Thought you'd reached peak avocado? Not a chance. While searches for the superfruit have slowed on Google, searches specifically for avocado on toast are still rising. And, lest we forget, we now have that avocado emoji we waited six months for, and we need to put it to good use—amirite?
While the green stuff smashed onto a slice of sourdough still has a place in our hearts, it's avocado oil, the fat pressed out of the fruit, that is being searched for in abundance right now and is seeing the biggest growth. In fact, Pinterest has noted a 69% increase in UK pinners saving ideas for avocado oil in the past year. So is it time we ditched the beloved coconut oil in favour of avo? We've done the research so you don't have to. Keep scrolling for the six avocado oil facts you need to know. (Spoiler alert: It burns belly fat.)
You Can Cook With It
The smoke point of an oil is an important thing to consider when cooking with it. Once an oil starts to smoke, it can release free radicals that aren't so great for you. Avocado oil won't start to smoke until the pan or oven hits around 271°C, compared with coconut oil, which smokes at about 177°C. Reserve olive oil for salad dressings only, as it can start to smoke at just 160°C.
A Nutrient Superhero
Besides its rich, nutty, buttery flavour, this oil has some serious nutrients to boast about too. Avocado oil is a good source of potassium (which helps balance our fluid levels, ideal if you suffer from water retention), as well as magnesium (a mineral that aids relaxation) and folate (which supports DNA repair in the body).
The oil also has a pretty impressive antioxidant profile as well. One study showed that avocado oil can protect from free radical damage at a cellular level, which in the long-term could help protect your body from certain diseases.
Keeps Skin Young and Plump
Avocado oil can greatly benefit both your skin and joints when consumed and applied topically. In France, a prescription drug called ASU containing avocado oil is prescribed for arthritis sufferers, while in Denmark it's marketed as a food supplement to ease inflammation in the body. And we all know that higher inflammation can lead to accelerated skin ageing (otherwise known as inflamaging).
Used topically, avocado oil has been found to ease symptoms for psoriasis sufferers. Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E, avocado oil can be used topically, as you would coconut oil, to hydrate and protect your skin.
A Potent Immune-Booster
We all know that we should eat a rainbow diet, a mix of colourful fruits and vegetables to ensure we're getting the full spectrum of nutrients into our bodies. Well, avocado oil has been proven to help boost our body's ability to absorb nutrients of the carotenoid variety. Carotenoids are phytonutrients that give fruits and vegetables their colour, such as lycopene which makes tomatoes red, and they also help plants absorb light as energy for photosynthesis. Potent antioxidants, they help boost our immune system and bolster our defences against diseases. They are also rich in vitamin A, which we need for good eyesight (yep, carrots really do help you see in the dark).
Stops Sugar Cravings
If you find you tend to reach for a sweet treat in the afternoon, then consider a dash of avocado oil on your lunchtime salad to stave off those cravings. The oil is rich in vitamin K, which has been found to regulate your sugar metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Not only that, but the avocado oil's rich oleic acid content (a type of omega-9 fatty acid) can raise the levels of your body's good cholesterol, otherwise known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), while lowering the levels of your bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Of course, weight gain is linked to a rise in cholesterol, and while avocado oil is good for you, it's also pretty calorific (around 124 calories and 14 grams of fat in a tablespoon), so just watch your intake.
Blasts Belly Fat
Okay, so while you don't want to OD on avo oil, eating a little daily will help tackle that stubborn pooch. One study found that people who consumed 40 grams (about three tablespoons) of high-oleic oil (just like avocado oil) every day for four weeks lowered their belly fat by 1.6% compared to those who consumed a flax/safflower oil blend, which is comparatively high in polyunsaturated fat.
Think that's a fluke? Another study backs it up, and then some. Researchers found that a diet rich in monounsaturated fat could even prevent body fat distribution around the belly in the first place by down regulating the expression of certain fat genes. One tablespoon of avocado oil contains 10 grams of monounsaturated fat.
So at Byrdie HQ are we switching coconut oil for avocado oil? Not a chance. Why choose when you can eat and slather on both? Here are the benefits of coconut oil, in case you need reminding of why we love it so.