Remember when avocado toast was having a moment? It was ubiquitous: crowding Instagram feeds, dominating Pinterest, and securing its spot as the dish de rigueur at hip brunch spots everywhere.
While the toast hype may have peaked, true devotees know: Avocado mania will never die. Rightfully so—there’s not a lot this über fruit can’t do for a meal. In 2016, avo again reigns supreme, but this year, it’s all about the oil.
Buttery yet subtle in flavor, avocado oil is brimming with all the goodness of the fruit it’s extracted from. Up to 80 percent of the fatty acids in avocado oil are oleic, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid. According to the “Dictionary of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods,” oleic acid can help lower blood cholesterol levels. Studies also show that the lipids in avocado oil enhance the body’s ability to absorb carotenoids—the naturally occurring pigments that give many plants their yellow, orange, and red color, and are a beneficial antioxidant in human diets.
There’s more. Avocado oil comes flush with its own profile of micronutrients—potassium, magnesium, and folate to name a few—and is host to several antioxidants. In fact, research shows avocado oil is extra potent in neutralizing free radicals, as it’s able to enter cell’s mitochondria (i.e. the house of energy production and source of many factors of aging).
In the kitchen
While rivaling its olive-based cousin in the health department, avocado oil also gives other cooking oils a run for their money in the kitchen. It’s incredibly versatile, and won’t overpower a dish’s flavor. With one of the highest smoke points of any plant oil—about 520 degrees—it’s ideal for high-heat cooking, like grilling, pan-frying, or oven-roasting.
Here are a handful of ways to add it to your culinary repertoire:
- Bake, fry, or roast fresh fish with it.
- Pour some on a plate and add sea salt and red pepper flakes for a bread dip.
- Add a spoonful to smoothies for additional healthy fats.
- Swirl it on top of guacamole or hummus.
- Add it to the top of cold or hot soups.
- Toss root veggies in it, season with salt and pepper, then roast.
- Drizzle it over fresh fruit like melon or cantaloupe, then sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt.
- Use it in salad dressings and vinaigrettes.
- Make homemade mayonnaise.
- Replace butter with avocado oil in baked goods.
In the beauty world, avocado oil was hailed as “the new coconut oil” for its uses beyond the kitchen. It removes makeup in one swipe and works as an effective moisturizer. It contains more vitamin E (an antioxidant) and some beauty experts claim it’s more hydrating than coconut oil. It’s also a little less messy, making it easy for travel.
Avocado oil is especially popular in natural hair treatments. With trace amounts of biotin, a B vitamin essential for healthy hair, it’s ideal for moisturizing and strengthening locks—try it as a stand-in for a hair mask or leave-in conditioner.
Ready to give it a try? Even more good news—now you can get Primal Kitchen’s Avocado Oil at Thrive Market for 25 percent off retail!
Photo credit: Alicia Cho