The last few years have seen nutritional experts increasingly advocating the use of Avocado Oil. Despite this growing interest, it’s a culinary ingredient which many of us know little about.
Like olive oil, avocado oil is one of the few vegetable oils not derived from seeds; it is pressed from the fleshy pulp surrounding the avocado pit. Although known as a vegetable oil, Avocadoes are actually fruit because they have stones!
Although avocadoes get a terrible press in the slimming world because they are not low in calories (a single fruit can approach 350 calories!) the fat they provide is definitely of the “good” mono-unsaturated variety which helps to reduce our levels of LDL cholesterol that clogs our arteries and contributes to heart attacks or strokes.
A study published in the April 2005 “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” shows that avocado oil can help to lower blood pressure.
Indeed, each meal should contain a balance of nutrients. It’s folly to try and eliminate fat from our diets- it plays a natural and vital role in our health and digestion. Food which is entirely divested of fat can seem dry and difficult to palette and digest.
The avocado comes in up to 500 varieties although the oil typically derives from the strain known as Hass (which accounts for 80% of world production), and to a lesser extent the Sharwill, Lula, and Pinkerton cultivars. The oil itself is a similar hue to that of virgin olive oil – bright green.
It has a smooth texture and a gentle nutty flavour that tends to enhance rather than drown out the natural flavours of food- one of the reasons it makes for an ideal dressing. It’s particularly useful when drizzled over mildly flavoured ingredients such as chicken and potato. There are plenty of nutritional reasons to use avocado oil. It contains proteins, vitamins A, D, E and B6, magnesium, copper, iron, amino acids and folic acid.
Avocado oil has cosmetic uses too, because it is so nutrient rich it can play a valuable role in skin and hair care. The light texture of the oil means that it can soak into the scalp and hair follicles aided by the lecithin it contains. It helps guard against weakened hair, hair fall, and dandruff. Because of the way it is absorbed by the hair, avocado oil is particularly good for those who have dry hair and scalp.
If you have greasy hair then use the oil predominantly on your hair itself rather than your scalp. The oil is also known to have natural sunscreen properties that can protect us from the damage caused by the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. To use avocado oil for hair growth or hair care, you can prepare hair masks, homemade shampoos and conditioners, or even just use the oil itself for a scalp massage or a hot oil massage. When used in hair care, it works best when blended with other oils like almond oil or olive oil.
So there you have it, whether used externally as a cosmetic preparation or internally as part of your diet, the benefits of avocado oil – simply fantastic for your health.