The avocado has a long, rich history: There is evidence that the avocado tree was grown approximately 10,000 years ago in Coaxcatlan, Puebla (Mexico). Since 500 B.C., the fruit had been an essential food source in Mexico, Central America and South America. During the 16th century, it was highly popular among the Spanish conquistadors. In the early 1900s, farmers in Florida, California and Hawaii began growing the avocado as a commercial crop, but it would be another half century before the fruit gained widespread appeal.
According to Pinterest, avocado oil will take coconut oil's place as one of the top 10 trending foods for 2016. From salad dressings to skin care, it’s everywhere: There are thousands of “avocado” hashtags on Instagram. Its popularity has grown consistently year-over-year; as of 2014, Americans purchased around 4.25 billion avocados. That’s a lot of guacamole. But do the benefits warrant the buzz?
Miracle Elixir—or Just a Myth?
It’s the liquid inside the avocado that’s making health headlines. Extracted from the creamy pulp of the fruit, the oil was originally used as a skin moisturizer and rejuvenator before gaining culinary demand.
According to the American Oil Chemists’ Society, avocado oil is chock full of health-boosting vitamins, minerals, nutrients and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering levels of bad cholesterol. It’s also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which most of us are lacking, and carotenoids, which have been shown to reduce the occurrence of certain types of cancer and other diseases. The oil is particularly high in the carotenoid lutein, which helps to preserve eye health.
Additional studies of avocado benefits have found that consumption of the fruit--
including its oils--has been shown to support weight loss, ensure healthy aging, reduce inflammation and promote adequate fiber intake. Its high MUFA content also works to prevent diabetes and blast dangerous belly fat.
15 Ways to Cook with Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is often used as a healthier substitute for extra virgin olive oil. It has a mild, grassy flavor with a trace of the original fruit’s essence. Avocado oil can be used as a recipe enhancement or as a cooking oil. Its high smoke point makes it a good choice for stir-frying, searing or sautéing foods at temperatures up to 449°F.
If you’re convinced that avocado oil lives up to the hype, there are many ways you can introduce it into your diet. Below are just a few ideas:
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