The next time you’re about to buy a bottle of olive oil, consider trying avocado oil instead.
Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Although we all know the nutritional benefits of eating avocados, avocado oil has always taken a backseat to its olive brethren. A close inspection of its nutritional values, however, reveals that it may be better for our skin and overall health than olive oil.
Avocado oil is created in a multistep process. Ripe avocados are washed, pitted, and skinned. The resultant pulp is then pressed, creating a sludgy substance resembling guacamole. This sludge is centrifuged to separate the pulp from the oil.
The resultant oil, which is slightly green, is considered unrefined avocado oil. This can be consumed, or it can undergo a refining process to remove impurities.
Avocado oil is a rich source of healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Unlike saturated and trans fats, which tend to be pro-inflammatory, these fats are anti-inflammatory. They soothe and calm inflamed, broken-out skin, decrease the redness and damage associated with UV exposure, and improve skin’s elasticity, resulting in fewer wrinkles.
Avocado oil is also full of carotenoids, the most significant of which is lutein, an antioxidant that's been used as a nutrient to help prevent age-related macular degeneration. More recent evidence suggests that lutein can also provide a protective effect to the skin, preventing UV-radiation-induced skin damage.
In addition to containing its own carotenoids, avocado oil also boosts the absorption of carotenoids from other vegetables, creating a synergistic effect.
Avocado oil also contains chlorophyll, which gives it its slightly green color and acts as an antioxidant to scavenge free radicals, protecting our skin from their harmful and aging effects. It can even be used as a topical moisturizer — simply applying a small amount directly to your skin will result in softer and more hydrated skin. (Just make sure you aren’t allergic to it by doing a small test patch first!)
So how does avocado oil compare to the more popular olive oil? Let’s analyze: