How much do you know about the health benefits of avocado oil?
For many years, olive oil has reigned supreme as the healthiest of all the oils. Experts have recommended it to everyone thanks to its apparent benefits for your heart and your brain. Then, coconut oil swooped in and stole the spotlight. There are so many amazing benefits of avocado oil, however, and it definitely deserves a spot in your oil rotation.
The Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
Unlike many other oils, avocado oil does not come from a seed. Instead, we get the oil by pressing the flesh that immediately surrounds the pit . This oil is rich in oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. In fact, avocado oil is 70% oleic acid .
Thanks to its impressive nutritional profile, there are many benefits of avocado oil. Although it is not as well-known as olive oil, you should consider adding it into your diet for the following reasons:
1. Extracts from Avocado May Reduce Arthritis Symptoms
Arthritis, which causes inflammation in the joints, can be a debilitating and painful disease. Unfortunately, it affects millions of people worldwide. Avocado oil may help relieve some of these symptoms.
Studies have found that extracts from avocado and soybean oil, called avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASUs), may reduce pain and stiffness in the joints for people with Arthritis. ASU appears to be particularly beneficial for people with osteoarthritis in their knees and hips .
2. It May Be a Beneficial Treatment for Certain Skin Problems
The fatty acid content of avocado oil seems to provide many benefits to your skin. For this reason, an increasing number of topical skin treatments containing avocado oil are appearing on store shelves.
It may provide particular benefit to people suffering with psoriasis. A 2001 study involving thirteen patients found that a cream containing vitamin B12 and avocado oil improved symptoms of psoriasis after twelve weeks of treatment .
Some studies on rats have also shown that avocado oil can promote wound healing in rats . This makes it a possible topical treatment for minor wounds in humans.
3. It Can Help Reduce Cholesterol and Improve Heart Health
Its oleic acid content is one of the primary reasons behind the health benefits of avocado oil. Several animal studies have shown that one of these benefits is lowering cholesterol.
One 2014 study on rats showed that oleic acid reduces the risk of heart disease. It does this by decreasing inflammation and raising your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (aka the “good” cholesterol). At the same time, it lowers your levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol .
4. Avocado Oil Improves Nutrient Absorption
There are many important nutrients that need fat in order for your body to absorb them. Among these nutrients is a group of antioxidants called carotenoids. They are found in many plant foods, however those foods are typically low in fat.
According to one 2005 study, consuming avocado oil with these nutrients can significantly improve your body’s ability to absorb them. The study found that when participants put avocado oil on a salad of carrots, romaine lettuce, and spinach, their absorption of carotenoids went up substantially .
5. Avocado Oil is Good For Your Eyes
One of the many health benefits of avocado oil is improving the health of your eyes. This is because it contains an important carotenoid called lutein .
Lutein acts as an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases like cataracts or macular degeneration [9,10]. Because your body doesn’t produce lutein, you have to get it from your diet. Avocado oil is a good source of this vital nutrient.
6. It May Help Prevent Gum Disease
Not only do ASUs help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, but they may also play a role in preventing gum disease.
ILB1 is a protein that promotes inflammation and is one of the main causes of tissue degradation and bone loss in gum disease. A 2006 study found that ASUs may block the action of ILB1, thereby working to help prevent gum disease .
7. Avocado Oil is Safer for Cooking
While you can eat avocado oil cold (for example, as a salad dressing), it also makes a great cooking oil. This is because the fatty acids it contains are stable at high heat.
In other words, it has a high “smoke point”. This refers to the temperature at which the structure of the oil begins to break down. You know you’ve reached this point when the oil starts to visibly smoke in the pan. When this happens, the oil loses nutrients and flavor, and can create free radical compounds that are dangerous to your health .
Avocado Versus Olive Oil
The health benefits of avocado oil are very similar to those belonging to olive oil. They are both high in monounsaturated fats and can improve cardiovascular and skin health, and can reduce inflammation.
The main differences between the two oils come down to flavor and smoke point. Not surprisingly, olive oil tastes mildly like olives, while avocado oil is going to have an avocado-like flavor. In this case, your choice may simply come down to personal preference.
When cooking higher heats, however, avocado oil is a better option because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil. For this reason, you may want to reserve your olive oil for salads and low heat saute and avocado oil for most other things in the frying pan .
What is “Avofraud”?
As people have become more aware of the health benefits of avocado oil, it has begun to rise in popularity. Unfortunately, this has also given rise to “avofraud”.
A recent study out of the University of California, Davis, found that 82 percent of avocado oils being sold in the United States had either gone “off” before their best-before date, or manufacturers had cut them with cheaper oils.
The study analysed 22 extra-virgin, refined, and virgin samples of avocado oil. The researchers found that fifteen of them were rancid, and manufacturers had diluted six of them with other oils. These oils included safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil. Three of the samples, which were labeled as avocado oil, were actually one hundred percent soybean oil .
The oils will not not provide the health benefits you are hoping to get from avocado oil.
How to Choose the Right Avocado Oil
If you want to reap the full health benefits of avocado oil, you should look for an oil that’s cold-pressed. As for how to avoid avofraud? The researchers have a few pointers:
- Smell it. If you already have a bottle of avocado oil at home, you can tell if it’s gone off by giving it a sniff. If it smells like play-doh, it has oxidized. Like any oil, avocado oil will lose its health benefits when you expose it to light, heat, or air. Look for a dark, opaque bottle, and always store your oils in a cool, dark place.
- Look at the color. Virgin oil should be green, refined should be light yellow.
- Taste it. If you can taste it before you buy it, you should be able to tell if it’s real. The flavor can vary depending on where it comes from, but in general, the researchers said it should taste “grassy, buttery and a little bit like mushrooms.” 
Once you find a good avocado oil, however, you will enjoy the many benefits of this amazing oil.
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