Medically review by Irena Ilic
For the last few years, coconut oil has been stealing the limelight on the real food centre stage, but it's time to shift your attention to another impressive performer - avocado oil.
With a list of impressive health benefits and uses both in the kitchen and in your skin and hair beauty routine, avocado oil is a fantastic ingredient to add to your shopping basket.
We use coconut and olive oil a lot, but like with fruits, vegetables, protein and all food, it's important to include variety.
This ensures that you get a wider range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and all that good stuff.
The same goes for cooking oils, and it doesn't hurt to have a few options handy. Here's why we're all about avocado oil lately.
Health benefits of avocado oil
Oleic acid. This stuff is one of the reasons why olive oil is considered an incredibly healthy food, and avocado boasts the same benefits.
First of all, it helps avocado oil stay fresh so it has a long shelf life much like coconut oil. It also makes it fantastic for high temps like frying and roasting.
Finally, oleic acid can lower the risk of some cancers, prevent flares of some auto-immune diseases, and reduce inflammation. Additionally, this monounsaturated fat can help improve fertility of women.
Vitamin E. Not many foods contain significant amounts of vitamin E, but avocado oil boosts a hefty amount.
Your body simply doesn't absorb much when you only get it from supplements, so cooking with this oil or using it as a salad dressing is superior to your multivitamin.
Healthy fats in avocado oil improve absorption of this fat-soluble vitamin. In turn, vitamin E protects your cells, keeps your immune system strong, and improves skin and eye health.
Carotenoids. Considering the fat content of avocado oil, it makes a plethora of valuable nutrients more available to the body. Carotenoids (found in carrots and many fruits and veggies) are one of those.
Taking these nutrients reduces your risk of many diseases, including vision problems. In fact, avocado oil increases absorption of carotenoids by 6.7 to 17.4 times.
That's a huge difference! The easiest way to take advantage of this is to add avocado oil to your salad.
Antioxidant-rich. Antioxidants help the body detox naturally and protect against free radical damage. This contributes to a whole lot of stuff you want to avoid.
Like olive oil, which is associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases, avocado oil has almost the same antioxidant benefits that protect against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Digestive health. Most people can afford to improve their digestion, and avocado oil is an amazing addition to the diet if so.
The combination of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids is food for the gut. A daily dose in your cooking could help keep you regular.
Weight management. Oleic acid (mentioned above) can help boost weight loss or keep you at a healthy weight in combination with a well-portioned, real-food based diet.
Since avocado oil contains loads of healthy fats, it's very satiating which helps you feel full and avoid overeating.
How to use avocado oil
Cooking with avocado oil. Considering its high heat tolerance, avocado oil is an incredibly versatile cooking oil for just about anything involving fire.
It also boasts quite a mild flavor unlike coconut oil which can taste a bit like coconut, naturally. This makes it ideal for salad dressings and homemade mayonnaise.
Avocado oil for skin. While coconut oil works well for moisturizing, it's best mixed and diluted with other substances to give it a more viscous texture.
Avocado oil rubs in quicker, much like lotion, leaving you feeling a little less greasy. It gets better; you can also dab a bit under your eyes to get rid of dark circles or bags.
Avocado oil for hair. While coconut oil makes a great hair mask for an all-over treatment, you can use avocado oil daily to reduce and prevent split ends by rubbing a little on to the ends of your hair and washing it out, keeping your locks hydrated and healthy.
After washing, you can apply a bit more to tame frizz and fly-aways. Keep a small bottle in your bathroom!
How avocado oil and coconut oil stack up
- While both oils are heart healthy, coconut oil consists mainly of saturated fats while avocado oil is comprised of mostly monounsaturated fatty acids. Both are healthy for the body, but it's necessary to have a balance.
- Coconut oil and avocado both have a high smoke point making them versatile in the kitchen whether you're frying or roasting. Still, avocado oil can take temperatures up to 520 degrees Fahrenheit while coconut oil comes in around 350.
- Both oils are suitable for homemade beauty products, but coconut oil is solid, so it's better used in combination with other liquid oils and essential oils, while avocado oil can easily be used on its own.
- We're not saying avocado oil is the new coconut oil, but it's certainly worth adding to your pantry. It contains a whole new set of benefits, nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you simply won't get by limiting yourself to one or two oils.
- Both oils are unrefined and unprocessed made from whole foods that are anti-inflammatory, friendly to weight loss, contain healthy fats, and keep your gut happy.
This article was fact checked for accuracy by Dr. Irena Ilic. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Which oil do you prefer, or do you choose to use both? Share your experience with us!
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Dr. Irena Ilic received her medical degree from the University of Kragujevac, Serbia. Working as a University affiliated researcher, she published over 20 papers in renowned international journals. Irena has a special interest in female health issues and is passionate about evidence-based medicine.