Organic Avocado Oil
The avocado tree is native to southern Mexico, Central America, and South America, but is now cultivated commercially in other tropical, subtropical, and Mediterranean climates. The pear-shaped fruit, which ripens after harvesting, contains a single, large seed (pit). Although avocado oil usually is extracted from the fruit pulp, the avocado seed also contains polyphenols (micronutrients that act as antioxidants) that may help prevent diabetes, cardiac disease, hypertension, asthma, and other inflammatory and degenerative conditions.
Although the word “avocado” was first mentioned in writing in the early 1500s in Europe, it wasn’t until the late 1800s when producers started growing avocado trees in various regions in the U.S. Today the avocado is a major agricultural product of Peru, but most of the world’s avocado production comes out of Mexico. Modern-day avocado production in California and Florida fluctuates due to weather factors such as droughts, freezing temperatures, and high winds.
Avocado oil is extracted from the pulp, or flesh of the fruit, after the skin and pits have been removed. Known as cold-pressed extraction, the pulp is pressed to express the oil before placing it into a centrifuge – a drum-like piece of equipment that spins at high speeds to separate the pulp from the oil. Since the oil is less dense than the water pressed out of the pulp, it floats to the top. Unrefined avocado oil is a bit thick and green in color.
First used as a beauty oil, avocado may have been cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 BC. The ancient Aztecs used avocado as a skin moisturizer. The oil absorbs quickly into the skin and won’t clog pores. As a toner, avocado oil helps make pores look smaller.
Vitamin E and other nutrients in avocado help make skin healthier and appear more youthful. Avocado oil may slow down the aging process, reduce inflammatory conditions of the skin, and heal skin damage caused by the sun. The antibacterial properties of avocado also may reduce the risk of certain infections and help heal wounds faster.
Plant sterolins, or fats, in avocado oil can help fade age spots. Adequate dietary protein has benefits as well, including building and repairing skin tissues. The proteins and unsaturated fats in avocado oil help strengthen skin by helping to generate new skin cells.
The Aztecs and natives of South and Central America had a long history of using avocado oil to treat all kinds of ailments. Even today, avocado oil continues to play a role in complimentary medicine by those who recognize the oil’s diverse benefits.
Avocado oil is also rich in oleic acid, a mono-saturated fatty acid that can lower blood pressure, decrease bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels in the blood. Preliminary research studies also suggest that the use of avocado oil as a cooking oil or consuming it as a salad oil may improve cardiovascular health. The omega-3 fatty acids in the oil lower cholesterol by decreasing the level of triglycerides in your blood. High triglycerides can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke by contributing to hardening of the arteries.
Avocados contain antioxidants and have properties that can reduce inflammation and the severity of an autoimmune disease exacerbation. In addition, carotenoids and glutathione – phytochemicals that have anti-carcinogenic properties – in the oil may help reduce the risk of cancer. Recent studies show a correlation between increased glutathione intakes and a decreased risk of certain cancers.