Avocado oil contains a wealth of antioxidants and healthy fats that can benefit your health in a multitude of ways!
Experts say avocado oil can help you achieve your skin care goals, thanks to the rich stores of anti-inflammatory, free radical-scavenging antioxidants it offers up. While it can certainly be used topically (like coconut oil!), you can reap its beauty benefits by using it as a cooking oil too.
Thanks to its high smoke point, avocado oil is a wonderful choice for high-heat cooking. And its rich flavor makes it a wonderful option for salad dressings and sauces.
Read on to learn about the different types of fats found in avocado oil, top health benefits of avocado oil, exciting uses for avocado oil, and tips for selecting the best avocado oil.
Get the Deets on the Healthy Fats in Avocado Oil
Much of the excitement surrounding avocado oil has to do with the incredible quantities of healthy fats it contains. Hopefully, you already know the importance of incorporating plenty of essential fatty acids into your diet. Luckily, avocado oil is a superb source of two essential fatty acids: linolenic acid, which comes from omega-3 fatty acids, and oleic acid, which comes omega-9 fatty acids.
About 70% of the fat in avocado oil comes from oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that is also the primary fat found in olive oil. Researchers believe that many of the health benefits associated with olive oil (such as improved blood pressure) have to do with its oleic acid content.
The remainder of the fat in avocado oil splits almost equally into saturated fat (12%) and unsaturated fat (13%). Although avocado oil’s ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is fairly high (13:1), it contains a relatively low amount of omega-6 fatty acids, so there’s no need to be concerned about that ratio.
The Top 5 Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
Studies show that avocado oil benefits your health in a variety of ways. Here are five of the most exciting (and research-backed!) benefits of avocado oil.
1. Improves Cholesterol Levels
Multiple studies have shown that avocado oil can help improve your cholesterol levels and overall heart health.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition that compared the effects of avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and corn oil on blood cholesterol levels, avocado oil increases your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels—that’s the “good” kind.
A separate study analyzed how avocado oil impacts biochemical markers related to your risk of developing heart disease such as:
- Total cholesterol
- Low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
- High-density lipoproteins (HDL)
- Very low-density lipoprotein (VDL)
- Lactic dehydrogenase
- Creatine kinase
- High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
The study authors found that avocado oil can significantly reduce your triglyceride, LDL, and VLDL levels while leaving your HDL levels intact. It also decreased high-sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations, which is great news since that indicates it can not only lower inflammation in the body but also reverse some inflammatory processes.
Last but not least, it appears adding avocado oil to your diet can modify the fatty acid content in the membranes of your heart and kidneys, which positively influences your blood pressure among other health benefits.
2. Sharpens Eye Sight
Avocado oil contains high levels of important carotenoids, including lutein. Lutein is one of the two main pigments that protect your eyes from damage caused by blue light and sharpen your eyesight. And then there’s lutein’s powerful, free-radical scavenging antioxidant properties.
Studies show that lutein can reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as cataracts. Since your body does not produce lutein, it’s absolutely essential that you get an adequate supply from carotenoid-rich foods like avocado oil. As you grow older, this becomes even more important.
Avocado oil is a particularly wonderful way to get your lutein since, unlike most sources of carotenoids, it contains the fat your body needs for the proper absorption of carotenoids. In fact, researchers have paired avocado oil with other carotenoid-rich foods to enhance your body’s ability to absorb those crucial nutrients.
3. Relieves Arthritis Pain
Avocado oil has impressive anti-inflammatory benefits that make it a helpful natural treatment option for conditions such as arthritis, a disease that causes painful joint inflammation and affects millions of people around the world. The most common form of this chronic disease is osteoarthritis, which causes the breakdown of cartilage in your joints.
Multiple studies show that compounds found in avocado oil can reduce the pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis. It appears to be extra beneficial when it comes to treating hip and knee joint inflammation, according to findings published in the English edition of the Revue du Rhumatisme and other top journals.
4. Prevents Gum Disease
The root cause of periodontal disease, commonly called gum disease, is the same as arthritis: inflammation. In this case, research has shown that underlying inflammation leads to unpleasant symptoms like:
- Red, bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Degeneration of tissue surrounding your teeth
In the most severe instances, it can lead to tooth loss.
A study published in the Journal of Periodontology showed that avocado oil can block the action of a protein called IL1B. This protein is known to promote inflammation and has been identified as the main factor driving bone loss and tissue degeneration.
5. Fights Free Radicals
When free radicals, the waste products generated by cellular metabolism, build up in the body, they can result in a condition called oxidative stress. Studies show that oxidative stress can lead to the development of diabetes and heart disease.
Oxygen-derived radicals, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), just might be the most dangerous kind of free radical out there. Your mitochondria are the main creators of ROS.
Antioxidants like the ones found in avocado oil can neutralize free radicals, and avocado oil seems to be especially good at neutralizing ROS.
One study showed that avocado oil can actually enter your mitochondria, giving it a major advantage when it comes to fighting ROS free radicals.
How to Use Avocado Oil
Cooking is, hands down, the top use for avocado oil. It’s highly versatile and incredibly stable at high heat.
One study carried out a head-to-head comparison of avocado oil and olive oil. The researchers found that avocado oil contained higher concentrations of phytosterols as well as vitamin E after being heated.
Avocado oil is the perfect healthy fat to choose for high-heat cooking since its fatty acid content gives it a very high smoke point—520 °F. It’s also a perfect cooking oil because of its light, neutral flavor.
Here are five tips on how to add more healthy, fatty acid-rich avocado oil to your diet:
- Add a tablespoon to a smoothie.
- Use avocado oil as a base for a salad dressing.
- Mix avocado oil into a marinade for grilled meat.
- Toss veggies in avocado oil before roasting them.
- Drizzle some on top of your popcorn.
Picking the Best Avocado Oil
There are a few key considerations to keep in mind when it comes to choosing the best avocado oil. It’s not popular enough that you’re likely to find at least one brand on offer at your local grocery store. That may not be the best brand to pick, however.
To ensure you get an olive oil with the most monounsaturated fats in it, you’ll want to look for non-GMO, totally pure avocado oil.