Avocado oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit of the avocado plant called Persea americana or Persea gratissima in botanical jargon. With a high content of monounsaturated fats, it is a highly revitalizing and energetic oil. Let’s find out better.
Characteristics of avocado oil
Avocado is one of the 2000 different species of plants of the laurel family. Avocado is grown in tropical countries and currently its fruits also reach western tables where it is appreciated for its taste and for its infinite culinary and cosmetic uses.
There are at least 400 different types of avocado plants depending on the variety of cultivation and all are different in size, skin color and fruit shape.
The best known are Ettinger, Nabal, Fuerte and Hass ; the latter is considered the best in terms of flavor.
To obtain avocado oil, the extraction process is usually carried out with chemical solvents and subsequent refinements are required to lose the marked odor typical of the fruit, resulting in a yellow and almost odorless product. Cold pressing instead it produces a crude oil, emerald color (given by chlorophyll and carotenoids), pasty and very rich. The taste of the unrefined product is said to be somewhat reminiscent of mushrooms.
It has a natural low acidity which makes it pleasant to eat, even if the storage times are shortened due to the risk of rancidity even if it is compensated by the antioxidants it naturally contains. Avocado oil is therefore stored like many vegetable oils in dark containers, away from sources of heat and air.
It has a particularly high smoke point, especially when refined, which can vary between 250 and 270 ° centigrade which makes it ideal for frying.
Properties and use of avocado oil
Avocado oil is an oil used mainly in cosmetics even if it is used in food as a raw condiment that is commonly consumed in some countries of the world for cooking. It is also used as a lubricant.
It has a high content of monounsaturated fats, about 70% of oleic, linoleic and palmitoleic acids and about 10% of saturated fats which make it considered a highly revitalizing and energetic oil to be used in the right proportions, excellent for those who need integrate fats as in vegan diets and for sportsmen and children in the growth phase, while the use in the case of obesity and tendency to gain weight should be controlled.
Avocado contains several minerals such as sulfur, zinc, magnesium, calcium and several vitamins in particular C, E and many of the B group, especially pantothenic acid. The presence of vitamin E facilitates the absorption of carotenoids, precursors of vitamin A.
In the avocado phytocomplex we still find phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol, campesterol, citrostadienol and terpene alcohols, avocatins and volatile acids which all together synergistically combine to create all the properties of this fruit. Also together with the richness of vitamin E we find a good source of potassium which make avocado oil an excellent source of antioxidants.
In the field of health, the consumption of avocado oil taken orally protects the body’s cardiovascular system thanks to oleic acid and is also capable of reducing bad cholesterol while increasing the good one, thus promoting a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Its composition in omega 3 and 6 combined with the presence of vitamin E make it an excellent antioxidant that reduces free radicals and also promotes the strengthening and restoration of blood vessels by rebalancing the cardiovascular system.
In some studies it has been shown that the alpha linolenic acid contained in avocado helps prevent cancer, especially breast and colon cancer, while vitamin E prevents and treats skin and prostate cancer.
In the kitchen it is used almost exclusively for frying (given the high smoke point) although there are other opportunities to use avocado oil in cooking. If it is raw, it can be used raw as a condiment , thus bringing a particular flavor to the dishes.
Together with the pulp of the same avocado it can be added to soften the guacamole or even to give a particular tone to certain sweet drinks, as happens in Africa or in Southeast Asia where particular species of milkshake include it among the ingredients, together with milk, chocolate and other fruit.
In cosmetics, avocado oil is mainly used for its excellent moisturizing, nourishing and regenerative properties which support its use as an ingredient in masks and beauty creams for theskinof the face and the whole body.
Another advantage is its ability to penetrate the skin and allow rapid absorption which make it an excellent oil also as a vehicle for other beneficial substances to the body, especially with regard to the epidermis.
The consumption of avocado oil in the diet or as a supplement allows to improve the condition of the skin thanks to its sources of vitamins A, D and E which are involved in the growth and regeneration of skin cells. Furthermore, the presence of vitamins E and A always favor the healing of any wounds and small abrasions, also reducing the formation of scars.
Curiosities about avocado oil
The name derives from the Hispanicization of the ancient Nahuatl name āhuacatl. In some South American countries it is called ” alligator pear ” due to the roughness of the skin, while in China and India it is sometimes called ” butter pear “. Ahuacamolli , which means ” avocado sauce “, is the ancient Nahuatl term from which today’s ” guacamole ” derives.
A beauty recipe
Take a 1k of ripe fresh avocado pulp that is obtained by cutting the avocado into parts and removing the large central seed, then remove the peel which is easily separated from the pulp with a knife. In a blender add the pulp and 500 ml of vegetable milk (coconut, rice or soy) where it will all be reduced to a homogeneous puree. Then put in a saucepan with a double bottom over medium heat and mix gradually to prevent the mixture from sticking or burning.
Once the liquid part has evaporated, we can filter the remaining mixture with a cotton cloth and squeeze well by letting the oil drain into a previously clean container. The container should be made of dark glass and stored with a label away from sources of heat, air and humidity. If desired, we can also keep it in the refrigerator where, however, it will take a denser consistency.
When the oil is needed we will therefore have to take it out at room temperature a few hours before its use and we can then use it as an ingredient for the preparation of home eco-cosmetics or for recipes in the kitchen.