With the focus on healthy eating these days, you may be overwhelmed with choices. Your kitchen likely is stocked with common ingredients, including oil. However, there are so many options when it comes to oil, it can be difficult to pick one.
To help you make healthy choices, here are three reasons you should consider avocado oil.
You need healthy fats — yes, really
Fat has long been a dirty word, but study after study have shown healthy fats, such as those found in avocado oil, lower a person’s risk of heart disease — the No. 1 killer in the United States, according to the Heart Foundation — and promote overall health.
Unfortunately, the American diet is overrun with unhealthy fats, according to the Pew Research Center. Bad fats include trans fat, often called partially hydrogenated oil.
"Early in the 20th century, trans fats were found mainly in solid margarines and vegetable shortening,” Harvard Health Publications says. “As food makers learned new ways to use partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, they began appearing in everything from commercial cookies and pastries to fast-food french fries.”
Good fats, on the other hand, include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and “come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish,” according to the Harvard article. That is why avocado oil, a monounsaturated fat, is good for you.
Avocado oil reduces blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol that is a contributor to heart disease, according to University of California research. It also has large amounts of high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol that can lower heart disease risk.
Avocado oil has other health benefits — including fighting cancer
Avocado oil helps you absorb carotenoids, plant pigments that are a good source of antioxidants, according to research published in the Journal of Nutrition.
“Adding avocado fruit can significantly enhance carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa, which is attributed primarily to the lipids present in avocado,” the researchers write.
Additionally, a study published in the Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention journal found carotenoids help prevent cancer.
That’s not the only way avocado oil contributes to cancer prevention. Oils have different smoke points, the temperature they reach before creating smoke.
“Using a cooking oil with a high smoke point prevents toxins, radicals and decomposed materials from ending up in your food,” according to Chosen Foods. “When oil is heated past its smoke point it begins to break down, creating unhealthy characteristics in your food. Chosen Foods avocado oil has a smoke point of 500 degrees, making it safe to cook with at very high temperatures.”
Avocado oil’s high smoke point compares favorably with olive oil, corn oil and canola oil, which range from 225- to 468-degree smoke points. When an oil reaches its smoke point, it not only tastes bad and makes your kitchen smelly, it produces dangerous carcinogens, according to Toxicology in Vitro journal.
Avocado oil also outperforms popular oils, such as soybean and canola oil, which have trans fats that, even in small amounts, lead to heart disease, according to Harvard Health Publications. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that for every 2 percent of calories from trans fat people consume on a daily basis, their risk of heart disease goes up by 23 percent.
“Trans fats have no known health benefits and ... there is no safe level of consumption,” according to the Harvard article.
Avocado oil tastes great
There’s nothing like cooking a stir fry or baking a batch of cookies only to be overwhelmed by the flavor of an ingredient that ruins the dish.
“Chosen Foods avocado oil has a clean, mild flavor with just a hint of nuttiness,” according to chosenfoods.com. “It does not taste like avocados. It will feel smooth and light in texture. Some people even say our avocado oil has a slight buttery feel to it in texture.”
That means your pantry does not have to be crowded with bottles of oil for every type of meal. Instead, avocado oil can be used in countless recipes, giving you a great taste that won’t take away from the food you create.