Have you heard of Avocado Oil? It's not a new thing, but I only learned of its existence about it about a year ago when it seemed to explode in popularity.
Avocados are a food I sometimes can't get enough of, so it was only natural that avocado oil went on my “to try some day” list.
I saw it for the first time at (surprise!) my local Trader Joe's and immediately put it in my shopping cart. But then I realized I didn't have any idea how to use it, if it would taste weird or why it was supposed to be good for you.
So it sat in my pantry for a good long while before one day I found myself cooking something that called for vegetable oil, of which I had none. I started to reach for the olive oil instead when I saw the avocado oil bottle still sitting there, unopened. I figured that was as good a time as any to try it and see what it was all about.
Read on for my research and experience with avocado oil.
What to look for in an avocado oil
Organic, extra-virgin and unrefined are usually recommended because the avocado oil has gone through minimum processing. However it is good to be aware that naturally refined avocado oils will have a milder flavor. I don't see unrefined avocado oil as often.
As with all cooking oils, look for one in a dark glass container so that it is not exposed to as much light.
Store in cool dry place away from light and heat (i.e. not above stove). It supposedly doesn't go rancid as quickly as some other oils, but the general recommendation is to use within 6 months of opening.
How avocado oil is made
This is one of the few oils that is not derived from seed.. It's simply made from the pulp of avocados. My 16.9 ounce bottle says it was made from 10 pounds of avocados.
What avocado oil tastes like
This will depend on if you get refined or unrefined, but avocado oil has a very mild and delicate taste. With refined you don't really have to worry about it changing the taste of your food and unrefined might have a little more of the avocado taste. Some describe it as a buttery flavor but it depends on what you use it in for how much you will taste it.
Benefits of avocado oil
I should have known since avocado is so healthy itself, avocado oil is no different. Dr. Axe ranks it as one of the top 5 foods that can help combat diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. I even learned from his article that avocado oil has gained PRESCRIPTION STATUS in France to counter negative effects of arthritis!
Can you imagine if we had food as prescriptions in the U.S.? But I'm not going to get started on that topic (today).
Some of the benefits:
- Monounsaturated fats, which helps lower blood pressure.
- Anti-inflammatory effects (the reason it is used as treatment for arthritis in France).
- Vitamin B12. Helps with skin problems like psoriasis, healing sores and reducing skin damage.
- Monounsaturated oleic acid, an omega-9. This helps lower cholesterol and increase heart health. This is also the fatty acid found in olive oil.
- Helps increase absorption of nutrients like the antioxidants carotenoids which are found in vegetables such as carrots and spinach.
- Contains lutein, another antioxidant, which is good for eye health and may reduce risk of eye-aging diseases such as cataracts.
- May block a protein called 1L1B which is the main driver of bone loss in gum disease.
- Magnesium, which has many benefits including better sleep and relaxation.
How to use avocado oil
Even though Avocado is technically a fruit, you can use this as you would any vegetable oil.
Avocado oil can be used raw + uncooked in things like dressings, smoothies and dips. But is also great to use as a cooking and baking oil. It has a high smoke point of around 500 degrees F (higher than olive oil), which means that is the temperature that it 1.) starts smoking but also 2.) starts breaking down to the point where it's not as healthy for you. So the higher the smoke point, the better and safer it is to use for cooking.
Other ways to use avocado oil: put it in your hair! I was initially scared to try this because of the one time I put too much coconut oil in my hair. It took several washes before I stopped looking like I just went swimming. But the avocado oil washed out much more easily and I feel like it did add some moisture to my naturally-dry hair. It's also a natural way to remove eye makeup, and might even promote eyelash growth (just starting trying this, I'll report back). You can also use it topically for dry skin.
Potential downsides of avocado oil
If you have an avocado allergy, obviously steer clear of avocado oil. But also be aware if you have a latex allergy. Apparently latex allergies are related to certain foods such as avocados, bananas, chestnuts, kiwis and passion fruit. These foods contain some of the same allergens found in latex. Add it to the list of weird things I've learned.
I've also seen some discussion on the potential downside of avocado oil based on the claim of a high omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. (Omega-6 is inflammatory, omega-3 is anti-inflammatory.) I'm sure this ratio will depend on a lot of things in your diet, not just if you're eating avocado oil. But if this is something you're concerned about then I'd say to do your research on increasing omega-3 foods such as flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds and spinach.
Important: Even though there is a lot of science and medical-sounding talk in this post, I am not a medical professional. All of this is simply my take on research freely found on the internet. As with anything on this site, do not take it as real medical advice.
Where to buy avocado oil:
Basically, I think you need to go buy some avocado oil.
With that, I will leave you with my favorite avocado related meme.
Image credit: Will McPhail
Want avocado recipes instead? Try these:
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