Did you know that avocados are not just delicious fruits to eat, but that the oil from avocado has many uses and health benefits?
When most people think of healthy oils they tend to think of oils like olive oil or coconut oil. However, not many people know about the health benefits of avocado oil and that it is also an excellent oil to cook with. You can also use avocado oil for your hair and for your skin.
What is Avocado Oil?
Avocados are an amazing fruit with many health benefits that you can read about in my article about the 11 healthy reasons to eat avocados. Even avocado seeds have surprising health benefits. Avocados are rich in vitamins C, B6, E, K and A as well as containing minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron.
In this article, however, I’m focusing specifically on avocado oil, which is unique in that it is extracted from the flesh of the fruit rather than the seed. Avocado oil is a rich source of healthy fats which are known to improve the cardiovascular system and lower cholesterol.
The main healthy fat in avocado oil oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat; in fact, it makes up around 70% of the oil. Oleic acid is also found in high quantities in olive oiland studies into oleic acid show that it plays an important role in keeping the heart healthy.
Unrefined avocado oil has a greenish color and a nutty taste. It is especially rich in vitamin E, and some extra virgin avocado oils have more vitamin E than olive oil.
New research from Europe shows that avocado oil can be a significant source of CoQ10. This vitamin-like substance plays an important role in energy production and is essential for those organs that have high energy requirements – such as the heart, liver and kidney.
The Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
Because avocado oil is rich in fatty acids, it works to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL). One study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition said that avocado oil was just as effective in lowering cholesterol-LDL as olive oil.
Improves heart health
Obviously, lowering cholesterol levels in the blood will also have a beneficial effect on the heart and cardiovascular system. However, there are other health benefits that avocado oil has on the heart. The American Heart Association has published studies showing that diets which contain monounsaturated fatty acids help to manage the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Avocado oil has also shown to be effective in reducing blood pressure. One study using avocado oil showed that, in clinical trials, avocado oil affected the composition of fatty acids in the kidneys and heart. The result was that it had a beneficial effect on blood pressure.
So, when it comes to heart health in general, avocado oil is very beneficial in keeping the heart healthy and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular problems.
Relieves arthritis pain
Osteoarthritis is one of the major factors affecting the mobility of millions of people. The traditional treatment involves using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation. However, many studies have shown that extracts from avocado oil and soybean oil can help relieve osteoarthritis pain.
For example, compounds extracted from avocado and soybean oils were administered to patients suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee and hip. At the end of the study, it was shown that the avocado/soybean compound was able to reduce pain and stiffness and improve joint function.
The result was that patients were able to reduce their medication. It is therefore a good idea to add avocado oil to an arthritis diet (you can find more information in my article about arthritis – foods to eat and foods to avoid).
Avocado oil for skin problems
Psoriasis is a common skin problem that causes irritation and redness on the skin and makes it dry and cracked. Depending on the severity it can be very painful. However, many of the common conventional treatment methods can cause side effects.
I’ve already written about natural ways to relieve psoriasis as well as how to fight psoriasis with vitamin D, and now avocado oil is shown to be an additional tool in relieving psoriasis.
A study published in the journal Dermatology showed that avocado oil together with a vitamin B12 cream was effective in treating people with chronic psoriasis.7 What’s more, there were no unpleasant side effects recorded.
Other studies have shown that the fatty acids, especially oleic acid, in avocado oil can help wounds to heal faster and reduce inflammation.
Avocado oil improves skin appearance and wound healing
Avocado oil has a lot of benefits for your skin: it is good at not only relieving skin problems but also at improving the appearance of the skin.
Avocado oil can be used as a skin cleanser which will also moisturize your skin at the same time. However, it can also boost the skin collagen metabolism when taken orally.
Research published in Connective Tissue Research showed that in clinical trials the introduction of avocado oil increased the soluble collagen content in the skin.
Avocado oil is an excellent moisturizer for dry, damaged or chapped crepey skin, but not only this; Studies on rats have found that it may accelerate wound healing.
You can use other oils for healthy skin such as sweet almond oil, vitamin E oil, jojoba oiland rosehip oil.
Boosts absorption of nutrients
By adding avocado oil to your diet you can also help your body absorb other essential nutrients. For example, one study into avocados and avocado oil in salads showed that the addition of oil increased the absorption of carotenoids.
Carotenoids are antioxidants which are often found in red, orange, yellow and green colored fruits and vegetables. So, vegetables like carrots, spinach, kale, and apricots are rich in carotenoids. They are important part of our diet because they help reduce the risk of certain cancers and promote healthy eyesight.
Assists in managing diabetes
The American Diabetes Association recommends avocado oil because of the monounsaturated fats that it contains. They published a study showing that a diet high in monounsaturated fats from avocado oil can help manage diabetes. They said that the fats in avocado oil can help people with diabetes use insulin more effectively and regulate blood sugar levels.
Prevents gum disease
The anti-inflammatory properties of avocado oil also help prevent gum disease. Gum disease results in red and bleeding gums and can actually lead to the teeth becoming weakened and falling out (you can read more about it in my article on how to treat gum infection (gingivitis) naturally).
Research showed that extracts from avocado oil and soybean oil (which were mentioned previously as beneficial for arthritis) were shown to have beneficial effect on the gums. The extracts of avocado and soybean oils block a protein which causes inflammation in the gums.
Kills free radicals
When free radicals become too many in the body, the result is that cells die off and we are more prone to certain diseases and show signs of aging. This is called oxidative stress and this is the cause of many diseases like arthritis, heart disease, neurological disorders, stroke, and cancer.
It is known that other oils also contain properties which kill free radicals. However, one study showed that avocado oil also has properties which not only kill free radicals but boost cell resistance to free radicals. Another study showed that avocado oil decreases oxidative stress in brain of diabetic rats. This means that avocado oil can have a beneficial role in the overall health of a person.
Avocado oil for hair
Avocado oil is one of the best oils for your hair. Avocado oil is good for hair care because it is rich in vitamin E, which is essential for maintaining healthy hair. It is also a good source of monounsaturated fats which provide hair follicles with the nutrients they need to stimulate hair growth.
You can apply avocado oil as a hair mask to repair heat-damaged hair, prevent split ends and strengthen hair. You can also add some to your favorite conditioner for great regular hair care. The advantage of massaging avocado oil into your scalp is that it is very light and absorbed easily.
Where to Buy and How to Use Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is very versatile and can be used in cooking and also as part of a skin and hair care routine. Always look for high-quality, pure avocado oil, not an oil blend. Make sure it is extra virgin, unrefined and cold-pressed for maximum health benefits.
For cooking, avocado oil can be used in the same way as you would use olive oil. This will give a delicious and nutty flavor to a salad dressing. You can also add it to smoothies, marinades, or drizzle over vegetables before roasting.
For frying, it is best to use refined avocado oil because it has a high smoke point, in fact, it has one of the highest smoke point for any oil, about 400 oF (200 oC). That means that even when frying at high temperatures it won’t oxidize and lose its beneficial properties.