You’ve probably heard the virtues of olive oil, coconut oil and possibly even grape seed oil. But what about the oil that comes from avocados?
Is avocado oil healthy?
Yes! Avocado is one of the best choices of cooking oils available and it even has some science-backed topical uses for beauty and wellness.
Avocado oil is the oil made from pressing the flesh of avocados. (Here’s a little more information on how avocado oil is processed.) So it’s not surprising that avocado oil has many of the same health benefits as avocado. In fact, the benefits of avocado oil include healthy fats and antioxidants. It even offers benefits to skin and hair when used topically. And as far as cooking goes, some culinary experts, including Art Bites Maite Gomez-Rejón, call avocado oil the best oil for cooking.
Let’s take a deep dive into all the best ways to use avocado oil and the science that proves just how fantastic this golden green oil is for your health.
5 nutritional benefits of avocado oil
Avocado oil is the oil found in the avocado fruit and offers many of the same benefits as fresh avocado. It is a natural product and great oil to choose for cooking. It is a versatile oil that can be used both as a finishing oil, as a drizzle on soups or for dipping bread and for sautéeing. It can even be used for deep frying. But the best thing about using the oil from avocado fruit is that you get added nutrition every time you use it.
Contains healthy fats
The list of beneficial nutrients in avocado oil includes monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. These fats represent some pretty significant health benefits. Research indicates that a diet rich in unsaturated fats may reduce the risk of some chronic conditions. In addition, the healthy fats in avocado oil may improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
But the cooking oil made from pressed avocado flesh doesn’t just help with the absorption of vitamin E. The oil contains vitamin E, aka the sex vitamin. In other words, cooking with avocado oil may help give your sex life a boost. And not just from the vitamin E content. We’ll take a closer look at what avocado oil may do for your sexual health once we’ve covered heart health.
Promotes weight loss
The healthy fats in avocado oil may also support weight loss. There is evidence to suggest that the monounsaturated fat in avocado oil can help reduce belly fat. And because monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like the ones in avocado oil are known to take a long time to digest, the oil may help keep you feeling full for long periods of time. This could curb the urge for unhealthy snacking.
Supports eye health
One of the antioxidants in avocado oil, lutein, is associated with eye health. A diet rich in lutein may even reduce the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration. And because the body cannot produce lutein, eating foods rich in this nutrient, like avocado oil, is a great way to help protect the health of your eyes.
Reduces cholesterol and supports heart health
The oil is also known as a source of healthy fats. Most notably, is rich in oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. (Avocado oil is almost 70% oleic acid.) This fatty acid is believed to have many benefits to wellness and has been linked with heart and brain health.
In fact, studies on avocado oil show that it is beneficial in reducing cholesterol and supporting heart health. In one study, Haas avocado oil reduced triglycerides and LDL cholesterol in test subjects when compared with the control group. And another study demonstrated that avocado oil could improve blood pressure. There is even evidence that the healthy fats in avocado oil may reduce heart disease.
Promotes sexual health
What do these findings have to do with your sex life? All of avocado oil’s benefits to heart health will also work to give your sex life a boost. Don’t forget that what’s good for heart health helps sexual health. After all, healthy blood flow is essential to the pleasures of the bedroom. And since avocados are historically considered an aphrodisiac, it should come as no surprise that pure avocado oil offers potential benefits to your sex life.
One of the best things about avocado oil is that you’ll get its benefits when you use it in cooking. There’s no need for capsules or trying to swallow it by the spoonful. To incorporate the health benefits of avocado oil into your diet you simply have to start cooking with it.
How to incorporate it into cooking
Avocado oil can be used in any cooking application. And unlike many oils, it’s great for frying because it’s very heat stable. In other words, you can use it at high temperatures before it starts visibly smoking and breaking down – that’s a problem with some of the other popular oils. They can’t be used at high heat.
But avocado cooking oil is a great choice for deep frying. Its smoke point is a remarkable 520 degrees Fahrenheit. (By comparison, olive oil has a smoke point of around 400 degrees.) Some chefs and nutritionists, including Delahna Flagg, our Director of Nutrition, tout cholesterol-free avocado oil as the healthiest oil you could choose for frying.
What does avocado oil taste like?
Avocado oil has a similar weight to olive oil. Its flavor is quite mild and slightly nutty, which makes it an extremely versatile oil. It also has an almost addictive buttery quality. (Note that extra virgin avocado oil has a more distinctive flavor with hints of fresh avocado and cut grass.)
A great choice for cooking, you can use it all the same ways you would use olive, grape seed, walnut or any other cooking oil you favor.
Because of its fairly neutral flavor, avocado oil is also a very nice base for salad dressings and marinades. Use it to oil your grill, sauté vegetables or pan-sear fish. It can also be used for baking. The uses of this delicious and healthy oil are almost limitless.
Lisa Howard, author of The Big Book of Health Cooking Oils has the best way of summing up avocado oil’s myriad of uses, “It’s the only unrefined oil that truly does have a mild flavor–after all, avocadoes themselves are quite bland. So for cooks looking to create dishes that aren’t strongly impacted by the flavor of the oil, unrefined avocado oil is ideal, whether for a medium- or low-heat cooked dish, a non-cooked dish (i.e., DIY salad dressing), or a baked item made with a batter, such as quickbreads, muffins, cakes, etc.”
A note on allergies
As delicious as avocado oil might taste, if you have an avocado allergy, you should avoid this cooking oil. Consult a doctor before using avocado oil either as cooking oil or topically if you have any concerns.
Avocado oil for beauty
Although the most popular use for avocado oil is in cooking, there are some interesting topical uses for avocado oil that are starting to get attention. Because avocado oil is nutrient-rich, studies show that it might be an inexpensive and exciting tool for beauty and wellness.
The antioxidants in avocado oil are good for skin. They are recognized for helping your skin cells regenerate. In fact, the nutrients in this vegetable oil are even thought to fight free radicals, reduce wrinkles and fight other signs of premature aging. (However, before you start using avocado oil as a beauty treatment, you might want to check with a dermatologist.)
Avocado oil may also be antimicrobial, at least in combination with other oils. And if nothing else, the moisturizing effects of avocado oil can feel great on chapped, winter skin.
It is also a good carrier oil for essential oils often used in skin treatments and aromatherapy. (You can even try making a homemade massage oil with few drops of lavender oil blended into avocado oil.)
Benefits to gums
Interestingly, another item on the list of what is avocado oil good for is decreasing inflammation of the gums. And we all want a kisser with a good set of gums! Additionally, in one 2006 study, avocado unsaponifiables appeared to block a protein that promotes bone loss and tissue destruction from gum disease.
In addition, the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids in avocado can be beneficial to hair and scalp. The oil will benefit your tresses by providing moisture. And there is a line of thought that the biotin in avocado oil may help hair growth. Unfortunately, scientific evidence to support this theory is lacking. That being said, where the oil might be most useful is on your scalp. Massaging it into your scalp can increase blood flow and clear clogged hair follicles.
How to choose an avocado oil
Of course, as with any other oils, not all avocado oils are created equally. And you may choose different oils depending on your purpose.
Using extra virgin avocado oil
AVOHASS California organic avocado oil is an extra virgin avocado oil made in the USA with good flavor and body. This cold-pressed avocado oil is GMO-free and unrefined. This is a good oil for finishing dishes or using in salad dressing.
More good oils to buy
A more friendly-priced oil comes from La Tourangelle. Although this is not avocado oil is refined and is not an organic product, it offers good flavor at a fairly wallet-friendly price. In addition to selling the oil in 8-ounce tins, La Tourangelle makes an avocado oil spray. This is a favorite of mine!
If you want to try deep frying with avocado oil, Chosen Foods sells 100% avocado oil in large-size bottles. Although not organic, this oil is also GMO-free. So this is our pick if you want to buy avocado oil in bulk.
How to buy the best avocado oil
A study in the October 2020 issue of Food Central revealed that many products sold in the United States as avocado oil are cut with other oils. Some samples in the study published in the food journal contained no avocado oil at all. And many samples were rancid at the time of purchase.
To avoid buying an inferior oil, try to buy an oil closest to its production date if you know it. (The best buy date may not be an indicator of freshness. In the study, several oils tested as rancid before the best buy date.)
Here are the most important things to keep in mind:
- Extra virgin avocado oil should look vibrant green and have grassy notes to its aroma and flavor. If it isn’t green, it isn’t pure, extra virgin avocado oil.
- A refined oil should be pale yellow with more subtle aromas.
- All avocado oils should have a buttery quality.
- Try to buy from a retailer that will allow you to return the oil if it smells or tastes “stale.” (The smell of “stale” avocado oil may remind you of an old can of play dough.)
The benefits of avocado oil are very real, so long as the product in your bottle is also real!
As you can probably infer from the research presented in Food Central, avocado oil is a somewhat fragile product and relies on the correct storage. You may have heard that you need to store open avocado oil bottles in the refrigerator. You do not. The oil should be stored in a cool, dark place like a pantry or kitchen cupboard that is away from the oven or other heat source. But treat it right and avocado oil is a great choice of fats for healthy living.
This article was written in 2015 and most recently updated in September 2022.
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