Avocado is considered to be a superfood thanks to its many health benefits. But have you heard about or used avocado oil? While avocado oil not as well known as avocados, it is just as nutritious and tasty.
Extracted from the pulp of the avocado, this oil is rich in healthy fats including oleic acid and healthy fatty acids.
In this article, we will learn more about avocado oil and its various health benefits.
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is an edible oil that is cold pressed from the flesh of ripe avocados. Almost 70 percent of avocado oil consists of oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.
It can be used as any other oil to add flavor to salads. Unlike olive oil, avocado oil has a high smoke point so you can use it for baking or for cooking vegetables or proteins.
History of avocado oil
The avocado tree (Persea Americana) is native to Mexico, regions where the Aztec culture was established. The earliest archeological records of the existence of avocados came from Coxcatlan in Mexico in approximately 10,000 BC.
They were cultivated by Mesoamerican people since 5000 BC. During colonization, European conquerors introduced avocado to the rest of the world.
A horticulturist named Henry Perrine first planted an avocado tree in Florida in 1833. It is believed that he was the first person to introduce avocado to the mainland United States.
While avocado fruit has been eaten for thousands of years, avocado oil is a relatively new invention. The British Imperial Institute first drew attention to the possibility of extracting avocado oil in 1918.
In 1942 Howard T Love from the US Department of Agriculture first described the solvent extraction method of avocado oil. This method required significant refinement and heating to make the oil ready for commercial use.
In the 1990s the cold press method for extracting avocado oil for culinary use was developed in New Zealand.
Health benefits of avocado oil
1. Improves nutrient absorption
Avocado oil is rich in several nutrients inkling heart-healthy oleic acid and carotenoids. Usually, the foods rich in carotenoids like fruits and vegetables are low in fats. Carotenoids are fat-soluble antioxidants, and they depend on dietary fats for absorption.
According to a study by The Ohio State University, adding avocado oil to a salad enhances alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein absorption (1).
Dietary carotenoids provide many health benefits including decreasing the risk of specific cancer and eye diseases (2).
If you are looking for natural ways to reduce high blood pressure, adding avocado oil to your diet is a good choice. The monounsaturated fats in avocado oil have a beneficial effect on blood pressure as they replace the unhealthy saturated fats and trans fats in your diet.
Avocado oil is also rich in potassium and vitamin E, which help to keep the blood vessels healthy by eradicating free radicals.
Avocado oil also alters the levels of fatty oils in the kidneys, which affects how they respond to hormones that regulate blood pressure.
Avocado oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that help to prevent damage to arterial walls, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
According to a study from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, partial substitution of carbohydrate with protein or monounsaturated fat can lower blood pressure, improve lipid levels, and reduce cardiovascular risk (3).
3. Lowers cholesterol
Avocado oil contains oleic acid, which is highly beneficial for heart health. It raises the levels of HDL and lowers LDL.
During a 2014 study, rats were divided into groups and given different diets including avocado oil. The results showed that avocado oil reduces triglyceride, very low-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoproteins, without affecting high-density lipoprotein levels (4).
Studies have also shown that dietary monounsaturated fats reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Evidence from surveys has shown that monounsaturated fatty acids can lower the risk of clot formation, in vitro LDL oxidative susceptibility and insulin sensitivity (5).
4. Prevents age-related macular degeneration
Avocado oil is an excellent source of lutein, which is a carotenoid pigment that plays a vital role in eye health (6).
Lutein protects the macula from damage by blue light, improves visual acuity and scavenges harmful reactive oxygen species. It also reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts (7).
Our body can not synthesize lutein, so we have to get it from the food and supplements. Avocado oil is a healthy source of lutein (8).
5. Reduces arthritis symptoms
Arthritis is a disease that causes painful swelling and inflammation of the joints. This common disease is associated with the breakdown of the cartilage in the joints.
In France, ASU has received prescription drug status as a treatment for knee and hip osteoarthritis. ASU is being marketed as a food supplement in Denmark thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to stimulate cartilage growth and repairDenmark.
The combination of avocado and soybean oil that is helpful for arthritis symptoms also helps prevent gum disease. The ASU block a protein called interleukin-1beta, which helps in preventing the bone loss that happens if periodontal disease is left untreated (11).
The blocked protein causes inflammation in the gums, which can lead to red and bleeding gums, bad breath and it can also destroy the bone cells and periodontal tissues. It some cases it can also cause loss of teeth.
7. Improves skin health
Avocado oil is a rich source in nutrients like vitamin E, potassium and lecithin, which help to nourish and moisturize the skin. The antioxidants in avocado oil also help to treat dry and flaky skin associated with eczema and psoriasis.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the redness and inflammation associated with acne. You can also apply avocado oil on your skin to soothe sunburn.
According to a 2011 review, avocado oil is rich in vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin D, protein, lecithin and fatty acids that soothe and protect the skin (12).
The healthy fatty acids found in avocados also help soothe the skin.
8. Accelerates wound healing
Avocado oil is also very helpful in accelerating wound healing. The essential fatty acids in this oil help to reduce inflammation during the healing process.
According to a 2013 study on rats, avocado oil can increase collagen synthesis and decrease the numbers of inflammatory cells during wound-healing and should thus be considered a new option for treating skin wounds (13).
Other uses of avocado oil
Always purchase 100 percent pure, organic, unrefined, extra-virgin, cold-pressed avocado oil. You can easily find this oil at a health food store.
1. Healthy cooking
Avocado oil has a high smoke point. It can reach up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit without breaking down, which makes it ideal for cooking and baking at high temperatures.
2. Make-up Remover
Avocado oil makes an effective natural make-up remover. Just apply a few drops on a cotton ball and gently remove your make up.
If you have dry or damaged hair, avocado oil can work wonders. It contains lecithin which moisturizes and protects the hair and encourages new growth.
4. Weight loss
Avocado oil contains oleic acid which can reduce abdominal fat, which also decreases the risk of metabolic syndrome. Many nutrients in avocado oil can reduce appetite.
5. Heals cracked heels and dry cuticles
The moisturizing properties of avocado oil help to heal cracked heels and dry cuticles. Gently apply this oil to your cuticles to help treat them. Massage some avocado oil on your feet every day for a few days to keep them moisturized and heal the cracks.
Side effects of avocado oil
Avocado oil can cause an allergic reaction in some people. The symptoms include rashes and itching. If you are allergic to avocados, you should avoid avocado oil as well.
People with latex allergies can also be allergic to avocado oil. Fruits like avocados, bananas, chestnuts, kiwis, and passion fruit contain the same allergens that are found in latex.
Avocado oil has been known to reduce the effectiveness of Warfarin, which is used to slow down blood clotting. If you are taking blood thinners like Warfarin, consult with your doctor before you use avocado oil.
Avocado oil is an edible oil that is cold pressed from the flesh of ripe avocados. It is a beneficial and versatile product that can help to improve your life in different ways.
It improves your internal health by increasing nutrient absorption, lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, fighting arthritis, preventing age-related macular degeneration and preventing gum disease.
It also helps to improve your skin, protects you from sun damage, improves your hair health, treats dry cuticles and heals cracked feet.
You must avoid using this oil if you are allergic to avocados or latex. If you are taking blood thinners, consult with your doctor before you take avocado oil.
Always buy pure, organic, cold-pressed avocado oil from a reputable health store.