The avocado is an unusual fruit. Unlike most fruits, it's rich in healthy fats & antioxidants.
Studies have found avocado oil benefits to include the prevention of the development of diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglyceride levels, and obesity.
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, including oleic acid and essential fatty acids.
Avocado oil is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit, making it one of the few edible oils not derived from seed. 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. 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.
Avocado Oil 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, the 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.
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.
2. 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.
3. Help with Weight Loss and Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Avocados are low in carbohydrates, which means they have little effect on blood sugar levels. A recent study published in Nutrition Journal evaluated the effects of adding half an avocado to the standard lunch of healthy, overweight people. They discovered that avocados do not significantly impact blood sugar levels.
Part of what makes avocados a good choice for people with diabetes is that, although they are low in carbs, they are high in fiber. Many other high-fiber foods may still spike blood sugar levels.
Losing weight — even a little — can increase your insulin sensitivity and reduce the likelihood that you will develop serious complications.
The healthy fats found in avocado can help you feel full for longer. In one study, after adding half an avocado to their lunches, participants had a 26 percent increase in meal satisfaction and a 40 percent decrease in desire to eat more.
When you feel full longer after meals, you are less likely to snack and consume extra calories.
The healthy fat in avocados, called monounsaturated fat, can also help your body use insulin more effectively.
A 2007 study evaluated different weight loss plans in people with decreased insulin sensitivity. The researchers found that a weight loss diet high in monounsaturated fats improves insulin sensitivity in a way not seen in a comparable high-carb diet.
4. 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 the 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.
Therefore, consider avocado oil as a valuable addition to an arthritis diet.
5. Help Prevent Gum Disease
Extracts from avocado and soybean oil may not only be beneficial against arthritis.
Some evidence suggests that this combination may also help prevent periodontal disease, also called gum disease.
This inflammatory disease can include symptoms like red and bleeding gums, bad breath and the breakdown of bone and tissue around teeth.
In worst case scenarios, it can cause tooth loss.
According to a study in bone cells and periodontal tissue, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables may block a protein called IL1B.
This protein promotes inflammation and is the main driver of tissue destruction and bone loss in gum disease.
6. High in Lutein, an Antioxidant That has Benefits for The Eyes
Avocado oil is a relatively good source of lutein, a carotenoid that's naturally found in your eyes.
It functions as an antioxidant that has benefits for eye health.
Eating plenty of lutein may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common age-related eye diseases.
Your body doesn't produce lutein, so you must obtain it from your diet.
7. 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.
8. 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.
Avocado oil has also been studied for its ability to treat skin injuries and accelerate wound healing.
Here are a few ways to add Avocado Oil to your Diet
- Add a tablespoon to a smoothie.
- Drizzle over a salad.
- Use it as a marinade for grilling meat.
- Include it when baking.
- Use it in homemade mayo.
- Drizzle it over vegetables before roasting.
- Top hummus & labneh off with it.
- Drizzle it over cold soups, such as gazpacho.