A quick search on google and it’s pretty easy to see that most of the oils we use for cooking are absolutely terrible for our health.
They are often highly processed, have a terrible fatty acid balance, and often go rancid quickly and unnoticeably. These combined effects negatively influence a number of health factors over time, which appear to worsen with prolonged duration.
While olive oil is a common healthy alternative to these nasty, processed oils, it isn’t our only option.
The avocado is a unique fruit. Unlike most other fruits, it has a high fat content rather than a high fructose content, and is used frequently in the production of oils .
While avocado oil is definitely less common than olive oil, it is definitely not an inferior option. Avocado oil is rich in antioxidants and healthy fatty acids, which can actually have a number of positive effects on the body (the opposite to other cooking oils…).
With these unique health benefits also comes a number of different ways avocado oil can be used to improve health and nutrition.
Avocado oil can be used in baking as a fantastic alternative to butter. It can be used as a straight substitute for butter, without influencing the taste or texture of the final dish in any way at all.
As an added bonus, swapping out butter for avocado oil is a great way to reduce the saturated fat content of baked goods, while simultaneously increasing the amount of health positive mono-unsaturated fats.
Again, as both an alternative to butter and margarine's, Avocado oil is great spread on bread and toast. Whether it is consumed by itself or with other spreads, it considerably improves the health profile of the dish it is being used on.
Additionally, it contains none of the nasty Trans fats that are produced during the production of margarine and butter.
Using avocado oils as an alternative to other cooking oils during the frying process is a great way to increase the healthy fat content of your meals. It is much better option to pan fry foods in avocado oil than it is other processed cooking oils.
As an added bonus, it gives the food a nice full flavour!
Store bought salad dressings are often full of sugar and preservatives (and don’t actually taste all that good either…). While a good alternative, homemade salad dressings require a considerable amount of oil. Unfortunately, most of the oil used may not be all that good for us.
By opting for avocado oil to be used in salad dressings we can significantly boost the content of healthy fats within our salads, which can lead to a number of improved markers of health.
A good marinade is integral to the cooking of a good quality meat, otherwise it will end up dry and chewy. Avocado oil is a fantastic marinade option for meats as it handles high temperatures well, and has a fantastic flavour.
For the best results, meats should be marinaded for at least an hour before cooking (although less than this won’t be detrimental to meat quality).
While peanut oil is arguably the most commonly used oil in stir fry’s, it may not be the best option. Peanut oil is actually quite high in saturated fats, and as such may influence health negatively as a result.
Olive oil is a good substitute for peanut oil in stir fry’s because it can both withstand the high temperature associated with cooking stir frys, and is a much healthier alternative.
Avocado oils is arguably the best oil for roasting both meats and vegetables. Not only does it provide a fantastic flavour to roasted foods, while providing a host of health benefits, due to its high burning point, avocado oil also creates a nice crispy finish on the outside of roasted foods without the charcoal flavour associated with the use of some other oils.
Avocado oil is a fantastic way to grill white meats and fish, due to its buttery texture and delicious, nutty flavour. Additionally, the monounsaturated fat content of avocado oil perfectly complements the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish.
This provides the body with a vast array of healthy fats that provide a number of health benefits to both the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.
Both mayonnaise and aioli are made up of two key ingredients. Eggs, and Oil.
While traditionally made with olive oil, this may not actually be the best option, as an emulsifier is often also required to produce a mayonnaise with a good texture and consistency.
Avocado oil is a great alternative as it does not require the use of an emulsifier to get the same results, and has very similar health benefits to olive oil.
This means that you can get a great tasting mayonnaise or aioli without sacrificing any health benefits, and using less ingredients, limiting your consumption of processed foods and additives.
Most fried or crumbed dishes require an egg wash that allows the crumbs to stick to the food. This process requires milk, eggs, and flour, which can significantly increase the energy content of the meal.
Instead of undertaking the entire egg washing process, avocado oil can be used as a healthy option to stick the crumbs to the food. This not only limits energy consumption slightly, but also makes for an easier and simpler process.
Arthritis is a disease that involves joint inflammation and the breakdown of joint cartilage, and subsequently, can be very painful.
Interestingly, avocado when combined with soybean oil, has shown to significantly reduce arthritis related joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness . This appears to be extremely beneficial in people suffering arthritis of the hip and knee.
Avocado oils is extremely high in Lutein (a compound found in the eyes).
Lutein has shown to function as an antioxidant that has a host of benefits for the health of the eyes. As such, its consumption has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other age related eye diseases .
Interestingly, Lutein cannot be made within the body, so obtaining it through our diet is extremely important.
Some specific vitamins and minerals require fat to be absorbed from the gut into the body.
By consuming avocado oil with foods that contain vegetables and fruits, we can increase the amount of nutrients absorbed from those foods considerably . This can lead to long term improvements in cellular function and immune system health.
Avocado oil extract has shown some positive signs in the reduction of gum disease.
Gum disease is typified by the inflammation of gums, and can include symptoms like bleeding gums, bad breath, and the breakdowns of bone and tissue surrounding the teeth.
Interestingly, avocado oil has shown to reduce inflammation of the games, reducing the signs and symptoms of gum disease .
The consumption of Avocado oil has been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels significantly .
Additionally, it has shown to cause an increase in the HDL cholesterol (or ‘good’ cholesterol) level of the blood. These combined effects have been associated with reduction on heart disease and cardiovascular illness.
Avocado has been used extensively as a natural skin treatment that has shown to reduce sun spots and negate the signs of sun damaged skin tissue.
Applying avocado to the skin one to two times per day has been suggested to cause significant improvements in sun damaged skin.
Another interesting effect that avocado has been suggested to have on the human body is an acceleration effect on the healing of wounds.
Preliminary research on rats have demonstrated the application of avocado oil can promote an increase in the rate at which open skin wounds heal .
Using avocado oil as a deep scalp conditioner while in the bath or shower has been suggested to be an effective treatment for dry scalp disease. All it requires is the application of avocado oil to the scalp after using shampoo and leaving it for a few minutes.
In addition to helping with dry scalp, using avocado oil as a conditioner has been said to provide the hair with a number of essential vitamins and minerals.
The application of these nutrients to the hair have been suggested to improve hair strength, colour, and quality.
Skin disease and rashes of the skin are often caused by inflammation of the cells within the skin tissue. The anti-inflammatory properties of avocado oil are not just limited to arthritis and gum disease, but skin disease as well.
The application of avocado oil to inflamed or itchy skin has been suggested to provide instant relief, and has even been though to reduce sensitivity to certain skin irritants.
The vitamins and minerals found in avocado oil have been further suggested to not only improve the absorption of mineral in the gut, but also aid in numerous digestive processes.
It can help facilitate the digestion of difficult to breakdown foods, reducing heart burn, bloating, and digestive discomfort.
As an added bonus, the increased digestive capacity promoted by avocado oil can increase energy levels and even help you lose weight!
So avocado is not only an extremely healthy alternative to other oils, but can also influence health positively through a number of different mechanisms, and via a number of different applications.
It is honesty an all-natural cure all that can be used to treat a number of diseases and discomforts!
1. Werman, M. J., and I. Neeman. “Avocado oil production and chemical characteristics.” Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 64.2 (1987): 229-232. Viewed at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02542007
2. Christiansen, Blaine A., et al. “Management of osteoarthritis with avocado/soybean unsaponifiables.” Cartilage 6.1 (2015): 30-44. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25621100/
3. Vu, Hien TV, et al. “Lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract: the Melbourne visual impairment project.” Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 47.9 (2006): 3783-3786. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16936087
4. Unlu, Nuray Z., et al. “Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil.” The Journal of nutrition 135.3 (2005): 431-436. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15735074
5. Andriamanalijaona, R., et al. “Effect of interleukin-1β on transforming growth factor-beta and bone morphogenetic protein-2 expression in human periodontal ligament and alveolar bone cells in culture: modulation by avocado and soybean unsaponifiables.” Journal of periodontology 77.7 (2006): 1156-1166. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16805677
6. Kritchevsky, David, et al. “Cholesterol vehicle in experimental atherosclerosis 24: avocado oil.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition22.1 (2003): 52-55. Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12569114/
7. de Oliveira, Ana Paula, et al. “Effect of semisolid formulation of Persea americana Mill (avocado) oil on wound healing in rats.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013). Viewed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23573130/
Emily has spent the last 8 years comparing, reviewing and analyzing ingredients in the supplements industry. She has worked extensively with dieticians, nutritionists and personal trainers to separate fact from fiction and help people achieve their fitness goals. In her free time she works and enjoys the outdoors with her husband and 2 children.