The avocado is an unusual fruit. Unlike most fruits, it’s rich in healthy fats and is often used to produce oil (1). 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 9 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% of avocado oil consists of heart-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid (2). This fatty acid is also the main component of olive oil, and believed to be partly responsible for its health benefits (3).
Additionally, around 12% of avocado oil is saturated fat and about 13% 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.
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 (4). 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 (5, 6).
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 (7). It functions as an antioxidant that has benefits for eye health (8). Eating plenty of lutein may reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, which are common age-related eye diseases (9, 10). Your body doesn’t produce lutein, so you must obtain it from your diet (11).
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 (12). The increase was substantial, or 4.3 to 17.4-fold, when compared to a salad without fat.
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 (13, 14, 15, 16). The extract seems to be especially beneficial for people who have hip and knee osteoarthritis (17).
Multiple studies have reported that a combination of avocado and soybean oil extract may relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
6. May Help Prevent Gum Disease
Extracts from avocado and soybean oil may not only be beneficial against arthritis. Some evidence suggests that this combination may also help prevent periodontal disease, also called gum disease. This inflammatory disease can include symptoms like red and bleeding gums, bad breath and the breakdown of bone and tissue around teeth (18).
In worst case scenarios, it can cause tooth loss. According to a study in bone cells and periodontal tissue, avocado/soybean unsaponifiables may block a protein called IL1B (19). This protein promotes inflammation and is the main driver of tissue destruction and bone loss in gum disease.
Avocado and soybean oil extracts show anti-inflammatory effects by blocking a protein that causes tissue and bone loss.
7. Improves Skin and Enhances Wound Healing
The fatty acids in avocado oil appear to be beneficial for your skin. One study in 13 patients found that a cream containing avocado oil and vitamin B12 improved symptoms of psoriasis after 12 weeks of treatment (20). Avocado oil has also been studied for its ability to treat skin injuries, and studies in rats have found that it may accelerate wound healing (21, 22).
One small study in humans found that a vitamin B12 cream containing avocado oil improved symptoms of psoriasis. Studies in rats have found that avocado oil promotes faster healing of wounds.
8. Neutralizes Free Radicals
Antioxidants fight cellular damage caused by free radicals, which are waste products of metabolism. High levels of them can lead to oxidative stress, which may contribute to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease (23, 24). By giving electrons to free radicals, antioxidants can neutralize them, preventing them from causing harm.
Many types of free radicals exist, but oxygen-derived radicals, known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), are the most concerning. Mitochondria, the cell organs that produce energy, are major sources of ROS (25). According to one study in diabetic rats, avocado oil can protect against the harmful effects of free radicals by entering the mitochondria (26). Once there, it’s able to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from damaging this important cell organ.
In rats, avocado oil is able to enter cell mitochondria and decrease the production of harmful free radicals.
9. Is Very Easy to Use
The last one is not a health benefit, but it’s still really important. It’s the fact that avocado oil is highly versatile and easy to incorporate into your diet. For example, it can be consumed cold, but it’s also a safe and healthy cooking oil because its fatty acids are stable at high heat (27). Here are a few ways to add avocado oil to your diet:
- Add a tablespoon to a smoothie.
- Drizzle over a salad.
- Use it as a marinade for grilling meat.
- Include it when baking.
- Use it in homemade mayo.
- Drizzle it over vegetables before roasting.
- Top hummus off with it.
- Drizzle it over cold soups, such as gazpacho.
Additionally, avocado oil is sometimes used in cosmetics and skin care products (28).
Avocado oil can be used in many ways. It can be added cold to salads or smoothies, and is also great for cooking, grilling or baking.