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:
- Avocado oil has nearly identical amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids as olive oil but more polyunsaturated fatty acids than olive oil (1.9 grams per tablespoon vs. 1.4 grams per tablespoon).
- Avocado oil contains less saturated fat than olive oil (1.6 grams per tablespoon vs. 1.9 grams per tablespoon).
- Avocado oil has a higher smoking point than olive oil, making it more versatile for cooking: 520 degrees Fahrenheit to olive oil's 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
What are some great ways to add avocado oil to your diet? Due to its high smoking point and buttery taste, this ultra-versatile oil can be used in place of other oils in all sorts of ways, ranging from acting as a drizzle for foods to high-heat cooking on a grill. Here are some suggestions:
- Use avocado oil instead of butter for flavoring your food. A good-quality extra-virgin avocado oil tastes delicious on a slice of whole wheat toast.
- Use refined avocado oil for your stir fry dishes. Its high smoking point makes it a perfect oil to use in your wok.
- Substitute extra-virgin avocado oil for olive oil in your salad dressings. Not only will you get its distinct and tasty buttery flavor, but you’ll also get more healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids and less unhealthy saturated fatty acids.
- Avocado oil can be used as a marinade for your chicken or seafood when pan-searing.
So give avocado oil a try! It truly is one of the best foods to make you younger, both inside and out.
Anthony Youn, M.D., FACS is a nationally-recognized, board-certified plastic surgeon who is considered one of the country's best-known experts in looking younger with or without surgery. He received his medical degree from the Michigan State University College of Medicine, and currently lives in the Greater Detroit area.
Youn is valued for his honest approach and ability to speak to all areas of health and well-being. He is a regular expert on The Rachael Ray Show, The Dr. Oz Show, and The Doctors, and has also been featured on Good Morning America, Today, CBS This Morning, Fox News, CNN, HLN, E!,The New York Times, USA Today, and People Magazine. Youn is also a regular contributor for CNN.com, NBCNews.com, and The Huffington Post.
Named a "Top Plastic Surgeon" by U.S. News and World Report and Harper's Bazaar, Dr. Youn is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.
Dr. Youn is the author of The Age Fix: A Leading Plastic Surgeon Reveals How To Really Look Ten Years Younger.