Contrary to popular belief, fat is essential to the health and proper function of the body. Say what?! I know, it’s shocking, but stay with me. The fats found in foods we love from plants and animals are known as dietary fats. Dietary fat is a macronutrient that provides energy for the body. I’m sure you’re familiar with or have heard of the types of healthy dietary fats including monounsaturated fatty acids, and some polyunsaturated fatty acids namely omega-3 fatty acids.
If you’re still following, brace yourselves because this next little tidbit of information might shock you. It has been reported that moderate incorporation of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) into the diet can reduce cholesterol (LDL) which lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. As if that wasn’t startling enough, MUFA also provide nutrients and Vitamin E which helps develop and maintain the body’s cells and eliminate free radicals. Take a moment to let that sink in.
Recovered? Okay, so now you’re probably asking, “Where can I find these monounsaturated fatty acids?”
Well, how do you feel about avocados? Avocados are known to contain a variety of benefits that contribute to the health and wellbeing of the body. Avocados provide nearly 20 vitamins and minerals (yes, you read that number correctly) including
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
Sounds pretty good already, right? What if I told you avocados are nutrient dense and cholesterol FREE!
Beyond the Avocado
If you’re still on the fence about giving avocados a go, perhaps my final argument will persuade you. Currently on the rise, is the use and consumption of avocado’s beneficial by-product, avocado oil. Avocado oil is extracted from the flesh of the fruit and is among one of the few plant oils not derived from the seed. The versatility and benefits of avocado oil make it a prime candidate to become your new favorite plant oil choice for skin care, hair care, and cooking.
“But I don’t want all of my food to taste like avocados!” Before we get ahead of ourselves lets talk about the pros of using avocado oil. It has a relatively high smoke point of approximately 520° F. This means that it can cook at very high temperatures without becoming carcinogenic. It can be used in place of butter, shortening fats, and other cooking oils with little to no difference in taste. Now you might be thinking you don’t cook enough or you’re not experienced in the kitchen, blah blah blah. Don’t sell yourself short, just to name a few, avocado oil can be used for:
- Salad dressings
- Homemade mayo
- In place of egg-wash for breading chicken or vegetables
- Drizzling on top of roasted vegetables and pizza
The cons of using avocado oil…well there aren’t any, you’re going to love it!
In terms of cosmetics, avocado oil is known to have regenerative properties for skin and hair. Everybody wants healthy looking skin and smooth hair! The vitamin E, potassium, and lecithin present in the oil are absorbed easily through skin and hair where they provide the means necessary to grow and rejuvenate new skin cells, while also fortifying existing cells. Put a few drops in your bath water or find a body wash or moisturizer that has avocado oil in it.
It goes without saying, it’s versatility makes it ideal for inexperienced cooks looking to expand their horizons, as well as trained chefs creating a five-star restaurant masterpiece. While there are lots of healthy fats that can be used, avocado oil can and should be added to your culinary and cosmetic repertoire. If you hadn’t already stopped reading in the middle of this blog to go to your local supermarket to pick up some avocado oil, you’d better grab your keys and move quick before it’s gone!
Julie Comeaux is studying dietetics at the University of Louisiana. She enjoys cooking, reading, singing, doing yoga, and she loves little babies. In the future she plans to work with the nutrition of babies and children.