Can I use avocado oil instead of olive oil?
In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can I use avocado oil instead of olive oil?” The article will provide relevant information regarding the health benefits of both olive and avocado oil; then, we will explore the suitability of both oils for cooking.
Can I use avocado oil instead of olive oil?
Yes, you can use avocado oil instead of olive oil. Avocado is a very healthy oil, and it continues to grow in popularity as more scientific evidence demonstrates its health properties (1).
However, both are great options for using as raw topping for salads, pizza, and many other foods (1,2).
What is the difference between avocado and olive oil?
Avocado oil and extra-virgin olive oil are both vegetable oils produced by pressing the flesh of the fruits they come from; avocados and olives, for example respectively. They’re both liquid at room temperature, come in virgin(cold-pressed) and refined versions, and cost about the same (2,3).
The nutritional composition of both oils are very similar, for example, according to the USDA, one tablespoon of avocado and olive oil provide the following nutrients (4,5):
|1 tbsp avocado oil||1 tbsp olive oil|
|Vitamin E||1.8 mg||2.01|
In terms of flavor, Olive oil may taste wildly different from one bottle to the next, ranging from herbaceous to nutty to vegetal, but extra-virgin olive oil is light, peppery, and green in general (6).
Avocado oil, on the other hand, has a flavor similar to that of avocados. It has a faint grassy flavor and is very mild, missing the characteristic sting of olive oil. That’s not to say it’s flavorless, but it’s mild (1,3).
What are the health benefits of avocado and olive oil?
There are different health benefits associated with avocado oil, for example (1):
- The monounsaturated fatty acids help regulate lipids in blood such as cholesterol, triacylglycerides, and low-density lipoproteins; this will result in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- The presence of carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin), polyphenols, and chlorophylls is linked to a lower risk of several types of cancer, for example: prostate cancer, skin cancer, and colon cancer.
- Avocado oil has two important carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, which can regulate and reduce inflammation in the retina (caused by light and blue light). Therefore, avocado oil carotenoids reduce macular degeneration.
- Oleic acid, one of the main monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil, can promote the production of some components, like gastric inhibitory polypeptide and the glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GIP and GLP-1, respectively), in your intestine cells that increase your insulin sensitivity.
Olive oil has very similar health benefits compared to avocado oil, because both have similar chemical composition (in terms of fatty acids). Some health benefits of olive oil are (2):
- The polyphenols and monounsaturated fatty acids in olive oil can reduce approximately 4 % and 26 % of cardiovascular disease and stroke, respectively.
- According to solid meta-analysis results, the polyphenols and other bioactive compounds contained in olive oil can reduce between 26 and 41 % the risk of breast cancer.
- Even if there is no clear pathway on how olive oil helps regulate diabetes, there is evidence that just slight amounts of olive oil (10 g) can reduce by 9-16 % your risks of presenting type 2 diabetes.
Which one should you use for cooking?
Before jumping directly towards selecting the best oil for cooking, it is important to remember what the smoke point is, because it is crucial to understand the oil quality (7).
The smoke point is the temperature at which your oil stops shimmering and begins to create a bluish smoke, due to the degradation of triacylglycerols into acrolein and other chemical elements (7).
Above the smoke point, the oil will start to produce toxic chemicals such as acrolein (linked to kidney and liver damage), and the nutrients like antioxidants will start to degrade. Therefore, you should select oils with higher smoke points (7).
Now we are ready to select the best oil for cooking between olive and avocado oil; it is reported that the smoke point of avocado oil is near to 196 °C, and the olive oil could range between 175 and 208 °C (8).
However, the literature shows that avocado oil loses almost all carotenoids and chlorophylls (antioxidants) after 2 hours at 180 °C, while olive oil can retain approximately 20-50 % of its antioxidants at the same conditions (9,10).
Therefore, if you want to cook with a healthier oil, maybe olive oil is a better option for you. If you want more information on how to cook with olive oil, please visit our article on this topic right here.
Other FAQs about Oils that you may be interested in.
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can I use avocado oil instead of olive oil?” The article provided relevant information regarding the health benefits of both olive and avocado oil; then, we explored the suitability of both oils for cooking.
- Cervantes-Paz B, Yahia EM. Avocado oil: Production and market demand, bioactive components, implications in health, and tendencies and potential uses. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf, 2021;20(4):4120–58.
- Foscolou A, Critselis E, Panagiotakos D. Olive oil consumption and human health: A narrative review. Maturitas, 2018;118:60–6.
- Tan CX. Virgin avocado oil: An emerging source of functional fruit oil. J Funct Foods, 2019;54:381–92.
- FoodData central [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 19 June 2023]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103861/nutrients
- FoodData central [Internet]. Usda.gov. [cited 19 June 2023]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173573/nutrients
- Genovese A, Caporaso N, Sacchi R. Flavor chemistry of virgin olive oil: An overview. Applied Sciences, 2021;11(4):1639.
- Katragadda HR, Fullana A, Sidhu S, Carbonell-Barrachina ÁA. Emissions of volatile aldehydes from heated cooking oils. Food Chem, 2010;120(1):59–65.
- Guillaume C, De Alzaa F, Ravetti L. Evaluation of chemical and physical changes in different commercial oils during heating. Acta Scientific Nutritional Health, 2018;2(6):2-11.
- Resende LMB, de Souza VR, Ferreira GMD, Nunes CA. Changes in quality and phytochemical contents of avocado oil under different temperatures. J Food Sci Technol, 2019;56(1):401–8.
- Criado-Navarro I, López-Bascón MA, Ledesma-Escobar CA, Priego-Capote F. Alteration of the phenolic fraction of extra virgin Olive oil subjected to frying conditions. ACS Food Sci Technol, 2021;1(5):884–91.