Oils I Love - Avocado Oil

Avocado Oil
Through my numerous researches into food and the art of cooking I stumbled on an article about avocado oil and its benefits.

It was completely new information for me because, even though I knew about the high fat content of the avocado fruit, I was not aware that oil can be commercially extracted from it!



Because I already new about the health benefits of avocados, it was quick for me to infer that the oil will also bear these benefits, and it sure does, even on a higher scale. So I became instantly interested in the oil and keen to start using in my cooking.....

What is Avocado oil?
Oil pressed from the edible flesh of the avocado fruit is called Avocado Oil. It has a mild and nutty taste and has an intense dark green colour. It is suitable for cooking and can be used for hair and skin care.

Nutritional Benefits
Avocado oil is very rich in healthy mono-unsaturated fats, which are known to help lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body thereby decreasing the risk of heart diseases.

Avocado oil is also very high in vitamin E, omega 3 & omega 6 fatty acids. In addition the oil boasts of healthy levels of all too important, highly sought after anti-oxidants which help get rid of harmful free radicals responsible for premature ageing.

Types
Avocado is obtained through a process where the flesh of avocado fruit is pressed to yield its oil. Cold pressing is the best method to apply to conserve the nutrients in the oil; oil extracted this way is referred to as Virgin Avocado Oil. The oil can also be treated with heat to refine it, however this procedure depletes the oil of some nutrients and is referred to as Pure Avocado Oil. The oil can also be blended with other oils such as olive to stretch some of the properties of all component oils; Blended Avocado Oil.

Nutritional Data (based on 1 tablespoon (14g) of virgin cold pressed avocado oil)
Calories - 130kcal
Fat - 14g
Protein - 0g
Carbohydrates - 1g
Dietary Fibre - 0g
Vitamins - vitamin E, A & D
Minerals - potassium
Rich in Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) omega 3 & omega 6

Importance of EFAs
Essential fatty acids are needed for normal brain function, growth and development, healthy bones, stimulation of skin and hair growth, regulation of metabolism, and maintenance of reproductive processes, but the body cannot manufacture them and therefore we must consume them in our diets regularly.

Omega 3 is the most important of all the fatty acids and can be found in oily fish and some nuts and fruits.

Omega 6 helps with maintenance of healthy skin, hair and nails. Found primarily in vegetable and plant based oils, eggs, cereals and nuts.

Omega 9 is not so essential as some quantities of can be produced in the body. Helps to reduce the build-up of fat in the arteries that leads to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Cooking with Avocado Oil
Avocado oil has a high smoking point which makes it deal for cooking at very high temperature. (Range between 490°F/250°C and 280°C/520°F depending on how refined it is. The more refined the oil is, the higher the smoking point.) Oils with low smoking point (e.g virgin olive oil) are not ideal at all for high temperature cooking, but are best used as dressing or added to prepared food. Heating or cooking with virgin olive oil can actually be harmful to the body due to creation of free radicals during the heating process. Avocado oil is idea for high temperature cooking, frying and baking. Can also be used in dressings, sauces and dips.

Did you know?
All known cooking oils have a smoking point which is defined as the degree to which the oil can be heated before it begins to burn and smoke. Once the oil begins to smoke, very harmful free radicals are created in the oil. These free radicals could be really harmful and are the major cause of disease in the body.

Other uses:
Avocado oil is excellent for skin care and hair grooming. It is also believed to have the highest ability to protect the skin from UV rays and prevent sun burn.


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