One Family Is Using an Avocado-Heavy Diet to Help Treat Childhood Epilepsy
Amidst their surge in popularity, avocados have been billed as a superfood packed with monosaturated fat. And though its nutritional benefits have frequently been blown out of proportion (especially when its cost is considered), the case of one epileptic child shows that avocados can sometimes have the power to change lives for the better.
Claire and Justin Liu's daughter Leafy had her first seizure when she was under a year old. At the peak of her troubles, she suffered up to sixty epileptic episodes a day. Even a move from the UK to warmer weather in Australia couldn’t turn things around.
What eventually did was the switch to a ketogenic diet, and the high-fat attributes of the avocado fit its parameters perfectly. The Lius decided to give keto a go, planning to fall back on medication if the dietary switch didn’t produce results. But within a few days of switching to avocados and other low-carb foods, her seizure symptoms had drastically subsided.
Now, hardly a day goes by where the five year old doesn’t have at least half an avocado with lunch. “Leafy is at risk of being put off of avocados really, it's been a major staple for quite a while particular for lunches,” Claire Liu told the Leicester Mercury, “they're really handy.” It’s worked so well that the whole family has joined in on an avo-heavy dietary approach.
While ketogenic diets have been in vogue as a fad approach to weight loss in the 21st century, they’ve been used as a form of epilepsy treatment since the 1920’s. But of course, the cultural ubiquity of avocados has added a new green wrinkle to the dietary approach. Still, the Epilepsy Society says that "Dietary treatments for epilepsy must only be followed with the support of an experienced epilepsy specialist and dietitian," which means this isn’t the sort of dietary journey that anyone should handle alone.
But with Leafy down to just a few seizures a year, the Liu family is no doubt willing to defend the much-maligned food trend that keeps millennials from buying houses. At least their low-carb diet prevents them from overpaying for avocado toast.