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?
I previously ranked the benefit-rich avocado as one of the top five healthiest foods so it’s not surprising that I 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. (1)
Avocado oil has even received prescription drug status in France because of its proven ability to counter the negative effects of arthritis! (2) 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.
Why Avocado Oil Is Superior to Most Other Oils
Avocado oil is produced from the fruit (avocado) of the avocado tree. Avocado oil is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from seed. This pulp produces an oil full of healthy fats, including oleic acid and essential fatty acids.
Oils like flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oil are very nutrient dense, but they cannot be used for cooking. The awesome thing about avocado oil 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 reaches its smoke point. 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, compounds can be created that are damaging to your health. Avocado oil’s high smoke point make it a top choice in your kitchen every day of the week.
Additionally, I’ve mentioned before that you absolutely must stop using genetically modified canola oil and other highly processed and rancid oils like soybean, cottonseed and safflower oils. Avocado oil’s high level of monounsaturated fat make it a heart-nourishing replacement for these hazardous yet commonly consumed oils.
Origin of Avocado Oil & Its Nutritional Power
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. Avocado fruits have greenish or yellowish flesh with a buttery consistency and a very rich, nutty taste. Avocados are rich in thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin A, and in some varieties the flesh contains as much as 25 percent unsaturated oil.
Unlike most fruits that are high in carbohydrates, avocados are uniquely high in healthy fats. (3) 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 avocado oil contains about 124 calories and 14 grams of fat, which is 21 percent of the recommended daily fat intake. (4) (5) Although that fat percentage might seem high, 9.9 of the 14 grams are monounsaturated healthy fat and 1.9 grams are polyunsaturated fat (also a healthy fat). Avocados don’t contain any cholesterol or trans fats and are rich in vitamin E.
5 Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
Avocado oil 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 avocado 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 Association found 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. (6)
2. Improves Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis is a joint disease that 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. This type of arthritis generally occurs in the joints we most frequently use, such as the knees, hips, spine and hands. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune dysfunction where the white blood cells actually destroy the cartilage.
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 indicate that ASU has a positive effect on the symptoms of knee and hip osteoarthritis. (7)
Therefore, consider avocado oil to a valuable addition to an arthritis diet.
3. Benefits Psoriasis & Other Skin Problems
More than 6 million people in the United States have psoriasis. You can develop psoriasis at any age, though it tends to come on during adolescence and old age. Psoriasis is a common skin problem where people have a buildup of rough, dry, dead skin cells. They look like raised, reddish-pink areas covered with silvery scales and red borders.
A 2001 study published in Dermatology, provided 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. That avocado oil can 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. (8) (9)
4. Improve Heart Health & Lower Cholesterol
Avocado oil 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 avocado oil is also beneficial because it can lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the body’s “bad” cholesterol.
There is epidemiological evidence that dietary monounsaturated fatty acids 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. (10)
5. Boosts Nutrient Absorption
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the addition of avocado oil 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, particularly certain cancers and eye disease. (11) (12)
History & Interesting Facts About Avocado Oil
The avocado originated in Mexico, Central or South America, and was first cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C. The first English language mention of avocado was in 1696. In 1871, avocados were first introduced to the U.S. in Santa Barbara, California, with trees from Mexico. (13)
It has been said that the British Imperial Institute in England drew attention to the possibility of using avocado oil for edible purposes in 1918. The California State Chamber of Commerce reported in 1934 that companies in California used culled and blemished fruit for avocado oil extraction purposes.
How to Buy & Use Avocado Oil
Whether you are purchasing avocado for culinary or beauty purposes, make sure you are purchasing an avocado oil that is 100 percent pure. You can find avocado oil at your nearest grocery store or health store. Any avocado oil is only as good as the avocados it’s made from. If you are looking to purchase the healthiest and highest quality avocado oil, then you should opt for one that is organic, extra virgin, unrefined and cold-pressed.
When it comes to cooking with avocado oil, unrefined avocado 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 a great choice 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 avocado oil in place of another oil in your favorite homemade dressing, drizzle it on a sandwich, toss vegetables in avocado oil for roasting or use it in your next sautéed creation. The possibilities are quite endless.
Avocado oil also makes a potent beauty treatment for hair and skin. Throughout history avocado oil has been renowned for its healing and regenerating properties. Using avocado oil for hair, for example, is a surefire way to decrease dryness and improve texture.
Avocado oil should also be included in your natural skin care routine, as it’s an awesome choice for people with sensitive or problem skin as well as other irritations that require a vitamin-rich oil. The word is spreading on avocado oil for skin health, with uses ranging from improving dry skin to eye makeup removal. Simply apply a small amount of avocado oil to a cotton ball and swipe across the eyes to remove makeup. Leaving a little of the avocado oil behind is nothing to worry about since the remaining oil can help to diminish crow’s feet. You can also apply avocado oil to cracked heels and dry cuticles.
Unopened avocado oil has a shelf life of about 24 months while opened oil is best used within six months of opening. Always store avocado oil in a cool dry place away from heat and light.
Avocado Oil Recipes
When it comes to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), avocado oil makes the list for a low FODMAPs diet. Avocado is a therapeutic choice when it comes to the reduction and elimination of unpleasant IBS symptoms.
It also makes the GAPS diet food list, which is a meal plan designed to help heal digestive disease, neurological issues, reduce inflammation and heal autoimmune conditions. The GAPS diet incorporates the simplest foods for the body to digest so that the gut can heal and recover completely. It’s not surprising avocado oil makes this list since it is so pure and easy on the body.
You can also use avocado oil for to reduce stress and improve skin texture? Try my recipe for Homemade Magnesium Body Butter!
Possible Side Effects of Avocado Oil
If you are allergic to avocado, then unfortunately you will have to avoid avocado oil for internal or external use. 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, avocado has been reported to decrease the effectiveness of warfarin. Warfarin, also known by the brand name Coumadin among others, is 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.