Avocado Oil Benefits: Healthier than Coconut Oil?

Avocado Oil Benefits Image

Coconut oil is well-known for its many benefits, but another oil is gaining popularity for its versatility and health benefits: Avocado oil.

Avocado oil is popping up as an ingredient in many healthy foods. People love it for its mild flavor in cooking and lack of scent in beauty recipes. It is the main ingredient in a new brand of Mayo that claims to be healthier than other brands and the cooking oil for some types of potato chips.

But is avocado oil really healthy?

Short answer:

Yes.

But there are some important things to understand about this healthful oil that comes from the “alligator pear.”

What is Avocado Oil?

Avocado is a unique plant oil with very specific benefits. Most plant oils are extracted from the seed of the plant, but avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of the avocado. Most fruits are higher in carbohydrate and contain little or no fat, yet avocado is very high in beneficial fats.

Avocado is also unique because it contains more potassium than a banana and more protein and fats than any other fruit. Its meteoric rise in popularity can be compared to coconut oil’s surge in popularity, but nutritionally it resembles olive oil.

Nutrient Content of Avocado Oil

This lightly flavored oil is high in oleic acid, monounsaturated fats and Vitamins A, E and D. It contains decent amounts of magnesium and antioxidants, which most people do not consume enough of. It may also make other foods healthier:

The fats aren’t only healthy in and of themselves but make other nutrients, particularly carotenoids, in the avocado much more bioavailable. Research has shown that avocado or avocado oil increased the absorption of carotenoids in a meal anywhere from 2.6 times to 15.3 times depending on carotenoid. (source)

Avocados are one of only a few natural sources of the potent compound beta-sitosterol. This powerful phytosterol positively impacts lipid and cholesterol levels in the body. There is even some research showing that beta-sitosterol may inhibit cell division of cancerous cells.

The benefits of antioxidants are well documented, but avocado oil has a uniquely beneficial ability to penetrate cells down to the mitochondria and actually improve the function of the cell. This makes avocado helpful in reducing aging and helping the body fortify against illness and disease.

Avocado is not a typical allergen and fewer people are allergic to avocado oil than coconut or nut-based oils. For this reason, it is becoming a popular alternative in recipes and beauty remedies.

Avocado Oil Benefits

As you may imagine, the unique properties of avocado and its oil make it beneficial in many ways. These are some of the most well-documented benefits of avocado oil:

Benefits of Avocado Oil

Nutrient Absorption

Avocados are a good source of nutrients on their own with half of an avocado containing about:

  • 26% of the RDA of Vitamin K
  • 1/5 of the RDA of Folate
  • 17% of the recommended amount of Vitamin C
  • About 13% of the RDA of Vitamin B5 and B6
  • 14 % of the RDA of Potassium
  • 17% of the RDA of Vitamin C

This is coming with 160 calories, 2 grams of protein and 15 grams of healthy fats. Although it contains 9 grams of carbs, 7 of those are fiber so there are only 2 “net” carbs, making this a low-carb friendly plant food. (source)

On top of this, avocado and its oil may improve the absorption of other foods that we eat.

Here’s why:

There are beneficial compounds called carotenoids in many foods, especially brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Carotenoids rely on dietary fats for absorption, but most foods high in carotenoids are naturally low in fat.

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2005 showed that even low doses of avocado oil increased absorption of carotenoids but as much as 15x! This means that adding even a tiny amount of avocado oil to a salad improves the body’s ability to increase absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein.

Avocados for Gum Health

It sounds odd, but there is some pretty strong evidence that avocados and avocado oil are really good for oral health. In fact, one 2006 study found that avocado oil consumption and use had a reverse correlation with periodontal disease.

In other words, the more avocado oil a person consumed, the less likely he or she was to get gum disease. The study concluded that certain properties in this oil reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines which are present in gum disease.

Smoother Skin

Avocado oil is one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin E. Itcontains polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols which can reduce skin damage, tighten skin and reduce wrinkles.

This makes it excellent for skin and many people find that it is a great moisturizer on its own. It can also be used as a makeup remover, in oil cleansing, and recipes like lotion.

It is an excellent alternative to coconut or almond oils, especially for those with allergies or intolerances to these oils.

We’ve known for years that eating avocados can be great for the skin, but new research shows that the oil may be even more beneficial.

A 2001 study in the Journal of Dermatology showed that a cream containing avocado oil and Vitamin B12 was a helpful remedy for Psoriasis. The University of Maryland Medical center even lists this mixture as a remedy for psoriasis.

Even mainstream beauty websites are on board with the skin-boosting benefits of avocado oil! A dab of avocado oil can help ease itchy and dry skin and even bug bites!

Try this: infuse some dried plantain leaf into avocado oil for an all-purpose natural skin serum!

Source of Monounsaturated Fats

Technically classified as a fruit, Avocado qualifies as one of the highest-fat fruits in existence. In fact, over 3/4 of its calories are from fat!

It is important to know that the fat in avocado oil is mostly oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat. This is the same fat that gives olive oil its superfood status and the Mediterranean Diet its good reputation.

There are many studies that show Oleic Acid’s ability to reduce inflammation and even reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Avocado to Ease Joint Pain

Avocado may have some incredible benefits for those with joint pain and arthritis.

In France, avocado was part of a special formula that was given prescription status for its ability to help with cartilage strength and repair. Combined with the natural anti-inflammatory properties of avocado, it is easy to see how this oil may be beneficial for reducing joint pain.

The effects seems to be from internal use of avocado and its oil, suggesting that the nutritive properties may have the benefit. It is interesting to note that while this formula produced reduction in pain and is marketed in Denmark for this purpose, no structural changes were noticed. In other words, avocado may be helpful in reducing joint pain but probably won’t repair the actual damage to the joint.

With all of the other benefits associated with avocado, it certainly may be beneficial to consume. Since avocado increases the absorption of nutrients in other foods, it may benefit the joints in other ways too.

Avocado Oil for Stronger Hair

Avocado’s unique essential fatty acid composition also makes it helpful for hair health. It can nourish the hair and scalp and may be a good addition to hair products.

I personally use castor oil in my hair and on my eyelashes to increase hair growth. I’ve been experimenting with adding avocado oil to this formula to make it even more beneficial.

Try this: To thicken hair and reduce hair fall, I make an oil-based salve for my scalp at night. I combine a teaspoon each of avocado and castor oils with a few drops of rosemary, clary sage and lavender essential oils. I rub a few drops of this into my scalp each night before bed and wash out in the morning.

A Heart Healthy Oil

The debate continues on about if olive oil or coconut oil is healthier for the heart. If butter is heart healthy or artery clogging.

Avocado oil, on the other hand, has consistently shown positive effects for heart health. In fact, large studies have shown that the monounsaturated oils in avocado are excellent for the heart. Avocado is considered a cholesterol lowering food and may improve the balance of HDL and LDL in the body.

Avocado oil showed benefits in reducing the risk of Coronary Heart Disease by reducing risk factors, including:

  • Lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Improving HDL (“good”) cholesterol
  • Reducing triglyceride levels
  • Improving blood clotting factors and reducing the risk of dangerous clots
  • Improving insulin sensitivity

A Great Cooking Oil

Olive oil is controversial for use in high heat cooking and frying. Avocado oil is a great alternative with a mild flavor. It has a higher smoke point that olive oil and preserves its nutrients at higher temperatures.

Unlike extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil it blends well into mayo and sauces without much taste. This makes a closer alternative to “regular” mayo without the harmful vegetable oils.

Personally, I use avocado oil in many recipes, for stir frys, sautéing and almost every other type of kitchen use.

Diet and Allergen Friendly

Avocado oil is a great for many different diets and those with sensitivities.

It is considered an approved oil for:

  • Those on a low FODMAP protocol
  • Anyone following the GAPS diet
  • Autoimmune diets and protocols (there is some debate on this but in general Avocado is considered safe)

The fats in avocado are considered soothing to the digestive system and are easily digested. They are one of the first foods I give to my babies for this reason.

Avocado Oil Recipes

Use this versatile oil in place of almost any other oil in your kitchen:

  • Substitute avocado oil for butter or vegetable oil in baking
  • Use as the base for stir frys
  • Infuse garlic or herbs into this oil for a cooking oil
  • Add vinegars and spices for an easy salad dressing
  • Make your own mayo with avocado (or buy this pre-made one)
  • Use on grilled meats and veggies

Cautions With Avocado Oil

Many people with a latex allergy can’t tolerate avocado or its oil. Personally, I have issues with latex but can handle avocados- check with a doctor to be safe. Of course, anyone with a sensitivity to avocado shouldn’t consume it or its oil, but it is not a common allergen.

Where to Buy Avocado Oil

Many local grocery stores will carry it, but I typically order it online from either Thrive Market or Amazon.

Avocado Oil: Bottom Line

No food is a miracle cure on its own, but this oil seems like a great addition to a healthy diet. Many people love avocado and its oil for its health, skin and hair benefits.

Try it internally to improve the nutrients in food, since it may help absorption of other nutrients. Externally, it is great for skin and hair and is a multi-use skin remedy.

Also- if you like store bought mayo, I’d recommend trying this delicious new brand of mayo with avocado oil.

Avocado-Oil

Do you like avocado oil? How do you use it?

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Reader Comments

  1. Love love avocado. It is so delicious esp with salad!

  2. Has anyone oil-pulled with Avocado Oil?
    I wonder if it would also be beneficial as an oil-pulling oil candidate

      • If you had to choose between coconut oil and avocado oil to oil pull, which would you choose?

  3. My avocado oil seemed to go rancid pretty fast and had to throw it out. Is this a common problem, anyone know?

    • I’ve had this happen when I was storing the oil improperly – it was just in a mason jar out on the counter, at room temperature. The oil I buy now comes in a dark green bottle to avoid sunlight exposure (just like any good olive oil) and I also store it inside my pantry.

      I make quite a bit of mayonnaise so I go through a large bottle every other month, and I haven’t had it go rancid in the pantry, but if you don’t go through it very quickly you could also store it in the fridge to prolong its shelf life. It will solidify in the fridge even, though, so you’d have to set it out at room temperature to bring it back to a liquid state.

      • Really helpful info…thanks Lauren. Mine was stored in a clear bottle on the windowsill in a bathroom. That would explain it…

  4. Hi, Katie
    Thank you for this article. What brand do you use for cooking/food?

  5. A health food chef told me that all of these benefits go away when the oil isn’t just pressed. That when we bottle and store the oil it loses a lot of its benefits. Does anyone have any data on this?

    • No data, but that makes sense. Oil IS a processed food, after all, which is why I’ve pretty much stopped using them. I try to get my fats from whole foods instead, like avocados instead of avocado oil, olives instead of olive oil, coconut butter (which is still a little processed) instead of coconut oil, etc. And of course nuts and seeds.

  6. Is there a specific brand of olive oil you recommend? I assume as with any oils we should look for organic cold pressed?

  7. I trust the products you use so do you have a link to one you would recommend?

  8. Just curious, what brand of avocado oil do you buy?

  9. Is there a brand or brands you recommend? I have duly noted your enthusiasm for Mark’s mayo, but I am curious what your go-to brand is for the straight-up oil? 😉

  10. Hi! I am so extremely thankful for your site and all the wonderful posts which have made caring for our family in a way that is natural and holistic possible. I was wondering if you could comment with the exact recipe for the hair thickening salve. I have noticed my husband’s hair thinning/falling out the past month due to extreme stress and was thinking of making this for him to use at night. Thank you so much in advance!

  11. Maybe a bit off topic, but what are everyone’s thoughts on the brand JustMayo?

    • It’s made with canola oil, I believe and that’s an oil we try to avoid.

  12. Should avocado oil be refrigerated once opened?

  13. My son (15 months) throws up after eating avocados. I’ve put avocado oil in things that he’s eaten before though and not noticed any reaction. Maybe it was just a fluke. But typically if you are allergic to the fruit itself, would you also have the same reaction to the oil?

    • It could be just a texture thing. My son used to throw up green beans and peas. Now he eats them no problem.

  14. So far I just eat avocado raw with a sprinkle of Himalayan salt. I’d you add lemon or lime juice to this and possibly onion and tomato it makes yummy guacamole! Avocados are fabulous.

  15. Sounds good to me! I need to go cut up one in my fridge today! I will see if they got the cooking oil one at the commissary this week. They do tend to cater to military families and people who work a regular job on base ( if u are retired military also) and try to get the rproducts in the store for people who do everything homemade . I want to try that mayo recipe on here.

  16. If you’re going to cheat on some potato chips, like I did last night….the best ones, and seemingly only ones I’ve seen are made with Avocado oil. I thought the ones cooked in coconut oil had a nice flavor, but the ones cooked in Avocado oil are amazing. A company called Boulder Canyon makes them. They don’t taste like Avocado. They just have a really nice depth of flavor. You can probably order them online if they aren’t available in your area. I think they are made in Colorado.

    • You know, they say Americans have never even had un-rancid Olive Oil since it goes rancid at the slightest bit of heat and has to travel to us from California or from Italy. I imagine Avocado oil is the same. I plan, from now on, to just keep my oils in the fridge. They solidify, but I have found wide mouth dark jars to keep them in and I just spoon it out. They begin to melt at room temp. Just requires a little forward thinking to let some sit out in a little bowl prior to a meal.

      As well, I can’t stand virgin coconut oil in my cooking. Can’t stand everything tasting like coconuts. So i’m going to try Avocado instead.

  17. With all the controversy over quality olive oil, I wonder how to ensure that an avocado oil is quality. I also wonder how it is processed. I never see cold pressed or raw or unrefined. As we all know, processing kills so much of the good stuff. Any thoughts or words of wisdom Katie?

  18. Avocados high in Vitamin D? As far as I’ve heard, Vit D is rarely found in plants. The only veg I know of that contains it is kelp. I looked up avocado and all I see is it contains zero Vit D.

  19. We just bought some avocado oil from Fresh Thyme market and I noticed it’s not cold-pressed or I unrefined like the brand we had previously. Is it still a good choice or should we search out cold-pressed, unrefined avocado oil?

  20. Just started using avocado oil & loving it! Saw Avolio brand at Costco & picked it up. So far I’ve used it for salad dressing, baked French fries and turkey meatloaf. My family never noticed ? Have you heard of this brand?

  21. I have just come across your site @i have to say i really like it, @incidently i love avacado! I am a chronic asthmatic @ suffer with dishydrotic eczema which has lead to many lengthy stints in hospital usually ICU,but worst of all is the fact that i have been on@off steroids for 12 years the last 2&half permanently on,ive just recently been tapered off @ am suffering the results,my long red hair has all but fallen out,my skin is so dry it wrinkles,my teeth are very week @ prone to breaking @ my bones just ache,i will of course follow my doctors orders but anything natural that you could reccomend would be much appreciated my doctor has given me the go ahead to get pregnant,this may be my last chance as I’m 38 @ want to be as healthy as possible,i also want to look as good as possible just to make me feel a bit human again,i didn’t mean for this message to be so long just wanted you to understand the crux of my problem any help,recipes,advice would be very much appreciated thanking you in advance,kind regards your new follower Erin

    • ERIN!!
      I personally would go see a holistic or naturopathic Dr. ASAP
      mine has helped me in ways my regular Dr never EVER did. I would also recommend the AIP diet!!!
      I don’t want to offend anyone but, you can get better, usually not with western medicine.

      Here’s to your healing. sending many good thoughts your way.

      • Thanks christine i shall definitely look up @ make an appointment with a reputable holistic or naturopathic dr, could someone explain the AIP diet warmest regards, Erin

  22. I love this new avocado mayo you are using. I have recently bought the mayo and oil from Thrive. Does anyone have a good salad dressing recipe using avocado oil?

  23. i adore olivado avocado oil, u can get it on amazon…its exquisite and to me even better than olive oil. now that its known that most olive oil is fake, this will be my go-to oil, also hemp oil is very healthy.

  24. I’ve read that coconut oil is one of the best oils for us. So, I decided to do a little research. It turns out that coconut oil has natural antibacterial properties. Given the fact that we are mostly bacteria, (bacteria cells outnumber human cells by 10 to 1) and that most of these bacteria are good, helpful bacteria, I question whether Coconut oil is really a good choice. Non hydrogenated Canola Oil may be a better choice.

    We don’t want to harm our good, helpful microbes, they keep us healthy. This ecosystem of bacteria is called, ‘The Human Microbiome’. Trouble is, we continue to make mistakes and treat our good, helpful bacteria wrongly, often killing them and/or disrupting this ecosystem. The average American has lost 40% of the diversity of this ecosystem. That’s right, 40% . That’s a large number of good species already we have lost.
    We all need to change the way we think. Every step we take, we must look at anew, and ask, “is this good or bad for our microbiome, (our good bacteria) ?” After all, these good bacteria play an enormous role in our overall health, it is rather amazing, and certainly profound. We are mostly bacteria, and the health and diversity of this ecosystem translates into the health of our bodies. If we damage this ecosystem, we damage our own health in numerous ways that we are just beginning to understand.

    I’m installing a whole house chlorine filter to remove chlorine from my drinking and bathing water. I never use mouthwash, and have quit using toothpaste (just using a toothbrush and water). Each of us needs to re-examine our lives and ask, “is this harmful to my microbiome?” Many products have been approved by the FDA when there was really no understanding of the human microbiome, and the huge role it plays in our health. We are mostly bacteria, but it is OK, these bacteria keep us healthy. It is when we damage this ecosystem, causing dysbosis, inflammation, loss of species, and havoc that we end up with our modern day plagues of of diabetes, obesity, Autism, MS, allergies, IBS, UC, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Depression, Chronic Fatigue, ADHD, ADD, and a long list of other diseases. Researchers are quickly realizing the huge and amazing role these bacteria play in our own health. It behooves us to do everything we can possibly do to avoid harming this ecosystem further. We have to change our way of thinking, and our lifestyle.

    There is some good news for those wishing to replenish their microbiomes; it turns out that there are good, helpful microbes on fresh fruits and fresh vegetables. Our good guys, they are right here. Fresh is best, and your local farmer’s market is ideal. In fact, that little spec of dirt on our carrot just might not be so bad for us. Dr. Josh Axe makes some very intriguing observations in his book, “Eat Dirt”, and I highly recommend it for those wishing to restore the health and diversity of their microbiomes. I think he might be on to something. All of us can help to educate the vendors at farmer’s markets as to the concept of not rinsing their produce in chlorinated water, and perhaps not rinsing at all, letting the consumer decide and give them choices of rinsed or non rinsed..

    We should be avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods have emulsifiers (they are hard to spot on the label and come under different names). The trouble is, these emulsifiers are causing inflammation in our gut, which is harmful to our ecosystem of bacteria, our human microbiome. They add sugars to practically everything now, the trouble is sugars feed our bad bacteria. We just make one mistake after another, but I’m convinced we can learn, we can change, and we can make healthier choices.

    The truth is, the race is on to restore our microbiome’s diversity and health. It translates into our own health. The next 25 years will bring sweeping changes to how we maintain our health as everyone begins to understand that we have a microbiome and we must nurture it’s health. I speculate that mud baths will some day become fashionable. We must remember that our distant ancestors did not bather daily in chlorinated water, and in fact only bathed infrequently.

  25. A lot of what you say is interesting and makes sense, Joe but Canola oil?….yikes…no way!

    There are still many things we are learning about health. Wellness mama has many interesting articles on her blog about microbiomes too and has taught me so much. So glad you’re committed to a healthy lifestyle. Good luck to you.

  26. Thanks Katie for this article. I agree with Jackie. I would rather eat my Avocados whole than subjecting it to any form of processing whatsoever. I also use it to make my hair food as well to cold`steam my hair. Its a supernice hair-conditioner.

  27. Love this subject. So excited to try the oil. Can you recommend a good brand?

  28. Not sure whether to buy refined or unrefined Avocado oil. I know that unrefined is almost always healthier but I read somewhere that unrefined avocado oil has more of a scent than refined and that refined has a higher heat point. Any advice here? Thanks!

  29. The benefits of olive oil are numerous. A nourishing olive oil massage helps in relieving sore muscles and damaged joints, and the powerful anti-inflammatory compounds present in the oil soothe joint pain, recover infected tissues and defends the skin against infection.

    • If you can get pure olive oil, that is probably true but the chances of finding it in North America are pretty slim. Almost all olive oil here is adulterated and stale and therefore lacking the benefits of pure, fresh olive oil.

  30. I have to give my dog Loratadine every day and therefore the vet told me to give him Welactin 3 omega supplement as well. He has bad sinus problems and not skin believe it or not. If I start giving him coconut oil will I need to cut out the Welactin? I don’t want him to end up with very loose stool with all the oil. I like all the benefits of the omega supplement, but not sure the coconut oil covers all the omegas benefits to make a total switch?

    • Sorry I posted this on the wrong article I thought I was in the dog and coconut oil and it was the Avocado oil article.

  31. 2 avocado questions
    1. I like to have an avocado mayo and ham sandwich w/ my coffee, is that a good or bad idea?
    2. Anyone who goes to sprouts recommend any avocado oil cooked chip brands?

  32. I have not seen one valid study that shows any oil is healthier than whole foods but I have seen valid studies which used scientific tools to show that oils, even EVO, reduce blood flow and damage arteries.

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