- What Is
- Is Avocado Oil Healthy?
- Avocado Oil vs Olive Oil
- Better Than Olive Oil?
- Good for Cooking Oil?
- Should You Switch?
What is avocado oil?
Like many other alternatives to traditional foods, avocado oil is having a moment. It’s replacing olive oil in chips, recipes, and pantries. Is this simply due to the popularity of avocados, or is avocado oil better for you than olive oil?
As a consumer, you’re probably wondering about the health benefits of avocado oil and whether it’s worth swapping out your old standard for this trendy newer item.
If you’ve always been unclear on whether avocado is a fruit or a vegetable, this one’s for you. Avocados grow on trees, which makes them a member of the fruit family. It’s believed that avocados originated in either Central America or Mexico. Mexico is currently the top producer of avocados.
Avocados naturally have a high oil content, and one avocado can contain up to 30% oil. Avocado oil is created by extracting the oil from a pressed avocado. To do this, a mechanical extraction process is used on a ripe avocado. It’s similar to the olive oil extraction process, but it involves the additional steps of removing the avocado skin and pit before churning the avocado flesh for up to an hour at a temperature between 113 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
The avocado’s earthy but mild flavor, creamy texture, and green hue make it a unique addition to many foods and diets — but its real claim to fame is its nutritional value.
Is avocado oil healthy?
Avocado oil is healthy because avocados are healthy. This oil is good for your heart, cholesterol levels, and skin. In fact, avocado oil was initially used for cosmetic purposes due to its moisturizing properties and ability to quickly absorb into the skin.
Due to its high amounts of monounsaturated fat — otherwise known as the good kind of fat — avocado oil can reduce your risk of heart disease. A typical avocado oil contains up to 76% monounsaturated fatty acids, which protect you from high blood pressure and heart problems. One study found that eating more avocado was linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.
Avocados are a great choice for people with diabetes because they have a low glycemic index, which means they won’t raise your blood sugar. They also contain antioxidants that decrease inflammation and can help manage diabetes by helping the body process insulin. What's more, if you’re looking to lose weight, avocados can help you feel full for longer and can even boost your metabolism.
Avocados contain carotenoids, which are anti-carcinogenic plant chemicals that can preserve your vision. Avocado oil is also a good source of the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients:
Avocado oil can be a great choice for health-conscious people. But you should select your products carefully because avocado oil hasn’t been around long enough for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to set appropriate labeling and quality standards.
One 2020 study found that at least 82% of avocado oil products were either rancid or combined with other oils. In three separate instances, bottles that claimed to contain 100% avocado oil were almost pure soybean oil (a much cheaper and unhealthier oil).
What’s the difference between avocado oil and olive oil?
You’ll find three different types of olive oil in stores: refined, virgin, and extra virgin. Of these three types, extra virgin olive oil is the least processed and therefore the most nutritious.
Although there are no set standards for avocado oil, it’s commonly available in two forms: “pure” avocado oil and extra virgin, cold-pressed avocado oil.
Pure avocado oil is produced without regard to the quality of the fruit because the oil is bleached and deodorized before being infused with flavors. The finished product is nearly 100% refined avocado oil. Extra virgin, cold-pressed avocado oil is produced from high-quality fruit, and the extraction process is carried out mechanically at a temperature under 122 degrees Fahrenheit and using no added chemicals.
Is avocado oil better for you than olive oil?
It depends. Both avocado oil and olive oil contain large amounts of oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to benefit cardiovascular functioning and improve inflammation in the body. Two tablespoons of olive oil contain about the same amount of oleic acid as one medium-sized avocado.
Like avocado oil, olive oil has monounsaturated fats. But olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a natural compound with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
Similar to extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed avocado oil is unrefined. This means it retains its natural flavors and green hue. Olive oil has a stronger, more distinct taste that won’t please every palate or complement every dish. In comparison, avocado oil has a milder flavor often described as nutty and buttery, making it more versatile. How you plan to use the oil should guide your decision of which is best for you.
Is avocado a good cooking oil?
Avocado oil is a great cooking oil. It has a high smoke point of nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it can withstand higher temperatures before it starts to break down and burn. This makes it an excellent option for searing or sautéing foods over high heat.
By contrast, extra virgin olive oil’s smoke point is between 325 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning it might start to fill your kitchen with an unpleasant aroma before you’re done cooking on high heat.
Should you switch to avocado oil?
Avocado oil and olive oil provide many of the same health benefits. If you’re a big fan of olive oil, there’s no need to switch to avocado oil. But if you prefer its milder flavor, avocado oil can perform many of the same functions as olive oil. Its higher smoke point can also make it more useful for cooking.
Can’t decide? Keep a bottle of each in your kitchen. Just remember to do your research when choosing an avocado oil.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Oil Chemists' Society: "What is unrefined, extra virgin cold-pressed avocado oil?"
Cardiovascular Diabetology: "Protective role of oleic acid against cardiovascular insulin resistance and in the early and late cellular atherosclerotic process."
Consumer Reports: "How to Choose a Healthy Oil for Cooking."
Food Insight: "What are Monounsaturated Fats?"
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Avocados."
Journal of the American Heart Association: "Avocado Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease in US Adults."
Molecules: "Avocado Oil: Characteristics, Properties, and Applications."
One Green Planet: "The 6 Worst Oils To Cook With and What Should You Use Instead?"
UC Davis: "Study Finds 82 Percent of Avocado Oil Rancid or Mixed With Other Oils."