Avocados are so healthy, even the seed husks might have medical uses

Americans consume about 1.9 billion pounds of avocados a year, which has driven the humble "alligator pear" from a rare delicacy to the most pinned food on Pinterest.

Scientists researching the fruit usually focus on its flesh, but in a first-of-its-kind study, a team decided instead to focus on a part that's usually thrown out.

Researchers ground 300 dried avocado seed husks into powder and then extracted the oil and wax.

SEE MORE: If The US Leaves NAFTA, That Could Cost Avocado-Lovers

RELATED: Surprising avocado recipes

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Surprising avocado recipes

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Avocado Ranch Dressing

This recipe has the flavor of traditional ranch dressing but is extra smooth and creamy, thanks to the avocado. Making dressing at home is a great alternative to store-bought, because you know exactly what's in it. Dip crunchy veggies into the dressing for an easy afternoon snack.

Get the recipe: Avocado Ranch Dressing

Avocado BLT Toasts

You may never want to eat a plain BLT again! Avocados and fried eggs are the perfect complements to this open-faced spin on a classic. Enjoy one for any meal of the day.

Get the recipe: Avocado BLT Toasts

Avocado Ice Cream

This ice cream is packed with bright avocado flavor. It's also incredibly easy to make -- no churning required. Top it with some flaky sea salt for a sweet and salty bite.

Get the recipe: Avocado Ice Cream

Fried Avocado Bites

Creamy on the inside and crispy on the outside, these tempura-fried avocado bites are the perfect appetizer for your next get-together.

Get the recipe: Fried Avocado Bites

Avocado Toasts 

There are two secrets to these simple avocado toasts: rubbing the bread with garlic for just a hint of flavor and adding a pop of crunchy sea salt on top.

Get the recipe: Avocado Toasts

Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream

Vanilla, orange and avocado team up for perfect flavor in this simple cupcake recipe. For a party dessert, just add festive sprinkles or sanding sugar on top.

Get the recipe: Cupcakes with Avocado Buttercream

Grilled Avocados with Ginger Miso

Grilled avocado halves served with our punchy marinade are surprisingly meaty and wonderfully tender and rich. They make a great vegetarian main dish or a change-of-pace stand-in for guacamole.

Get the recipe: Grilled Avocados with Ginger Miso

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Chemical analysis showed the oil had more than 100 compounds, some of which might slow the growth of tumor cells and reduce fat buildup that clogs arteries. The chemicals in avocado husk wax were similar to those used to make flexible plastics for medical devices and cosmetics.

Now that they've discovered some more of the avocado's building blocks, the researchers say they want to figure out if they can use those parts to create new medications.

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