The avocado is an unusual fruit. Unlike most fruits, it’s rich in healthy fats and is often used to produce oil.
While avocado oil is not as well known as olive oil, it’s just as delicious. Avocado oil also has numerous benefits, largely related to its content of antioxidants and healthy fats.
Here are five evidence-based health benefits of avocado oil:
1. Rich in Oleic Acid, a Very Healthy Fat
Avocado oil is the natural oil pressed from the pulp of an avocado.
Almost 70 percent of avocado oil consists of heart-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid.
This fatty acid is also the main component of olive oil and believed to be partly responsible for its health benefits.
Additionally, around 12 percent of avocado oil is saturated fat and about 13 percent is polyunsaturated fat.
While avocado oil has a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (13:1), this shouldn’t be of concern as the total amount of omega-6 is relatively low.
Bottom Line: The most abundant fatty acid in avocado oil is oleic acid, a fatty acid that provides numerous health benefits.
2. Reduces Cholesterol and Improves Heart Health
Several studies in animals have reported benefits for heart health.
One rabbit study compared avocado oil to coconut, olive and corn oil. It found that avocado oil has beneficial effects on blood cholesterol levels.
What’s more, avocado oil and olive oil were found to be the most effective in increasing HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
In rats, avocado oil may reduce blood triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, as well as lower blood pressure.
Bottom Line: A few studies in animals show that avocado oil may benefit heart health, including reduced blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
3. High in Lutein, an Antioxidant That has Benefits for The Eyes
Avocado oil is a relatively good source of lutein, a carotenoid that’s naturally found in your eyes.
It functions as an antioxidant that has benefits for eye health.
Eating plenty of lutein may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common age-related eye diseases.
Your body doesn’t produce lutein, so you must obtain it from your diet.
Bottom Line: Lutein is a carotenoid found in avocado oil. This nutrient improves eye health and may lower the risk of age-related eye diseases.
4. Enhances the Absorption of Important Nutrients
Some nutrients need fat in order to be absorbed by your body.
Among these are the carotenoid antioxidants, which are pigments found in many plant foods.
However, fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids are typically low in fat.
One small study found that adding avocado oil to a salad with carrots, romaine lettuce and spinach, increased the absorption of carotenoids.
The increase was substantial or 4.3 to 17.4-fold, when compared to a salad without fat.
Bottom Line: There is good reason to include a healthy fat source like avocado oil when eating vegetables, as it may increase the absorption of carotenoid antioxidants up to 17-fold.
5. May Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis
Arthritis is a disease that involves painful inflammation of the joints. It’s very common and affects millions of people worldwide.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is associated with the breakdown of cartilage in joints.
Numerous studies have found that extracts from avocado and soybean oil, called avocado/soybean unsaponifiables, may reduce the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.
The extract seems to be especially beneficial for people who have hip and knee osteoarthritis.
Bottom Line: Multiple studies have reported that a combination of avocado and soybean oil extract may relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.