Avocado oil is one of the healthiest and most delicious oils, and can be used for cooking, bread dipping, or drizzling over fresh fruits and vegetables. As extra-virgin olive oil has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity in recent decades, avocado oil has been gaining market share as well. The smooth, nutty, buttery flavor of avocado oil also makes a great change of pace from more traditional oils.
Nutritionally, avocado oil is 100% fat –but it’s the healthy kind of fat that lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol. Avocado oil contains mostly super-healthy monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic acid. For health reasons, many people are choosing healthier plant-based oils over the more traditional butter and lard.
Current nutritional guidelines suggest that 30% of the caloric content of a healthy diet should be obtained from healthy unsaturated fats such as avocado oil. Saturated fats are unhealthy and what you need to watch out for. In contrast, red meat such as pork and beef are especially high in saturated fat.
Even though it is 100% fat, eating avocado oil in moderation will not increase your waistline. Extra-virgin plant-based oils are packed with vitamins and minerals. Avocado oil also keeps you feeling full for longer, because fats are broken down slowly in the digestive system. So avocado oil can actually assist with weight loss and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Factors to consider when buying a quality avocado oil
When shopping for avocado oil, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you intend to eat it raw, as opposed to cooking, always buy a quality extra-virgin avocado oil. This ensures that there has been no chemical or heat processing of the oil. Also look for the words “first cold pressing”, which means that only the highest quality and nutrient-rich oil from the first mechanical pressing of the avocados is included in the bottle. Look on the label for something like “oil extracted only by mechanical means”. Any type of chemical or heat processing of oil degrades it, destroys its nutrients, and robs it of its flavor.
Also, you want to buy and avocado oil that’s packaged in a colored/opaque bottle or can. Exposure to light or heat slowly degrades the quality of plant oils. For this reason, any high quality avocado oil will not be packaged in a clear bottle.
The color of a good avocado oil ranges from a deep green to light yellow, although the color is not predictively indicative of its taste or nutrient content. It’s often difficult to tell the color of the oil before purchase, anyway, because of the opaque bottle. When trying a brand of avocado oil for the first time, you will have to rely on the labeling and/or online reviews when making the decision.
The expiration date on the label is also critical to consider. Most avocado oils are stamped with an expiration date of two years from the date of bottling. This is not the same as the date of production. Keep in mind that avocado oil is its freshest within the first six months of production, and slowly degrades and loses nutrients and flavor. However, it will still be safely edible for over two years after production.
Buy avocado oil for cooking
Avocado oil can be used interchangeably with olive and other oils in cooking and recipes. But due to its high smoke-point, avocado oil is well-suited for stove-top cooking and baking. The smoke-point of avocado oil is around 500°F, whereas olive oil begins to burn and about 375°F.
When heated to high temperatures, however, avocado oil loses much of its nutrients and taste. So for cooking, a cheaper refined bottle of oil is fine. You don’t need to use extra-virgin oil for this purpose. This is a reasonably priced avocado oil well suited for cooking.
Avocado oil for hair and skin
It’s a not so well-kept secret that avocado is a great hair and skin moisturizer. For more information, I’ve written a detailed article on how to deep moisturize your skin and hair with avocado oil. Always use an extra-virgin, high-quality oil for this.
Where are the best stores to buy avocado oil?
Shopping for avocado oil can be tricky because many small to midsize grocery stores do not stock it, or have a very limited selection. Although rising in popularity, avocado oil definitely has not reached anywhere near the market share of olive oil. If you live in a small town, your best bet may be to purchase avocado oil online.
In larger cities, your best bet will be to check specialty health stores or higher-end grocery stores like Whole Foods. Nowadays, even many midrange grocery stores like Kroger have at least a bottle or two of avocado oil to choose from.
Buy avocado oil online
For the best selection and price, I recommend purchasing extra-virgin avocado oil online from Amazon. Not only do they have a wide variety of brands to choose from, I often find that the oil is fresher when purchasing online. Because of it’s limited popularity, avocado oil might sit on a grocery shelf for a long time before being purchased.
In my experience, it seems that because of the volume of avocado oil that Amazon apparently sells, I usually get a bottle with an expiration date farther in the future than I would if I bought it locally in the store. Just make sure you choose a cold pressed extra virgin oil, and don’t be afraid to experiment with different brands. It is fun and rewarding to experiment.