A Blog Written By Barbara Cox, Nutritional Ambassador for Hunter & Gather.
Barbara is a renowned nutritionist, author of Rainbow Recipes and a Global Wellness Council Representative. We are delighted to have her as our Nutritional Ambassador here at Hunter & Gather. Barbara understands that to be the best version of yourself diet is the foundation however sleep, movement and relaxation is also key - that's why she is the perfect ambassador.
Here is what Barbara has to say about Avocado Oil.
Avocado oil is super trendy at the moment but it is anything but a recent fad. Bernabé Cobo who was a 16th-century Spanish historian, reported the use of avocado oil for cooking and food historian Sophie D. Coe writes in America’s First Cuisines that “with a high oil content of 30% in its flesh, the avocado was a staple in the low-fat diet of pre-Columbia America”.
Avocado oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and not the seed. At Hunter & Gather, their Extra Virgin Avocado Oil is cold pressed from perfectly ripe hand-picked Hass avocados that would normally go to waste in the Kenya export market simply because they are the wrong size, shape or colour. It is best to use Cold-pressed, Extra-Virgin Avocado oil as it retains most of the nutrients that may otherwise be lost in the heat of the conventional extraction process.
I believe the recent trend has been kicked off by it’s market availability and the plethora of health benefits. Let me tell you my 10 reasons why I recommend avocado oil to all my clients.
- Suitable for High heat smoke point for cooking - It is very important to consider the smoke point of the oil you are cooking with. This is the temperature at which the oil starts to be visibly smoking in the pan. At this point, the structure of the oil begins to break down and not only are the nutrients lost and the flavour changed, but dangerous compounds can be created that can potentially damage your health. Even a healthy oil like olive oil becomes unhealthy when it reaches its smoke point.
Avocado oil is superb as a cooking oil as it is very heat stable and one of the best possible oils for high-temperature frying as its smoking point is around 260C compared to olive oil at 220C smoking point and Corn oil at 230C smoking point.
- Emerald green, buttery support taste – Avocado oil has a more buttery and less bitter flavour than olive oil. I think it also has a more creamy texture, which can be used to enhance a number of dishes from salads, dressings, drizzle over meat and fish plus excellent over new potatoes with fresh herbs. Some vegan cooks have even used it to replace butter and dairy in many recipes too.
- High in Vitamin E - Vitamin E is an important vitamin required for the proper function of many organs in the body. It is also an antioxidant which helps to slow down processes that damage cells. Vitamin E is key for strong immunity and healthy skin and eye health.
- Monounsaturated healthy fat - Monounsaturated fats are healthy fats found in avocados and certain nuts. Evidence shows us that monounsaturated fats have a number of health benefits. Monounsaturated fats have been shown to help with reduction of the risk of heart disease and helping people to lose weight and may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and also reduce inflammation markers in your body.
- Applied topically provides deep moisture - Avocado oil can penetrate into the second layer of the skin (dermis) and provide deep moisturizing with its oleic acid and phytosterols. People who have a dry and sensitive skin type are usually advised to use oils rich in oleic acid. The lecithin in avocado oil helps boost collagen, and the pro-vitamin A carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin enhance the skin’s natural antioxidant store.
- Great for reducing high cholesterol- The fatty acids and the plant sterols in avocado oil make it good for people with high cholesterol. While it increases the good HDL cholesterol, it reduces both LDL and triglycerides. For people with normal cholesterol levels, it can maintain the balance between HDL and LDL cholesterol levels.
- Fights inflammation in the body - The bulk of the healthy fat found in avocado oil is oleic acid, which is renown for reducing inflammation in the body. This anti-inflammatory effect is what gives avocado oil the power to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Can improve the symptom of osteoarthritis- according to the Arthritis Foundation, avocado is the fruit to eat to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis, a painful condition that causes inflammation of the joints. Besides oleic acid, the carotenoid lutein and vitamin E in avocado oil can help alleviate symptoms with their anti-inflammatory properties and help lower the risk of joint damage.
- Increased absorption of nutrients – I recommend that my clients drizzle some avocado oil on your salads or cook your carrots in avocado oil. The antioxidant “carotenoids” in food need an oil base to be absorbed into the body and avocado oil helps to facilitate this process. A study found that adding avocado oil to a salad could significantly increase the absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein so start drizzling!
- Improves eye health – eye health isn’t often talked about, until your eye health deteriorates. The carotenoids called lutein and xeazanthin are excellent for improving your eyesight. In fact, lack of lutein in your diet could cause age-related eye dysfunction. But diets rich in monounsaturated fatty acids have a protective effect against this eye-health related deterioration as this carotenoid-monounsaturated fatty acid dynamic duo combination is what makes avocado oil good for eye health.
I must admit that I’m not one to play favourites, but when it comes to oil, avocado oil wins hands down!
Avocado oil is also my number one choice for an anti-aging and moisturizing topical oil for my skin, scalp and hair. There's a lot of buzz about which oils do what, so by digging deep into the research out there on why avocado is such a uniquely health enhancing ingredient, I personally think avocados have a better future as an oil than guacamole!