AVOCADO: HEALTHY BUT NOT LACTOGENIC

It is very tempting to add healthy, popular foods to a list of lactogenic foods and believe it’s okay.

But what if it’s not? What if not all healthy foods are actually lactogenic?

One likely candidate (healthy but not lactogenic) is the avocado. Though a wonderful food, delicious, nutrient-rich and healthy, does avocado, in fact, support milk supply?

I had chronic low milk supply with each of my four babies and my supply was very sensitive to the foods that I ate. Sadly, I found that avocado did not support my supply. In fact, I would notice a decrease in my supply on the days that I ate avocado.

Through my studies, I learned that anti-lactogenic foods are often acidic or astringent – they tighten, narrow and constrict tissues in the body. Lactogenic foods do the opposite: they soften, soothe and open the tissues of the body.

Avocado can have an acidic taste and astringent mouth feel. On research databases, I learned that avocado does have some astringent components.

More importantly, I learned about “persin,” a toxin concentrated in the leaves of the avocado tree. When avocado leaves are fed to lactating animals, persin damages their mammary tissue leading to mastitis and loss of milk production.[1] [2]

Persin is also found in the avocado fruit, though not in high concentration. Still, it’s there.

Is this why my milk supply dropped whenever I ate avocado?

I don’t know. Without research, it’s just my own personal experience.

For more evidence, we can look at the world’s pharmacopeia, meaning, at records of how a food or herb is used in traditional societies around the world.

It turns out that the avocado is not named as a lactogenic food or a galactagogue in world medicine records. In contrast, the other fruit on my lactogenic foods and herbs list – figs, dates, papaya and mango – are all recorded in world medicine as galactagogues.

Now we have a degree of evidence that avocados are not lactogenic. They are astringent, they contain persin, and they are not included as a galactagogue in the world pharmacopeia.

Because of this, I would not include avocado on any list that is meant for mothers with true low milk supply – as from anemia, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, diabetes, PCOS, IGT, obesity or thyroid condition.

For me personally, if I were struggling to build my supply for any reason, I would avoid eating avocado until my supply fully stabilized.

Are you a mother who struggled to build her supply, and did so easily including avocado in your diet? Join me on my Mother Food facebook page and comment on this post. I’m eager for your feedback.


[1] Oelrichs, P.B., Ng J.C., Seawright A.A., Ward A., Schäffeler L., Macleod J.K. Isolation and identification of a compound from avocado (Persea americana) leaves which causes necrosis of the acinar epithelium of the lactating mammary gland and the myocardium. Natural Toxins. Volume 3, Issue 5 Sept/Oct 1995, pg 344-349

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persin