Avocado oil is an edible oil pressed from the fruit of the Persea americana. As a food oil, it is used as an ingredient in
other dishes, and as a cooking oil. It is also used for lubrication and in cosmetics, where it is valued for its regenerative and moisturizing properties.
One tablespoon of avocado oil contains about 124 calories and 14 grams of fat, which is 21 percent of the recommended daily fat intake. Although that fat percentage might seem high, 9.9 of the 14 grams are monounsaturated healthy fat and 1.9 grams are polyunsaturated fat (also a healthy fat).
Avocado oil has an even higher percentage (76%) of healthy monounsaturated fats than olive oil. Monounsaturated fat was made famous by the Mediterranean Diet and promotes heart health by decreasing “bad” LDL blood cholesterol. Avocado oil is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and
vitamins A, D, and E. Below are some of the ways it can benefit the skin: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.
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.
Moisturizes and nourishes – In addition to vitamin E, avocado oil contains potassium, lecithin, and many other nutrients that can nourish and moisturize the skin. The outermost layer of skin, known as the epidermis, easily absorbs these nutrients, which also help to form new skin.
Relieves inflammation from psoriasis and eczema – The antioxidants and vitamins in avocado oil may help to heal the dry, irritated, and flaky skin associated with eczema and psoriasis. A person with a skin condition may wish to test a patch of skin first, to ensure that the oil does not trigger or aggravate their symptoms.
Prevents and treats acne – When left on for short periods of time and rinsed off with warm water, avocado oil can keep skin hydrated without leaving an oily residue. This may reduce the risk of acne. Avocado oil also has anti-inflammatory effects, which can help to reduce the redness and inflammation associated with acne.
Accelerates wound healing – Avocado oil may help wounds to heal more quickly. One 2013 study found that the essential fatty acids and oleic acid in avocado oil can promote collagen synthesis, which is the process of creating new connective tissue. The essential fatty acids in avocado oil were also found to help reduce inflammation during the healing process. More studies are needed in humans, however, to determine whether avocado oil can be used to treat wounds.
Treats sunburned skin – The antioxidants in avocado oil may help to ease the symptoms of a sunburn. According to a 2011 review, the vitamin E, beta carotene, vitamin D, protein, lecithin, and essential fatty acids in the oil can support healing and soothe the skin. Other small studies have shown that consuming avocados may help to protect the skin from harmful UV radiation.
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. 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.
According to one study in diabetic rats, avocado oil can protect against the harmful effects of free radicals by entering the mitochondria). Once there, it’s able to neutralize free radicals and prevent them from damaging this important cell organ.