Avocado Oil: Healthiest Oil on the Planet?

Avocado oil - Dr. Axe

We rank the benefit-rich avocado as one of the top five healthiest foods, so it’s not surprising that we also rank avocado oil as one of the healthiest oils.

What is avocado oil good for? Considering it’s a great source of healthy fats and nutrients — including vitamin E — studies have found avocado oil benefits include helping with prevention of:

  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high triglyceride levels
  • skin issues, such as psoriasis

Products made with the oil of avocado fruit have even received prescription drug status in France because of their 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 (Persea americana), a tree native to the Western Hemisphere spanning from Mexico south to the Andean regions.

Oil from avocados is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from seeds.

Why is avocado oil healthy? Avocado pulp produces an oil full of healthy fats, including oleic acid and essential fatty acids.

Compared to highly processed and rancid vegetable oils like soybean, cottonseed and safflower oils, avocado oil nutrition includes a high level of monounsaturated fats, which make it a heart-nourishing replacement for these hazardous yet commonly consumed oils.

As a 2019 study published in Antioxidants reported there’s potential for avocado to aid in the prevention and treatment of cancer, microbial, inflammatory, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Benefits

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 treat digestive disease, neurological issues, autoimmune conditions and reduce inflammation.

Here’s more about some of the many benefits of avocado oil:

1. Can Help Normalize Blood Pressure

Oil from avocados is a smart choice if you are looking for natural ways to lower your blood pressure or maintain 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 Association found evidence that in the setting of a healthful diet, partial substitution of carbohydrates with either protein or monounsaturated fat can further lower blood pressure, improve lipid levels and reduce estimated cardiovascular risk.

2. May Help Improve 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. It 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. Beneficial for Psoriasis Symptoms and Other Skin Problems

It’s estimated that over 8 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 in this study used the avocado oil product for 12 weeks and showed consistent improvements in symptoms 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 involving both animals and humans also reveals that oil from avocados can promote wound healing when used topically and can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the skin.

Why is avocado oil good for the skin exactly? Its rich supply of healthy fats makes it a natural moisturizer — plus it contains vitamins, such as vitamin E, that help soothe skin.

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.)

4. Promotes Heart Health and May Help 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.

Research suggests that oleic acid, like other omega-9s, can help reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing inflammation and 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) as well.

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
  • insulin sensitivity

Guide to avocado oil - Dr. Axe

5. Supports 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 too.

6. Can Contribute to Fullness

In a small 2018 study, participants who were given meals containing high amounts of oleic acid, a a fatty acid that occurs naturally in avocados, significantly increased fullness and reduced desire to eat, which contributed to decreased food intake.

On the other hand, participants given meals containing high amounts of linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid) experienced increased ghrelin levels, a hormone that encourages food intake.

7. Has Antioxidant-Like Effects

A 2020 animal study uncovered evidence showing that avocado oil can help with detoxification and antioxidant genes expression.

It seems to positively affect glutathione metabolism, reduce expression of genes that trigger inflammatory processes and has antioxidant-like activity. According to the study’s conclusion, avocado oil extract “significantly inhibited p65 nuclear antioxidant activity, induction of antioxidant gene expression, anti-inflammatory activity, and autophagy activation.”

8. Safer Cooking Oil

Oils like flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oil are very nutrient-dense, but they are not recommended for cooking.

The awesome thing about oil from avocados is that it’s not only a superfood oil that can be used in uncooked items like salads and dips, but it’s also highly recommended for cooking.

Why is avocado oil a good cooking oil? It all comes down to having a high “smoke point.”

The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which the oil starts to visibly smoke in the pan. 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, which is estimated to be 480 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius), makes it a top choice as a cooking oil. This can help you avoid the free radical release that comes with using an oil for cooking that has too low of a smoke point.

Nutrition Facts

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 thiamine, 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:

  • 125 calories
  • 14 grams of fat (1.5 grams saturated fat, the rest monounsaturated and polyunsaturated)
  • 0 grams carbohydrates, sugar or sodium
  • 3.6 milligrams vitamin E (23 percent DV)

Avocado oil nutrition’s 14 grams of fat are about 22 percent of the recommended daily fat intake. Although that fat percentage might seem high, the fatty acid profile looks like this: About 10 of the 14 grams are healthy monounsaturated fat, and two grams are polyunsaturated fat (also a healthy fat).

Avocado Oil vs. Olive Oil

Is avocado oil better for you than olive oil?

When it comes to avocado oil vs. olive oil, the two offer many of the same benefits, since they are both high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E (although virgin olive oil contains slightly more vitamin E). Both are linked to support for cardiovascular health, reduced inflammation and improvements in skin health.

Two key differences between these two oils are their tastes and their smoke points. Olive oil tastes more like olives, while oil from avocados that is unrefined (cold-pressed) has a natural avocado-like taste and color.

Like avocado oil, olive oil comes in different forms, including pure, virgin or extra virgin. Virgin and extra virgin olive oil are extracted through cold-pressing and are thought to be most beneficial — however they are more susceptible to damage when cooked with at high heats, so they are best used as dipping oils or for drizzling on foods.

Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil. Its smoke point is estimated to be 480°F (250°C), while olive oil has a smoke point of about 375°F (191°C).

Therefore it’s a better choice to use avocado oil when roasting, baking or grilling.

How to Use

Whether you are purchasing it for culinary or beauty purposes, make sure you purchase an avocado oil that is 100 percent pure. You can find products made with 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 health food stores, major supermarkets and online.

Cooking:

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 avocado oil for hair and skin.

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.

Recipes:

Ready for some delicious recipes that include avocado oil nutrition? Here are just a few to get you started:

Want to 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.

Risks and Side Effects

If you are allergic to avocado, then unfortunately you will have to avoid all products containing avocado oil, both for culinary or medicinal and internal use.

In addition, people with latex allergies are more at risk of being allergic to avocado and avocado oil products. 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.

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 which types of oils are best for you to consume.

Conclusion

  • Avocado oil is made from avocados, which are fruits rich in healthy fats. The fats are monounsaturated fatty acids along with some polyunsaturated fatty acids, both known for their health benefits.
  • This oil is a healthier choice than highly processed and refined oils like canola oil — plus oil made from avocados has a higher smoke point than olive oil so it’s a better choice for cooking, especially with higher heat.
  • Benefits include improved nutrient absorption, which helps to boost things like eye health and immunity. Other benefits include decreasing blood pressure, improving heart health and helping skin conditions like psoriasis.
  • Uses are not limited to the kitchen, but also include skin and hair applications, especially if you struggle with dryness.
  • Avocado oil vs. olive oil, which is better for you? Both can add healthy fats to your diet, but avocado oil can be cooked with at higher temps.
  • Look for avocado oil that is 100 percent pure with no additives.

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