Avocado oil is one of the healthiest oils to use in cooking and in salad dressings and other recipes. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol and high in antioxidants like vitamin E, lutein and alpha and beta-carotene.
While it would be best enjoyed unheated to preserve all of the health benefits, avocado oil is also one of the most heat stable of all cooking oils. With an amazingly high smoking point of 520 degrees fahrenheit, it is far superior to olive oil for high temperature cooking and frying.
What to Look for When Buying Avocado Oil
There are a few important things to look for with avocado oil. The first is for the oil to be cold pressed. Similar to the process that creates olive oil, cold pressed avocado oil is produced by mechanical extraction, rather than solvents. This process leads to very low acidity levels and little chance of contaminants.
While avocados are not considered a fruit that has a problem with excessive pesticide levels like apples or stone fruit, an oil from organically grown crops is also preferable if possible.
A deep green color can be a good indicator of an avocado oil rich in health nutrients. The color comes primarily from chlorophyll pigments, but its presence indicates minimal processing. The less processing an oil has undergone, the more antioxidants like vitamin E, lutein and alpha and beta-carotene are likely to be present.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell the color of an avocado oil until you are pouring it over a salad or into a bowl for the first time. This is because most oils will come in a dark bottle to protect it from the light. Due to its sensitivity to light, it is best stored in a dark cupboard or at very least away from direct sunlight.
I currently use the Omega Nutrition extra virgin avocado oil on salads and for any frying that doesn’t suit virgin coconut oil (another very healthy oil). It has a rich buttery flavor and thick texture great for cooking with.
Other good options include this American made cold pressed and organic avocado oil from family farms in southern California. A good value 2 pack of extra virgin avocado oil made from Mexican avocados. And the french company La Tourangelle also make a very popular oil with free delivery at Amazon.
While cold pressed avocado oil is a bit more than most processed vegetable oils, the combination of its extensive health benefits, extremely high smoking point for cooking and rich, buttery taste, makes it well worth it when you value what you eat.
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Photo credit with thanks: roshelen