Avocado Oil vs. Olive Oil: Which is Better for You?
Many of us love to cook, but it can be difficult to find delicious oil alternatives when you’re following a diet. How can you create delicious flavors while cooking with unrefined oils? The answer to this question is simpler than you might think. Avocado and olive oil both have scientifically proven health benefits that can elevate your meals and snacks. Here’s what you need to know about avocado and olive oil and how they compare to one another.
What is Avocado Oil?
Avocado oil is created from avocado fruit. Its oil is pressed for cooking purposes, containing a high nutritional value. Avocado oil can also be ingested raw and used as a skin moisturizer. This makes avocado oil a very practical and versatile ingredient.
Much like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil can be unrefined. Unrefined avocado oil retains the color of its original fruit, resulting in a stronger green color. Applied to the skin, avocado oil has a yellowish, pale color. It’s characterized by a high smoke point and a mild taste that makes it fantastic for cooking.
Nutrition Information of Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is primarily known for being rich in unsaturated fats. Approximately one tablespoon of avocado oil includes:
- 124 calories
- 0 grams of protein
- 14 grams of fat
- 0 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of sugar
Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
Excellent Source of Unsaturated Fats
Much like the fruit itself, avocado oil is extremely rich in oleic acid, lutein, and Vitamin E. In other words, it’s filled to the brim with unsaturated fats. Lutein is a carotenoid that gives avocados their distinctive, bright green color. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fat that contributes to positive heart health. More specifically, avocado oil consists of 70% oleic acid. Finally, Vitamin E helps your body absorb other fat-soluble vitamins that support overall health and well-being.
Since it consists of unsaturated fats, avocado oil is fantastic for heart health. One study found that participants had healthier lab results after eating meals containing avocado oil compared to ones with butter. Avocado oil has been particularly linked to decreasing LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol. LDL is bad cholesterol commonly correlated to strokes and heart diseases. In other words, avocado oil could potentially reduce bad cholesterol levels.
Improved Heart, Eye, and Skin Health
Along with unsaturated fats, avocado oil contains lutein and Vitamin E. Lutein is a carotenoid and an antioxidant that contributes to eye and skin health. This is because lutein is already naturally found in your eyes, but your body can’t develop it on its own. Thus, having a lutein-rich diet prevents your chances of developing age-related eye problems. The presence of Vitamin E helps your body absorb other important nutrients that promote better health.
What is Olive Oil?
Typically associated with the Mediterranean diet, olive oil is a cooking ingredient that’s rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). As its name implies, it’s pressed from olives and has a long history dating back 6,000 years. Olive oil has been used in religious ceremonies and medicine along with cooking. It can come refined and unrefined with other forms like extra virgin olive oil. It’s known for having a peppery taste and its golden yellow appearance.
Nutrition Information of Olive Oil
Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). A single teaspoon can contain:
- 120 calories
- 0 grams of protein
- 14 grams of fat
- 2 grams of saturated fat
- 10 grams of Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
- 1.5 grams of Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA)
- 0 grams of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of fiber
- 0 grams of sugar
Health Benefits of Olive Oil
Increased Heart Health
Due to its high number of MUFAs, people who consume olive oil may have a lower risk of developing heart diseases. This is particularly true when using extra virgin olive oil due to its high number of antioxidants. One study included 7,200 women around the age of 55 who had a high risk of heart disease. Their results found that participants who regularly used olive oil in their cooking had a higher life expectancy and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
It should be emphasized that olive oil should only be one part of a healthy diet, a key part of obesity prevention. However, when used in moderation, olive oil may prevent unhealthy weight gain. This is because research studying the Mediterranean diet has revealed potential benefits in its ability to prevent metabolic syndrome, a significant contributor to obesity. Olive oil consumption may also contribute to lower blood pressure and healthy blood sugar levels.
Olive oil is rich in antioxidants, commonly linked to reduced inflammation. Decreased inflammation can lead to a variety of overall health benefits. Some of these include cancer prevention, reduced risk of heart disease, and liver health. A 2019 review even found that olive oil ingestion could promote gut health, a potential treatment option for people living with intestinal conditions like IBD.
Avocado Oil vs Olive Oil: Similarities
Although avocado oil and olive oil have their unique qualities that set them apart, they also share remarkable similarities that make them both valuable additions to any kitchen. Let's explore the common ground between these two oils and discover what makes them truly extraordinary:
Both olive oil and avocado oil offer numerous health benefits. They are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy fats. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. Additionally, both oils contain antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties and contribute to overall well-being.
Olive oil and avocado oil are incredibly versatile in the kitchen. They can be used for various cooking methods such as sautéing, frying, roasting, and grilling. Both oils can also be used as a base for salad dressings, marinades, and dips, adding flavor and richness to dishes.
High Smoke Point
Both oils have relatively high smoke points, making them suitable for high-heat cooking. This means they can withstand higher temperatures before reaching their smoke point, reducing the likelihood of the oil breaking down and producing harmful compounds.
Both olive oil and avocado oil enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. These oils act as carriers for these essential nutrients, ensuring their optimal absorption by the body.
Olive oil and avocado oil pair well with a wide range of ingredients and cuisines. They complement salads, vegetables, seafood, meats, and even desserts, enhancing the flavors and textures of various dishes.
Avocado Oil vs Olive Oil: Differences
While avocado oil and olive oil share some similarities, they possess distinct qualities that differentiate them from one another. Here are some of the key differences between these remarkable oils:
Avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of avocados, a fruit native to Central and South America. Olive oil, on the other hand, is derived from olives, which are fruits of the olive tree, primarily grown in the Mediterranean region.
Avocado oil has a mild, slightly nutty flavor, while olive oil has a distinct fruity and sometimes peppery taste. The flavor of olive oil can vary depending on the variety of olives used and the production methods.
The smoke point refers to the temperature at which an oil starts to smoke and break down, resulting in a loss of flavor and the release of potentially harmful compounds. Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than most olive oils, making it more suitable for high-heat cooking methods such as frying and grilling. Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a lower smoke point, making it better for low to medium-heat cooking and as a finishing oil.
Both avocado oil and olive oil are considered healthy oils, but they differ slightly in terms of their nutritional composition. Avocado oil contains a higher proportion of monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is known for its heart-healthy benefits. Olive oil also contains monounsaturated fats, but it typically has a higher content of polyphenols, which are antioxidants with various health benefits.
Fatty Acid Composition
Avocado oil has a more balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which are both essential for the body. Olive oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, contains a higher amount of omega-6 fatty acids and a lower amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
Avocado oil's mild flavor and high smoke point make it suitable for a wide range of cooking methods, including sautéing, stir-frying, and baking. It can also be used as a dressing or marinade. Olive oil is commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine for cooking, drizzling over salads, dipping bread, and as a finishing oil to enhance the flavor of various dishes.
Avocado oil and olive oil are versatile cooking ingredients with various uses in medicine, cosmetics, and salad dressings. Both oils offer incredible benefits, promoting heart health, skin and eye well-being, and nutrient absorption. Choosing between them ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Try Jackson's Sweet Potato Chips cooked in avocado oil for a delectable and nutritious snack that combines the sweetness of sweet potatoes with the healthful qualities of avocado oil. Elevate your snacking experience and indulge in the goodness of avocado oil.