your body. Many causes can lead to kidney stones, which are hard deposits of salts and minerals that form in the kidneys. These minerals are filtered from the blood by the kidneys because they are not needed by the body. When kidney stones form, they can affect many parts of the urinary tract, leading to kidney and bladder problems.
When the kidney stones are recognized because the crystallization gets too big, a permanent damage can be avoided. However, if the kidney stones get big enough, you will experience intense pain. When appropriate treatment is not given, the kidney stones can lead to infections and complications. However, when you recognize the symptoms before it becomes too late, such as unusually smelly urine, high fever, and fatigue along with an intense pain during your bladder movement, you can take actions so you don’t need to undergo surgery to remove the kidney stones. Drinking avocado leaf tea is believed as one of the measurements to fight kidney stones before it gets too late. The alkaloid compounds can gradually disappear when you drink the herbal tea regularly. These alkaloid compounds can also optimize kidney functions so it will result in a speedy recovery. This will be most effective if you also drink a lot of water.
10. Reduces Swelling
Have you ever had a day when your feet swell because you spend all day on high heels? Walking puts pressure on your feet that have to support your body weight more than when you sit or just stand still. When you don’t wear shoes that offer maximum arch and heel support, like high-heeled stilettos, or flat shoes that are a few sizes too small, your feet will be affected. You can reduce the swelling and blistering on your feet by topically applying avocado leaves. Just crush and grind the leaves first until they become a smooth-textured paste. Then, you can just apply the paste on the affected area. You can use a bandage to prevent movement that can make the paste fall off. Let it treat your swollen feet for around three or four hours and you will feel the effect later.
11. Eases Gout
Gout arthritis can be characterized by an intense pain and burning sensation in your joints area. Gout can occur to most of your joints, but it mostly affects your fingers, knee, toes, and ankles. The attack can occur all of sudden. You can do your daily activities without problems during the day but suddenly wake up in the middle of the night because of the burning sensation on your big toe. The pain can come with redness and swelling because of the inflammation caused by the uric crystals that form because your body has an excessive level of uric acid.
You can use avocado leaves to treat the pain and ease your gout. The antioxidants in the leaf also possess anti-inflammatory properties which will reduce the inflammation caused by uric crystals. Moreover, the plant chemicals will also help you rid of the excessive uric acid from your system.
12. Prevents Constipation
Since avocado leaf is a rich in fiber, it can also help normalize bowel movement, maintain bowel health, and prevents indigestion problem like constipation. A high-fiber diet is necessary if you want to maintain your digestive function. Avocado leaf, when consumed as vegetables or as tea, can add bulk to your stool and soften it. Your stool needs to have enough weight and size to be able to pass easily, reducing your chance of constipation. Moreover, if your stool is watery, fiber will help solidify the stool as it absorbs the water. When you have regular bowel movement because of adopting a high-fiber diet, you will also reduce your risks of suffering from hemorrhoids and diverticular diseases.
13. Normalizes Cholesterol Level
Dietary fiber can also maintain a healthy cholesterol level and lower the total blood cholesterol levels in your body. This is done by lowering the levels of bad cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein. When your cholesterol levels are normal, your risks of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis will also be greatly reduced. Atherosclerosis is the buildup of cholesterol and fats in and along your artery walls that can obstruct the flow of blood. This condition can lead to heart attack and stroke. Since avocado leaf is rich in fiber, consuming this regularly can help you avoid cholesterol-related problems.
14. Reduces The Risks of Cancer
Dietary sources that are rich in flavonoids can prevent cancer. Quercetin is abundant in avocado leaves, making it one of the best weapons to fight cancer. According to studies, flavonoid compounds can inhibit a wide variety of cancers on animal studies. Researchers at Cornell University even discovered that the flavonoid extracts can proliferate cancerous cells on liver and colon cancer. Moreover, flavonoids also possess anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the severity and development of cancer cells.
15. Delays Aging
The flavonoids in avocado leaves are potent antioxidants that can fight the dangerous effects of oxidation by stabilizing free radicals. Besides causing cancer, free radicals are also the cause behind aging. Flavonoids minimize the oxidative damage caused by free radicals on DNA levels. Some studies have pointed out that flavonoids can extend the lifespan of different test subjects like fruit flies and yeast. Because of this, drinking avocado leaf tea will also fight aging symptoms like wrinkles and saggy skin. When you do this regularly, you will age gracefully.