Avocados are often mentioned when talking about a well-balanced diet or certain kinds of weight-loss diets – so much so that a lot of healthy recipes use avocado as the main ingredient or incorporate it to boost the nutritional profile and/or weight-loss benefits of a meal. Avocado oil is one of the unique fruit’s popular derivatives. Read on to learn more about avocado oil’s benefits.
How is Avocado Oil Made?
Professionally made, unrefined avocado oil is produced from freshly picked, ripe avocados. The fruits are washed, de-pitted, and skinned. Only the pulp is used to make the oil, which is done through a centrifuge process, which forces the oil and water out of the pulp. The oil – which is slightly thick and green, and is less dense – is then separated from the water.
With the growing popularity of avocado oil, recipes to make avocado oil at home have populated the internet. There are three main ways to make avocado oil at home.
The first is through cooking. Only the meat of the avocados is used. It is first pureed to make a paste and cooked over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the avocado turns a dark green or brown color and all the water has evaporated. The cooked avocado puree is then placed in a cheesecloth and squeezed to drain the oil.
The second process also involves making a paste from the meat of the avocados. The paste is then spread thinly over a baking tray and then placed in the oven to dry it out. The temperature should not exceed 155 degrees F (50 degrees C). Drying usually takes up to five hours, or until the paste turns a dark greenish brown color. (Alternatively, the tray can also be dried under the sun for about two days.) The dried avocado paste is then placed in a cheesecloth and squeezed to collect the oil.
The third process uses the avocado skin. After the meat and pulp are removed, the skins are placed on top of each other in an orange press, and are then pressed to squeeze out the oil. This step will produce oil with some bits of avocado still mixed in, so the oil is strained using a coffee filter. The oil is allowed to slowly drip through the filter overnight.
Avocado Oil Benefits
Rich in healthy fatty acid
Oleic acid, a heart-healthy, monounsaturated, omega-9 fatty acid, makes up almost 70% of avocado oil. Approximately 13% consists of polyunsaturated fat and about 12% is saturated fat.
Good for heart health
Separate studies have found that avocado oil has the potential to lower LDL cholesterol levels, blood triglycerides, and blood pressure, as well as increase good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
Supports eye health
Lutein is a carotenoid that is naturally present in the eyes, but the body is not able to produce more of it so it has to be obtained from the diet. Avocado oil is a good source of lutein, and adequate intake of this antioxidant may reduce the risk of age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Supports nutrient absorption
One of the most important roles of fat in the body is facilitating the absorption of certain nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Carotenoid antioxidants that are found in plants, for example, require fat so the body can properly absorb them; but the same plant foods that carry these compounds are low in fat. One study found that adding avocado oil to a vegetable salad can
increase the body’s absorption of carotenoids.
Provides relief from arthritis symptoms
A combination of avocado and soybean oil extracts has the potential to reduce symptoms of osteoarthritis – specifically the pain and stiffness that result from the breakdown of joint cartilage which causes this joint disease.
May be beneficial for gum health
The same combination of avocado oil and soybean oil has also been found to effectively block the protein that causes the inflammation associated with gum disease. Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is characterized by bleeding gums, bad breath, bone and tissue loss around the teeth, and even tooth loss.
Has skin health benefits
Avocado oil has high levels of Vitamin E, lecithin, potassium, and other skin nutrients. The oleic acid in the oil helps stimulate collagen production, which is essential in maintaining young-looking skin and in accelerating wound healing.
Protects against free radicals
Free radicals are waste products of metabolism and when they accumulate, they can cause cell damage and oxidative stress which, in turn, can increase the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The cell’s mitochondria is a major source of harmful free radicals when it produces energy for the cell. One study found that the antioxidants in avocado oil can enter the mitochondria and neutralize the free radicals that are produced by the cellular organ.
Uses for Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is a versatile ingredient and can be easily incorporated into a lot of dishes. The fatty acids in avocado oil remain stable in high heat, so the oil can be safely used for cooking. You can also mix the oil into a smoothie; use as a salad dressing; use as a meat marinade; use for homemade mayo; add to a baking recipe; drizzle over vegetables for roasting; and drizzle over hummus and soups.
Avocado oil is also a common ingredient used in a variety of skin and hair care products. It is a healthy substitute for olive oil, coconut oil, or butter.