If you are like a lot of other people, you have become more careful about the type of oil you cook with. Olive oil is a healthful choice because it provides a mild anti-inflammatory benefit and reduces “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. But there are other healthful options, including avocado oil, which is pressed from the fleshy pulp of the avocado. If you find that the flavor of olive oil overpowers or doesn’t complement the taste of other ingredients in a dish, try avocado oil, which has a more subtle flavor than olive oil, smooth with a hint of pepper.
Nutritional benefits: Avocado oil contains the same amount of oleic acid, a healthful monounsaturated fat, as olive oil—about 9.5 grams per tablespoon—and just slightly more calories. It is cold-pressed without the use of solvents, and its acid content is comparable to that of extra-virgin olive oil. Like olive oil, avocado oil contains beta-sitosterol, a plant sterol (known to be healthful for the prostate) and small amounts of vitamin E and antioxidant carotenoids.
Ways to use: You can use avocado oil in homemade salad dressings or when sautéing fish or chicken. One advantage: Avocado oil has a higher smoke point than olive oil. This means that you can cook with it at higher temperatures (as high as 500°F). Olive oil reaches the smoking point at about 400°F.
Flavors: In addition to pure avocado oil, it can be infused with rosemary or basil. An 8.5-ounce bottle (plain or infused) sells for about $11 to $13. Olive oil sells for between $8 and $20 for the same-sized bottle. Avocado oil can be purchased online and at many grocery stores.