Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. In fact, they are so healthy people should really start saying, “An avocado a day helps keep the doctor away!” Seriously, the unique green fruit packs a powerful nutritional punch. It’s rich in “good” fats, key vitamins, and minerals that boost overall health. But you don’t need to dig into a whole avocado to reap the amazing benefits. Rather, you just need to drizzle a little avocado oil on top of your meal.
While avocados have become a popular fruit over the years, not everyone is aware of avocado oil. It’s one of the few oils that doesn’t derive from a seed. Instead, it comes from the fruit’s flesh – the part that surrounds the seed. Today, avocado oil is touted as one of the healthiest oils on the planet. Plus, it’s extremely versatile. You can use it to dress a salad, create a healthy dip, or fry up your morning omelet. Since avocado oil has a high smoke point (of at least 400 degrees), it’ highly recommended for cooking and stir fries. Simply swapping out a highly processed oil with organic avocado oil can drastically increase the nutritional value of your plated masterpiece.
Top 9 Amazing Avocado Oil Benefits
1) Heart Health (Blood Pressure & Cholesterol)
Just a minute ago I mentioned that avocados are rich in healthy fats. Well, avocado oil is no exception. Almost 70% of avocado oil consists of oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. This type of fat has been proven to help lower high blood pressure and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the body’s “bad” cholesterol. High LDL levels mean there’s a greater risk of heart disease, so it’s important to keep LDL levels at bay. Along with lowering bad cholesterol, avocado oil’s oleic acid has been known to increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. HDL is “good” cholesterol that the body needs to function properly.
Between lowering blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, and increasing good cholesterol, avocado oil greatly lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Hence, majorly benefiting heart health.
Additionally, avocado oil contains polyunsaturated and saturated fats. While saturated fats are often viewed as “bad” fats, certain sources are considered great for health. In this case, it’s a “good” fat.
2) Reduces Arthritis Symptoms
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 52.5 million adults in the United States have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. That number is predicted to grow in the upcoming years. Arthritis is a painful disease that involves inflammation of the joints. The most common type is osteoarthritis. Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. For some relief, sufferers may want to add avocado oil to their diet.
Researchers have conducted several studies on the impact avocado oil has on arthritis. The results are very promising. Researchers found extracts from avocado and soybean oil (called avocado/soybean unsaponifiables – ASU), can reduce pain and stiffness. In fact, in France, ASU has received prescription drug status. It’s used to treat knee and hip osteoarthritis. Also, in Denmark, ASU is sold as a supplement.
3) Boosts Nutrient Absorption
Have you ever heard the popular saying, “You are what you eat?” Well, that isn’t entirely true. Rather, you are what you absorb. You may not even realize it, but sometimes when you eat a nutritious meal, your body doesn’t actually absorb all of the nutrients. This could happen for a few reasons: damaged intestines, GI disorders/diseases, and prolonged antibiotic use just to name a few. Another reason your body may not be absorbing enough nutrients could simply be a result of improper food pairing. Did you know that certain nutrients need fat in order to be absorbed by your body? One such nutrient is carotenoids, an antioxidant with powerful health benefits. In one study, researchers paired avocado oil with salad. When compared to dry salad, they found the oil significantly enhanced the absorption of the following caratenoids: alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein.
4) Fights Cancer
Speaking of carotenoids, studies show these antioxidants can help protect people against certain types of cancers. Both beta-carotene and alpha-carotene (the ones I mentioned above) have been shown to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, and oral cancers. Additionally, women with increased intake of lutein (another carotenoid I mentioned above) have been shown to have lower rates of breast cancer.
Carotenoids aren’t the only nutrient in avocado oil that fights cancer. Oleic acid, which is the main fat in avocados, has been shown to protect against breast cancer. Several studies have found that monounsaturated fats, such as oleic acid, can lower a person’s risk of developing either breast or prostate cancers.
5) Supports Eye Health
The same antioxidants in avocado oil that fight cancer have also been proven to benefit eye health. According to researchers, if you consume enough Vitamin E and the carotenoid lutein, then you reduce your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Both are very serious and common eye diseases among the elderly. In fact, age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of blindness worldwide.
6) Improves Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects nearly 7.5 million people in the United States. It leaves a buildup of rough, dead cells on the skin – mainly the scalp, knees, elbows, hands and feet. Additionally, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, up to 40 percent of people with psoriasis experience joint inflammation that mirrors symptoms of arthritis. Today, some sufferers are getting relief from avocado oil.
In a 2001 study, researchers found a vitamin B12 cream that contains avocado oil can improve psoriasis symptoms. In the study, researchers looked at 13 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. After 12 weeks, the patients who were given the vitamin B12 cream saw consistent improvement in their symptoms. For this reason, researchers believe this is a suitable long-term therapy.
Along with its topical benefits, people battling psoriasis are encouraged to add avocado oil to their diet. After all, the key to a healthy outside starts with a healthy inside!
7) May Help Heal Wounds Faster
Since the proteins, vitamins, and minerals in avocado oil have been proven to reduce psoriasis symptoms and help keep the skin hydrated, researchers wanted to find out if it could also help heal wounds at a faster rate. In one study, researchers divided wounded rats into separate groups. The rats received either topical or oral treatment. Researchers found that avocado oil did promote faster healing of wounds. These results aren’t too surprising since avocado oil does contain primary skin-feeding nutrients such as vitamin A, D, E, potassium, and lecithin. So next time your skin is cut, scraped, burned, or blistered, clean the area thoroughly and then try rubbing a few drops of avocado oil on the skin. Your wound should heal faster than usual. Plus, you may help reduce the chances of a scar (double bonus)!
8) Helps Prevent/ Vanish Stretch Marks
An estimated 80 percent of Americans have stretch marks, a common form of scarring that involves the dermis tearing. While stretch marks aren’t harmful, it’s pretty fair to say that most people want to get rid of them. One way you can do that is by rubbing avocado oil on the area. Avocado oil is rich in skin-supporting vitamins A, D, and E. It also contains healthy fats that have been known to improve skin’s elasticity. Avocado oil is so beneficial for preventing and getting rid of stretch marks that it’s even used in some professionally formulated skincare products.
To help prevent and reduce the appearance of stretch marks, simply massage avocado oil onto the area twice a day. You should notice a big difference in about three weeks!
9) Moisturizes Hair
Just like with your skin, avocado oil can help moisturize and nourish your hair. One of the best ways to use avocado oil for hair is to create a natural hair mask. This will help moisturize your locks, protect against split ends, strengthen your hair, and stimulate your follicles (which helps promote hair growth). One effective hair mask combo is avocado oil and coconut oil (you can even add a raw egg into your mixture to bump up the protein value). Just mix the ingredients together and then apply it to your hair. Once your hair is covered in the oil make sure to give yourself a nice scalp massage. Leave the mask on your hair for about 20 minutes and then wash it out like normal. Make sure to scrub well to get all of the oil out of your hair. Then apply your conditioner and rinse. Apply a hair mask once a week for optimal results!
Where Can I Find Avocado Oil?
Chances are the last time you visited your local grocery store, your eyes skimmed right over avocado oil and you didn’t even realize it! You can either pick up a bottle at your local food store or health food store. When selecting the right bottle, make sure to look for one that is 100 percent pure. You want to see the following words: organic, extra virgin, unrefined, and cold-pressed. Extra virgin refers to the grade of oil. Many times, lower grade oils are loaded with chemicals and/or are diluted. Also, the term “cold pressed” refers to the extraction process. When heat is used to extract oil some of the nutrients are destroyed. On the flip-side, when you buy cold pressed, many of the nutrients stay in tact. Of course, if you want to reap the benefits I highlighted earlier then you want all of the nutrients you can get!
Since avocado oil is made from real avocados it’s important to note that it can spoil. After you open your bottle of avocado oil it’s best if used within six months. With how delicious and versatile the stuff is, though, you shouldn’t have a problem finishing it!