Avocado oil is not exactly a staple food product in the UK. However, this is no doubt just because it is a relatively new food product to hit the shelves of UK supermarkets. If the pace at which avocado became a staple food in UK restaurants is anything to go by, then avocado oil is set to become a very common food.
Like most “new” food products, avocado oil is not simply sold as just another source of calories and nutrients. As is the case with so many foods being introduced to the Western diet, avocado oil is being touted as a “superfood”; a food product which confers tremendous health benefits above and beyond mere nourishment.
The manufacturers of avocado oil are not the main proponents of these health claims. Instead, it is health and fitness bloggers who are the main driving force behind the idea that avocado oil is particularly “healthy” or that it is “good for” certain aspects of performance.
Some of the claims made about avocado oil are reminiscent of the claims made about olive oil:
- Improves heart health and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Helps with nutrient absorption
- Prevents oxidative stress and fights free-radicals
- Reduces symptoms of arthritis
- Improves skin and promotes wound healing
Indeed, these are the exact same claims that many health bloggers (and high-profile pseudo-scientists) make about olive oil. But we know that in the case of olive oil, these claims are largely baseless (with the exception of being marginally better for the heart than other cooking oils).
So, is the same thing happening with avocado oil? Is avocado oil really a superfood? Does it benefit health in any way? Is avocado oil better than olive oil? Read our full article below and find out!
Avocado oil composition
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is exactly what it says on the tin; oil obtained from pressing avocado fruit.
Here is what the nutritional profile of avocado oil looks like:
As you can see, there’s nothing at all notable about avocado oil – it is a collection of fats, with about 70% being monounsaturated fats, 15% polyunsaturated fats, and 12% saturated fat. There is no vitamin or mineral content to speak of at all.
That is it – that’s all avocado is; a collection of fatty acids obtained from avocados. It is high in monounsaturated fats, but it does contain other fats, and is about 12-15% saturated fat by weight. This means it is extremely similar to olive oil in composition.
Is avocado oil good for health?
It is wrong to think of foods as being “good for health”. Avocado oil is a food, and like any food, it provides calories in a particular form. In the case of avocado oil, the calories are entirely from fat, and mostly from monounsaturated fat.
Monounsaturated fat is known as the “good” or “healthy” fat, and so it should be. Monounsaturated fat can actively lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Reducing your cholesterol levels will drastically reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and stroke.
Bare in mind that when people say “a diet high in monounsaturated fat is healthy” they actually mean “a diet relatively high in monounsaturated fat is healthy”; that is, monounsaturated fat needs to be your main fat source. A diet high in monounsaturated fat but even higher in saturated fat is a fast-track tp heart disease!
Monounaturated fat should make up the majority of your fat intake for optimal heart health. As a cooking oil high in monounsaturated fat, avocado oil therefore represents a relatively “healthy” choice – certainly preferable to butter or coconut oil!
So in that sense, yes, avocado oil is healthy.
But what about all the fantastical health claims made about avocado oil?
Can it really improve skin quality and reduce oxidative stress?
There is absolutely no evidence showing that avocado oil consumption has any discernible health benefit beyond the provision of sustenance and the fact that it represents a more monounsaturated fat-dense fat source than butter or coconut oil.
There are no clinical trials showing that avocado oil acts as an anti-oxidant, at least not in any meaningful sense. The antioxidant found in avocado oil is lutein, which is a carotenoid found in large quantities in the eye. It is known to promote eye health and vision. However, it is not present in avocado oil in large quantities, and it is not a systemically useful anti-oxidant.
So is avocado oil really so healthy?
Not really – it’s just olive oil with a slightly different flavour!
Avocado oil vs olive oil
Which is better – avocado oil or olive oil?
As far as we can tell, avocado oil and olive oil are essentially the same; they re both 100% fat, of which about 70% is monounsaturated fat. Neither contain meaningful quantities of any vitamins, minerals, or anti-oxidants. They both represent healthier cooking oil options than butter, palm oil or coconut oil.
Aside from the relative lack of saturated fat (although it does contain saturated fat), avocado oil is just another source of dietary fat which you should seek to limit to promote heart health and a healthy physique.