There is some confusion about whether or not certain fruit seeds are safe to blend with whole fruits in a green smoothie.
Some natural health enthusiasts who blend whole fruits, seeds and all, say that the seeds give the plant life and therefore have “life-giving” properties for those who consume them. However, fruit seeds are not “meant” to be consumed.
A fruit seed has a hard shell and streamlined shape to help it remain intact while it makes the trip through your digestive tract. Enzyme inhibitors in the shell further prevent digestion. The purpose of fruit is to attract predators to feed, which then disburse the seeds (with “fertilizer”) away from the parent plant. One could say that fruit seeds are not intended to be part of the nutritional package of fruit.
This is not to say that eating seeds or nuts is “unnatural” or unhealthy. However, many fruit seeds are not edible, not pleasant to eat, and extremely difficult to process into an edible form.
Many common fruit seeds contain trace amounts of toxins. Whether or not the toxins in fruit seeds have any real health consequence in small amounts is debatable, but there isn’t any evidence that you are “missing out” on any of the health benefits of fruits if you don’t eat their seeds.
I generally do not eat most fruit seeds or put them in my green smoothies. Some seeds are impossible to blend while others taste too bitter or ruin the texture of a smoothie.
Not all fruit seeds are bad though. Grape and pomegranate seeds contain potent antioxidants and they are both completely edible. Of course, the tiny seeds of strawberries, raspberries and kiwifruits are non-toxic and provide additional antioxidants and omega-3s.
However, there are a few seeds that I always avoid adding to my green smoothies.
Fruits Seeds I Avoid Blending In Green Smoothies
Stone Fruit Pits: The seeds or pits of peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries contain cyanogenetic glucosides (composed of cyanide). Just a small amount can pose serious, if not fatal, health risks. Because stone fruits have such hard shells and are difficult to break into, there isn’t really a risk of accidental poisoning. Swallowing a cherry pit won’t release the toxins because it will pass through your digestive system unscathed (as “intended” by the plant). Stone fruit pits should never be placed into a blender as the hard seeds may damage the blades. The same goes for mango pits, too.
Apple and Pear Seeds: The seeds from apples and pears also contain cyanide, although in such small amounts that consuming the seeds from an apple isn’t likely to cause any ill effects. However, I don’t recommend making a habit of consuming apple seeds on a daily basis, and I don’t recommend grinding them into fine powder in your blender where the toxins are extracted more efficiently and thus, more absorbable in your body.
Avocado Pits: Avocado pits are mildly toxic, though not generally dangerous when consumed in small amounts. Some people grind up and eat the pit, which contains soluble fiber. However, there is no reason to go out of your way to consume avocado pit for soluble fiber since most of the ingredients in green smoothies already contain fiber.
Guava and Cactus Pear (Tuna) Seeds: These seeds should NEVER be added to a smoothie, not because they are toxic but because a blender (even the most high-end blenders on the market) will break them into tiny, jagged pieces that can potentially scratch your esophagus and digestive tract. While time consuming, it is always best to remove the seeds from cactus pear and guava prior to blending.
Citrus Seeds: The seeds of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and tangerines contain small amounts of cyanide compounds, much like apple seeds and stone fruits. However, the seeds in a typical orange do not contain enough of the toxin to do any harm. I regularly blend up an orange, seeds and all, in my green smoothies. I do this more for the convenience than any health benefit the seeds provide. Tangerine seeds, however, will make your smoothie very bitter because they have higher amounts of the toxins.
Papaya Seeds: While not toxic, papaya seeds have a peppery flavor that may not be suitable in a green smoothie. The seeds may not blend properly in a low-end blender. (I like to save papaya seeds and let them dry, then place them in a pepper mill and use them as a seasoning.)
This isn’t a comprehensive list of all fruit seeds that I don’t consume. As I mentioned above, I almost never use any fruit seeds in my green smoothies.
What About The Anti-Cancer/Chi/Qi Benefits Of Consuming Fruit Seeds
There’s a pervasive rumor online stating that the seeds from apples or avocados prevents or cures cancer. This, of course, is rumor and has absolutely no credible, verifiable science behind it. There are no verified cases of people curing cancer by consuming avocado pits, and no definitive evidence that consuming fruit seeds will prevent cancer.
As for the more “spiritual” chi/qi benefits of blending whole fruits, seeds and all, I can’t really speak to that in scientific terms. But I will say that removing the seeds from fruits does not cause any “imbalance” in your body, or the food you eat. Keep in mind that your body will not normally digest seeds. They are meant to pass through your body by resisting digestion so they can become plants.
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Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, the 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.