Avocado oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 14:27 min

Avocado oil is considered one of the healthiest oils in the world. Here we explain why, and what to take into consideration when buying it.

Name Avocado
Lat. Name Persea americana
Synonyms Avocado pear
Origin Central America
Price per 10ml 0,40
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Teebaumöl from

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Internal effect

The avocado is one of the richest, healthiest foods in the world. Accordingly, the oil is considered extremely healthy. Avocado oil was used in Central America for food preparation for thousands of years. Nowadays it is becoming increasingly popular as edible oil in Europe. It has a pleasant taste and therefore goes well with various meat, fish or vegetable dishes.

Cholesterol

Avocado oil contains large amounts of monounsaturated oleic acid. Like other omega-9 fatty acids, it raises the level of "good cholesterol" (HDL) in the blood and at the same time lowers the level of "bad cholesterol" (LDL). It competes with the bad fats for absorption in the intestine into the blood and ultimately displaces it.

High proportions of LDL causes arteriosclerosis to develop. This disease has become the leading cause of death worldwide. Cholesterol esters are deposited on the inner wall of arterial blood vessels, especially on coronary arteries. These deposits are covered with tissue, so that a so-called arteriosclerotic plaque forms.

This alone causes a problematic narrowing of the vessels, but it becomes really dangerous when this plaque tears open due to the high blood pressure it causes. Rapidly developing blood clots can clog small vessels in a very short time and thus trigger an infarction or a stroke.

Scientists today agree that a reduced LDL level and a simultaneously increased HDL level can prevent this from developing. Avocado oil can do both and can therefore prevent coronary diseases and a stroke.

For bodybuilding

Bodybuilders commonly use avocado oil as a substitute for butter and other animal fats. They are unhealthy in larger quantities due to their cholesterol levels. Both the fruit itself and the use of the oil can promote healthy weight gain, which is essential for that sporty look.

Bodybuilders who low-carb diet have to account for the calorie gap caused by the reduced intake of carbohydrates. Therefore, they increase their intake of fats and proteins. The avocado, with its relatively high fat content, as well as the avocado oil, are ideal to increase the absorption of healthy fats.

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External impact

For facial skin

Avocado oil is not greasy, and is very suitable as a make-up base. Especially in winter, it therefore protects the skin from harsh weather and environmental influences. It particularly supplies delicate facial skin with essential nutrients, and regulates production of natural oils. Small pimples or inflammations react well to the ingredients of avocado oil. Not only does it have a cleansing effect, but also promotes quick healing of the skin.

For signs of skin aging

Small wrinkles appear in the skin during the ageing, with scar formation. The valuable fatty acids of avocado oil provide the skin with lasting moisture and thereby smooth it. Wrinkles around the eyes in particular can be treated well with avocado oil, since the gentle oil is not irritating to the eyes. The antioxidant ingredients in the oil counteract ageing and make the skin appear young and supple. Age spots can also be lightened somewhat by substances in avocado oil and are therefore no longer so prominently visible. Sterolins, active ingredients, are responsible for this effect.

 

General skin care

Avocado oil is ideal for the care of dry and damaged skin. Itchy and irritated areas of skin are soothed with this oil. For this reason, it is also suitable for relieving the symptoms of chronic skin diseases such as eczema. Avocado oil provides both fats and moisture and is absorbed into the skin without leaving any residue. This ensures a pleasant, non-greasy, moisturised feeling.

Hair care

Avocado oil has nourishing ingredients, from which very dry and brittle hair greatly benefits. The fats it contains makes your hair appear supple and brings about a healthy shine. Overall, the oil makes the hair more resistant to a wide range of damaging environmental influences, such as UV rays or dry, hot winds. Avocado oil also has a positive effect on the scalp. It moisturises, and protects against itching and dandruff.

Side effects

Avocado oil is healthy, but also very high in calories, so it is advisable not to overconsume this edible oil. If you use the oil in moderate amounts, you will provide your body with sufficient healthy unsaturated fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. No side effects or overdoses are expected when using externally.

Application | Uses

Use as an edible oil

When used as edible oil, avocado oil offers incredible benefits compared to other vegetable oils. At 260 ° C, it has a comparatively very high smoking point. The smoking point describes the temperature at which the oil exhibits clearly visible smoke development. Volatile, i.e. water-containing, substances evaporate. The polyunsaturated fatty acids in the oil are converted into trans-fatty acids at this temperature. The relative arrangement of the molecules to one another changes. 

Medically, foods with a high proportion of trans-fatty acids pose a great health risk. Increased intake is considered to be a main cause of an excessively high LDL level in blood. The risk of arteriosclerosis - with an increased risk of a heart attack and stroke has been explained above.

Since avocado oil consists largely of monounsaturated fatty acids, hardly any trans-fatty acids are formed. It can be easily used for frying and baking. This does not apply to most other vegetable oils, however, which are better used exclusively for the preparation of colder dishes. In comparison: the smoke point of virgin olive oil is between 130 and 175 ° C. However, you should not forget that the vitamins contained in avocado oil can’t withstand these high temperatures. For this reason too, you should reduce preparation time to a minimum.

Due to its pleasant, mild taste, avocado oil is also suitable for the preparation of salad dressings or to be added to muesli. It is an edible oil that can be used in all areas of food preparation. For its health-promoting effect, you should use it in small quantities daily.

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Application: skin care

Essentially, pure avocado oil can be applied to the skin. If necessary, it can even be applied several times a day, for example - in very dry skin. Overdoses have not been known to occur with external application. It is recommended to use cotton pads soaked in oil to clean and care for facial skin. These can also be placed on the eyes for 30 minutes to treat wrinkles, so that the active ingredients can be absorbed in peace.   In addition to pure application, avocado oil can also be suitably combined with other care products. For example, it has proven to be useful to soak very dry and cracked hands or feet overnight in milking balm and to add a few teaspoons of avocado oil beforehand. Spread the mixture generously on cracked skin, and pull a thin cotton sock or cotton glove over it. The cotton not only protects against smearing the oil, but also warms the skin. This allows the pores to open and the ingredients can fully penetrate the skin. 

To care for larger areas of skin, or even the whole body, it is advisable to add a few teaspoons of avocado oil to a neutral body lotion. This makes it easier to apply and you don't need too much of the valuable oil.

To lighten age spots, you can use pure avocado oil. Massage it into the skin at least twice a day. The massage increases local blood circulation, which warms the skin and ensures that the pores open and ingredients are better absorbed. In addition to the use of pure avocado oil, you can also make a special mixture for treating age spots yourself.This should contain an acid, that has a bleaching effect on the skin. Citric acid, for example, is suitable. Squeeze out half a lemon and mix the juice in equal parts into avocado oil. The combination of bleaching acid and the antioxidant oil will lighten the stains if used regularly. Take care that the acid does not excessively irritate your skin. If you are sensitive to it, a pure use of avocado oil is preferable.

For hair care

Avocado oil can be massaged into the hair. After washing your hair, you can apply a few drops - sparingly - into your hair. First, treat the tips of your hair, and then move up. Another method is: avocado oil treatment before washing your hair. You can massage large amounts of the oil into your hair and scalp. The hair may be greased properly. Allow the oil to work for several hours, e.g. overnight. Cover your hair with a towel during this time. The heat from the towel promotes absorption of the ingredients, and you protect your pillow from grease stains. Subsequently, you should wash the oil out of your hair thoroughly with shampoo. 

In addition to using pure avocado oil, it can also be combined well with other care products for hair care. For example, you can make your own avocado shampoo. To do this, mix natural liquid soap with coconut milk in a ratio of 1:1. Then add avocado oil. A quantity of one teaspoon of oil per 100 ml of shampoo maximum is recommended, to prevent your hair from becoming too greasy. 

Preservatives are usually added to industrially manufactured shampoos to prevent the multiplication of germs in the product. Since this natural formula does not provide such agents, you should only make as much shampoo as you will use in about 4 weeks. Also, be sure to close the jar immediately after use. When washing hair with the avocado shampoo, it can remain in the hair for a little longer and does not have to be rinsed out immediately. This allows the powerful ingredients to work optimally in your hair.

Manufacturing

Avocado oil is obtained from the pressed pulp of the avocado, which has a fat content of over 20 percent. This attribute also explains the name "butter pear", which was often used in the 20th century in a derogatory manner. Today, knowledge of the healthy ingredients of avocado and its oil is widespread, and so both are now highly valued.

To produce the oil, the fruit is first removed from the skin and seeds, since both are inedible. In contrast to the pulp, they contain, among other things, persine, a toxic fat that is supposed to protect the seeds from bacteria, worms and rodents. It seems harmless to humans, but research is not yet entirely clear.   Pulp oil is usually obtained through cold pressing (Avocado oleum virginale). This method is gentle on the ingredients and allows them to be preserved as best as possible. The cloudy oil is dark brown to greenish and smells fruity. When buying your oil, ensure that the oil way obtained in this way. An inferior oil can also be enzymatically supported or extracted from the fruit using hot pressing. This refined oil (Avocado oleum raffinatum) is lighter in colour and rather clear. Because of its poor quality, it is a little cheaper. 

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Ingredients

The main ingredient (about 85 percent) of avocado oil is unsaturated fatty acids. This is primarily oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that can lower blood cholesterol. Others, such as the monounsaturated fatty acids palmitoleic acid and linoleic acid are essential nutrients found in human skin. They support the regulation of water balance.

In addition to the fatty acids, avocado oil contains comparatively large amounts of fat-soluble vitamins. It is primarily vitamins A and E, but vitamin D is also found in avocado oil. The latter is responsible for regulating calcium levels in the blood and bone structure. They all have strong antioxidant properties and can trap free radicals. These aggressive compounds arise during normal metabolism and attack the body's own cells. Scientists are now understand that this process plays an important role in the ageing process andwrinkle formation. The antioxidant properties of avocado oil are especially effective when applied to the skin.  Like all vegetable oils, avocado oil also contains phytosterols, especially β-sitosterol. Phytosterols reduce the absorption of cholesterol from the gastrointestinal tract and thereby efficiently reduce the cholesterol level in the blood.

The dark colour of the oil is due to the high content of color chlorophyll and carotenoids. While chlorophyll is of no particular importance to humans, most carotenoids in the human body can be converted to vitamin A. Furthermore, they too have strong antioxidant properties.

History

Avocado was used in Mexico by the local population about 10,000 years ago - excavations suggest. The Aztecs (14th-16th centuries) later used both the fruit and the pressed oil of the avocado to prepare their dishes. The Spanish conquistador and historian Pedro de Cieza de León first described the avocado in his chronicles of Peru and aroused the interest of the Europeans. At the same time, the Spaniards brought the plant first to the Caribbean, then to Madeira and finally to Africa. In the course of the 19th century, avocado spread as a cultivated plant from here to South Asia and finally to southern Europe. Here it has been cultivated since the beginning of the 20th century.

In the 2010s, the avocado experienced a major upswing, which is reflected in the rapidly increasing sales figures. In 2010, just under 28,000 tons of this fruit were imported to Germany and in 2018 just under 94,000 tons. In 2019, imports fell somewhat for the first time in 10 years and were around 91,000 tons. The decline is due to criticism of poor ecological impacts of the fruit.

Botany

The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree from the laurel family, which can reach a height of up to 20 meters. It originally comes from the warm, humid tropical regions of Mexico and Central America. Avocado leaves are up to 45 centimeters long and present fine hairs on the underside. Young leaves are usually bright red and only turn green with age, but they retain a slight red tinge. The avocado, which is common for tropical plants, is an evergreen. It doesn't shed its leaves. As a result, it needs strong sunlight, water and nutrients all year round and is susceptible to cooler temperatures and drought.

The original avocado plant only begins to bloom after 10 years. However, some species were selected for early flowering, so that some of them bloom after just two years. The flowers are inconspicuous yellow to green and arranged in large inflorescences. Only a few flowers are actually fertile within this inflorescence. Most are sterile, so they cannot produce fruit. But they all produce nectar to attract insects for pollination.

Avocado fruit forms on fertilized flowers. Botanically, this fruit is a berry with a single large seed. It is usually pear-shaped and between 7 and 20 centimeters long. The leathery outer shell is mostly green, but can also be reddish to black depending on the variety. Green to yellow pulp surrounds the seed that contains the plant for a single daughter plant. The fruits fall from the tree before ripening. They can easily be bought immature. A little tip: The storage of unripe fruit next to apples accelerates the ripening process. This is due to the evaporation ethylene from the apples, a ripening accelerator.

The avocado originally spread with the help of larger mammals, such as the South American giant sloth. The animals ate the fruit completely and excreted the intact seed over great distances. Certain mammals, especially rodents and horses, are sensitive to the persine in the skin and seeds of the avocado. It is also considered toxic to birds.

Cultivation

The avocado tree is now grown in many tropical and subtropical regions of the world. For this purpose, over 400 different species have been bred over time. Mexico is the largest avocado producer, followed by the Dominican Republic and Peru. Avocados are also cultivated in large quantities in Asia and Africa. In 2017, Indonesia was in fourth place among global producers and Kenya in seventh place. Avocado is also grown in Europe to supply the European market. Plantations are mainly found in Spain, southern France and Italy. However, the demand is so great that avocados must also be imported from other parts of the world. In 2016, Germany was the 8th largest global avocado importer. Outside of the European growing areas, imports are mostly from Israel, South Africa or Central America.  

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Long supply routes - for which the fruit has to be cooled to a constant 6 ° C in order to avoid premature ripening - is one criticism of the avocado market. Also, massive amounts of water are required to grow avocados, as the plant is very susceptible to drought. To produce one kilogram of avocados, which corresponds to about 3-4 fruits, around 1000 litres of water are used on average worldwide. This enormous need is causing problems in some growing regions where water is not abundant. The massive cultivation of avocados in the Chilean province of Petorca has caused entire rivers to dry up, which has affected the entire regional population. An additional problem is the (partially illegal) deforestation of large tropical forest areas to make room for avocado plantations.

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