Avocado Oil for Cooking. Are You Serious?

Jun 26, 2021 | Cooking Oils, Oils

Written by Dr. Omair Ansar, MBBS, MSc
avocado oil for cooking

WHAT IS AVOCADO OIL?

what is avocado oil

Avocado is an unusual fruit that is rich in healthy fats. Unlike other fruits, avocado can be used to produce oil. Avocado oil is an edible oil taken out from fresh avocado pulp. It is reported that avocado oil contains up to 25% fat.

As a matter of fact, over 50% of this fat is monounsaturated fat. This composition makes the avocado oil less prone to oxidation as compared to other polyunsaturated fats. Unlike saturated fats, it is liquid at room temperature.

The smoke point of avocado oil is the highest of all plant-based oils, 482˚F for unrefined oil and 520˚F for refined oil. The quality of refinement and the way oil is stored highly affects the smoke point. As an edible oil, avocado oil is used both raw and for cooking. It is also used in cosmetics and for lubrication purposes.

Properties of Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is extracted from the pulp of the avocado fruit surrounding the avocado pit. It is among the few edible oils that are not derived from seeds. High in monounsaturated fatty acid, unrefined avocado oil from the Hass cultivar is good for frying and has a characteristic flavor.

The color of ‘Hass’ cold-pressed avocado oil when attracted is emerald green, attributed to high levels of carotenoids and chlorophylls. It has an avocado flavor with a grassy and buttery or mushroom-like flavor. Other varieties like ‘Fuerte’ have less of an avocado flavor with more of a mushroom flavor instead.

The fat profile of avocado oil is similar to the monounsaturated fat profile of olive oil. Naturally, low acidic avocado oil has a high smoke point. The smoke point depends upon how much the oil is refined.

The smoke point of any oil is the temperature at which the oil releases harmful free radicals and starts to degrade. Due to the high smoke point, both the refined and unrefined avocado oil can easily be used for different high-heat cooking including deep-frying, roasting, stir-frying, baking, and sauteing.

Unrefined and Refined Avocado Oil

The unrefined avocado oil is cold-pressed. It is in its pure natural form without being treated with any chemicals. Hence, it is in its natural color and flavor.

Refined avocado oil is a less flavorful product. It is extracted using chemical solvents or heat. It is bleached and deodorized which is the reason why it results to be a less flavorful product.

USES OF AVOCADO OIL

Avocado oil is incorporated as a carrier oil for other flavors. It is used in cooking and is very beneficial for dry skin and overall skincare as well as for many other purposes. Its high smoke point makes it best suited for high-heat cooking methods.

Avocado oil has high skin penetration and is rapidly absorbed; hence, it is widely used in cosmetics. It is high in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats and also enhances the absorption of carotenoids and other nutrients. The versatile avocado oil has many culinary and skincare uses.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF AVOCADO OIL

Loaded with Antioxidants

Avocado oil contains antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that combat free radicals in the body and reduce stress. One of the powerful antioxidants present in avocado oil is lutein. Lutein is very beneficial for both skin and eye health. It protects the skin from harmful UV rays and visible light. Plenty of lutein intake reduces the risks of age-related eye diseases including macular degeneration and cataracts.

Fosters Skin Health

In actual, avocado oil is very beneficial for the skin. It is proven to be very helpful in treating many skin diseases. A study by a group of dermatologists put forward that various creams containing avocado oil and vitamin B12 if applied topically can aid in the treatment of psoriasis.

Avocado oil also decreases inflammation and promotes collagen production. It is effective for treating and healing wounds in animals. Avocado oil is as well as helpful in treating damaged, dry, or chapped skin.

Absorbs Important Nutrients

The high levels of monounsaturated fats in avocado oil enable it to aid the body in the absorption of important nutrients. These nutrients include carotenoids antioxidants which are pigments found in many plant foods. It is reported that the fruits and vegetables containing carotenoids contain low-fat levels. Hence, avocado oil integrated adequately into the diet aids in the absorption of carotenoids.

Improves Heart Health

Avocado oil is rich in a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, known as oleic acid, which is very beneficial for heart health. It lowers blood pressure and is very effective for controlling blood cholesterol levels as it reduces blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels.

Aids in Arthritis Treatment

Arthritis is a common disease worldwide. It includes the inflammation of joints or cartilages. It is of different types and the most common among them is osteoarthritis. It is reported that extracts from avocado oil and soybean oil, which is called avocado/soybean unsaponifiable, reduce the stiffness and pain which is associated with osteoarthritis.

Prevents Gum Disease

The combination of avocado oil and soybean is also very beneficial in treating many periodontal diseases also called gum diseases. The symptoms associated with such diseases include inflammation, bad breath, red and bleeding gums, breakdown of tissue or bone around the teeth, etc.

Avocado/soybean unsaponifiable may block a protein called IL1B, in periodontal tissues because this tissue is the main cause of inflammation, tissue destruction, and bone loss in gum diseases.

Fights Cellular Damage

Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants, substances that combat free radicals and fight cellular damage. The free radicals are the waste products of metabolism which eventually contributes to reducing oxidative stress.

High levels of free radicals in the body cause oxidative stress which is associated with many harmful diseases including heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals by giving them electrons, this prevents them from causing harm. Many types of free radicals exist in our body but the reactive oxygen species (ROS) or simply the oxygen-derived radicals are the most dangerous ones. In the cells, the energy-producing mitochondria are the main source of oxygen-derived radicals or ROS.

Avocado oil reaches the cells to enter into the mitochondria and to combat these radicals. Once it is there, it neutralizes the free radicals and prevents them from damaging the cells.

IS AVOCADO OIL GOOD FOR COOKING AND FRYING?

is avocado oil good for cooking and frying

Due to its high smoke point, avocado oil is absolutely suitable for frying. It is a great choice for stir-fry. Similar to olive oil, avocado oil is on the pricier side and is not the first choice for deep-frying purposes.

Avocado oil is highly versatile. There are a various ways to incorporate it into the diet, including but not limited to adding a tablespoon of it in a smoothie, drizzle over vegetables before roasting, top humus off with it as well as include it when baking, drizzle it over cold soup like gazpacho, etc. and much more.

There are different avocado oil recipe ideas that can be adopted to adequately incorporate avocado oil in the diet.

Among the different avocado oil recipe ideas, a few are mentioned below.

Avocado oil is a great choice for a homemade mayonnaise recipe. The neutral taste of refined avocado oil makes it best suited for homemade mayonnaise.

Avocado oil has a high smoke point. It is perfect to be used for achieving a crispy skin on a filet of fish seared in an extra-hot pan.

Unrefined avocado oil can be paired with cilantro, yogurt, lime juice, and a creamy salad dressing. Another option is to vinaigrette avocado oil with Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, garlic cloves, and kosher salt.

AVOCADO OIL COMPARISON

Comparing avocado oil with other oils, it is reported that avocado oil contains only 12% saturated fats which are less than the fat content of the other oils including palm oil, coconut oil, soybean oil, corn oil, extra-virgin olive oil, cottonseed oil, peanut oil, and sunflower seed oil. But this fat content of avocado oil is more than the fat content of some oils including canola oil, safflower oil, walnut oil, and grapeseed oil, etc.

Avocado Oil and Olive Oil

Both avocado oil and olive oil contain heart-healthy fats, and both are promoted for their health benefits. They have been shown to reduce inflammation and reduce heart diseases as well.

Avocado oil has a high smoke point, which makes it best suited for high-heat cooking. But at the same time avocado oil is a bit more expensive as compared to olive oil, hence, it may not be ranked as the first choice for most people.

Comparing both the avocado oil and the olive oil, it is observed that even after long periods of high heat exposures, plenty of phytosterols remains in the avocado oil.

Avocado Oil and Coconut Oil

Both avocado oil and coconut oil have weight loss benefits. Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of the fresh coconut and is a great source of fatty acids. It provides more energy to the body by encouraging fat burn, which eventually releases energy.

On the other hand, avocado oil improves our cholesterol levels as it is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It also increases the absorption of carotenoid antioxidants.

Avocado Oil and Soybean Oil

Avocado oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids, has a high smoke point, and is best suited for high-heat cooking. It promotes the absorption of important nutrients like carotenoids, etc.

While on the other hand, soybean oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, it has a high cholesterol level and is used in intravenous feedings as a supplement. It decreases the cholesterol absorption in the gut and lowers the cholesterol level.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Highly versatile, avocado oil is extracted from an unusual fruit avocado. It is available in both refined and unrefined form with a slight change in taste and color. It has countless health benefits, and combats many harmful diseases in the body, and is also used in cosmetics as it is best for skincare. As compared to the other oils, it has a high smoke point and low-fat content, making it best suited for high-heat cooking and weight loss techniques. Yet being on the pricier side, it may not be the first choice for every person.

Article Sources

HealthxTips is committed to delivering content that adheres to highest standard for accuracy, sourcing and objective analysis.

HealthxTips uses only high-quality and trustworthy sources to support the facts in our articles.

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