Thanks to the delicious dip known as guacamole, most likely you are familiar with the beloved avocado. But have you ever tried avocado oil or did you even know it existed?
We previously ranked the benefit-rich avocado as one of the top five healthiest foods so it’s not surprising that we would also rank avocado oil has one of the top five healthiest oils on the planet! Studies have found avocado oil benefits to include the prevention of the development of diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, and obesity.
The oil of avocado fruit has even received prescription drug status in France because of its proven ability to counter the negative effects of arthritis. This is just one of the many reasons to start stocking this oil alongside coconut oil in your cupboard, for both cooking as well as raw foods.
What Is Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is produced from the fruit of the avocado tree. An avocado is the fruit of the avocado tree or Persea americana, a tree native to the Western Hemisphere from Mexico south to the Andean regions.
Oil from an avocado is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from seed. Is avocado oil healthy? Avocado pulp produces an oil full of healthy fats, including oleic acid and essential fatty acids.
It’s a good idea to stop using genetically modified canola oil and other highly processed and rancid oils like soybean, cottonseed and safflower oils. Avocado oil nutrition includes a high level of monounsaturated fat, which make it a heart-nourishing replacement for these hazardous yet commonly consumed oils.
The oil that comes from avocados makes the list for a low FODMAPs diet and it’s also on the GAPS diet food list, which is a meal plan designed to help heal digestive disease, neurological issues, reduce inflammation and heal autoimmune conditions.
Unlike most fruits that are high in carbohydrates, avocados are uniquely high in healthy fats. Avocados don’t contain any cholesterol or trans fats and are rich in vitamin E. These nutritionally-dense fruits also contain vital nutrients like thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin A.
In some varieties of avocados, the flesh contains as much as 25 percent unsaturated oil. Avocado oil nutrition does not come with all of the nutrients of an avocado fruit itself. However, a high-quality avocado oil is one of the healthier choices of cooking oil, especially for high heat.
The unrefined oil that comes from an avocado is typically green in color with a rich, fatty odor. If the oil is refined, then it has a yellowish color and smells less strong.
One tablespoon of 100 percent pure avocado oil contains about:
- 130 calories
- 0 grams protein
- 14 grams of fat
- 0 grams carbohydrate
- 0 grams sugar
- 0 grams sodium
Avocado oil nutrition’s 14 grams of fat are about is 22 percent of the recommended daily fat intake. Although that fat percentage might seem high, the fatty acid profile looks like this: 9 of the 14 grams are healthy monounsaturated fat and 2.5 grams are polyunsaturated fat (also a healthy fat).
Is avocado oil good for you? Some of the potential benefits of avocado oil include:
1. Reduces Blood Pressure
Oil from avocados is a smart choice if you are looking for natural ways to lower your blood pressure or to maintain a healthy blood pressure. The monounsaturated fats found in this oil can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and hence your heart when eaten in moderation and when used to replace saturated fat and trans fat in your diet.
One study published in The Journal of the American Medical Associationfound that in the setting of a healthful diet, partial substitution of carbohydrate with either protein or monounsaturated fat can further lower blood pressure, improve lipid levels and reduce estimated cardiovascular risk.
2. Improves Arthritis Symptoms
Another one of the many potential benefits of avocado oil is improvement in joint related disease such as arthritis, which causes swelling and pain in the joints. It can either be classified as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage between joints wears down causing inflammation and pain.
In France, ASU is an extract made from a combination of avocado and soybean oil extracts, which has received prescription drug status as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis. In Denmark, ASU is marketed as a food supplement for its anti-inflammatory effects and its ability to stimulate cartilage growth and repair.
ASU has been examined in vitro and in animal studies, both of which have shown an anti-inflammatory effect and a stimulatory effect on molecules in connective tissue. Four randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials have been published and these studies demonstrate how ASU has a positive effect on the symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis.
Therefore, you may want to consider the oil derived form avocados to be a valuable addition to an arthritis diet.
3. Helps Psoriasis and Other Skin Problems
It’s estimated that over eight million people in the U.S. struggle with psoriasis. You can develop psoriasis at any age. It’s a common skin problem that causes a buildup of rough, dry, dead skin cells. Areas of psoriasis look like raised, reddish-pink areas covered with silvery scales and red borders.
A study published in the journal Dermatology, provides evidence that a vitamin B12 cream containing avocado oil has considerable potential as a well-tolerated, long-term topical therapy for psoriasis. Psoriasis patients used the avocado oil cream for 12 weeks and showed consistent improvement throughout the study period.
Avocado oil’s ability to play a vital role in a psoriasis diet is a substantial finding for sufferers of chronic plaque psoriasis since common treatments are often associated with a significant risk of undesirable side effects.
Research using animal subjects also reveals that oil from avocados can promote wound healing when used topically.
4. Boosts Heart Health and Lower Cholesterol
The oil that comes from avocados is a cholesterol-lowering food because it’s high in monounsaturated oleic acid content, making it a beneficial choice when it comes to the heart.
Oleic acid, like other omega-9s, can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the body’s “good cholesterol.” The oleic acid in oil from avocados is also beneficial because it can lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the body’s “bad” cholesterol.
There is epidemiological evidence that the dietary monounsaturated fatty acids in oil from avocados have a beneficial effect on the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Evidence from controlled clinical studies has shown that monounsaturated fatty acids favorably affect a number of risk factors for CHD, including cholesterol and triglyceride levels, factors related to blood clot formation, in vitro LDL oxidative susceptibility and insulin sensitivity.
5. Better Nutrient Absorption
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the addition of avocado oil nutrition to a meal can boost the absorption of carotenoids in food. Carotenoids are health-promoting antioxidants that are fat-soluble and depend on dietary fats for absorption.
The study found that the addition of avocado oil to a salad significantly enhanced alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein absorption. Dietary carotenoids are thought to provide significant health benefits to the human body by decreasing the risk of disease, including eye disease and some types of cancer.
So in addition to the healthy fats you can get from avocado oil nutrition, you can also up your absorption of other valuable nutrients!
6. Safer Cooking Oil
Oils like flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oil are very nutrient dense, but they cannot be used for cooking. The awesome thing about oil from avocados is that it’s not only a superfood oil that can used in uncooked items like salads and dips, but it’s also highly recommended for cooking.
When using any oil for cooking, it is very important to consider the smoke point (the temperature at which the oil starts to be visibly smoking in the pan) of the oil. Even a healthy oil like benefit-rich olive oil becomes unhealthy when it meets its smoke point and begins to release free radicals.
When an oil reaches its smoke point, the structure of the oil begins to break down, nutrients are lost, flavor is changed and most dangerously, free radical compounds can be created that are damaging to your health.
Avocado oil’s high smoke point makes it a top choice as a cooking oil that can help you to avoid the free radical release that comes with using an oil for cooking that has too low of a smoke point.
How to Use
Whether you are purchasing it for culinary or beauty purposes, make sure you are purchasing an avocado oil that is 100 percent pure. You can find the pure oil made from avocados at your nearest grocery store or health store.
Avocados make the Clean Fifteen™ list, but you can opt to buy organic avocado oil if you’d like. Organic extra virgin avocado oil can be found in stores and online.
When it comes to cooking with avocado oil, the unrefined version of the oil has a medium smoke point, so it’s better suited for lower-heat cooking or unheated recipes, such as a dressing or dipping oil. Refined avocado oil is often used for high-heat cooking because of its very high smoke point of at least 400ºF.
When it comes to internal consumption of avocado oil, it can be used the same way you would use olive oil. Use it in place of another oil in your favorite homemade dressing, drizzle it on a sandwich, toss vegetables in the oil for roasting or use it in your next sautéed creation. The possibilities are quite endless. You can even use the oil for skin and hair.
Unopened oil made from avocados has a shelf life of about 24 months while opened oil is best used within six months of opening. Always store oil in a cool dry place away from heat and light.
Ready for some delicious recipes that include avocado oil nutrition? Here are just a few to get you started:
When used topically by itself or as a carrier oil for a DIY recipe, avocado oil is typically recommended for normal to try skin (oily skin tends to do better with a lighter oil like jojoba).
Want experience avocado oil benefits for skin while also reducing stress? Try this recipe for Homemade Magnesium Body Butter which includes the oil as a main ingredient.
Side Effects and Drug Interactions
If you are allergic to avocado, then unfortunately you will have to avoid avocado oil for culinary or medicinal internal use as well as external use such as for skin and hair.
In addition, people with latex allergies can be allergic to avocado and avocado oil. Latex allergy is related to certain foods such as avocados, bananas, chestnuts, kiwis and passion fruit because these foods contain some of the same allergens found in latex. If you’re allergic to latex, then you have a greater chance of also being allergic to avocado oil, unfortunately!
In terms of interactions with other medications, oil derived from avocados may react with warfarin, a blood thinner that is used to slow blood clotting. If you are taking any blood thinners, check with your doctor to discuss your internal intake of avocado oil.
- Avocado oil for cooking is a healthier choice than highly processed and refined oils like canola oil.
- Avocado oil uses are not limited to the kitchen, but also include skin and hair applications, especially if you struggle with dryness.
- If you’re comparing avocado oil vs olive oil, both can add healthy fats to your diet, but oil made from avocados has a higher smoke point than olive oil so it’s a better choice for cooking, especially with higher heat.
- Avocado oil benefits include improved nutrient absorption which help to boost things like eye health and even ward off cancer. Other benefits include decrease blood pressure, improved heart health and help for skin conditions like psoriasis.
- Avocado oil nutrition includes a high fat content, but the fat content of this fruit-sourced oil is mainly monounsaturated fatty acid along with some polyunsaturated fatty acid, both known for their health benefits.
- Look for pure avocado oil that is 100 percent pure with no additives.