If it were up to me, I’d have a steady supply of perfect, ripe avocados on hand. They’d have no blemishes, no bruising, no weird soft spots, no stringy veins running through. Every avocado would be ripe and somehow manage to stand up to rough handling. They wouldn’t be watery or mushy—just creamy. Life would be good, and I’d probably retire and begin an all-avocado diet. But that’s not reality. Avocados are a crap shoot. They take forever to ripen. There’s usually something wrong. Half the time I have to cut out half the flesh just to approach edibility. And I say this living in the home state of the best avocados in the world.
Enter avocado oil. No, it’s not quite the same as a plump avocado. No, you can’t make guacamole out of it, although some disgusting heathen has probably tried using gums and thickeners. For that it falls short of a plump avocado. But because first-press avocado oil—the kind I make—retains most of the fat-soluble nutrients, antioxidants, carotenoids, and chlorophylls found in the fruit, just like extra virgin olive oil retains olive nutrients, first-press avocado oil provides the power of the avocado in a compact, reliable, convenient, pourable package.
And it lets you do lots of cool things:
1. Make meals less inflammatory.
Adding half an avocado to a standard hamburger meal reduced the postprandial inflammatory response. Without the avocado, levels of the inflammatory cytokine IL-6 remained elevated 4 hours after the meal. With the avocado, IL-6 was unchanged.
Fried food of any kind shouldn’t be a staple. I don’t care how stable your oil is; fried food is a treat. But if you are going to fry, do it right. MUFA-rich avocado oil has the stability of olive oil without the prominent olive oil flavor. Don’t get me wrong: I love the taste of extra virgin olive oil. But the taste dominates anything you cook. If you’re trying to do a gluten-free southern fried chicken or any other fried dish that doesn’t mesh with EVOO, avocado oil is a subtler frying medium.
I’ve been shaving every day for 40 years. Yeah, yeah: Grok rocked a beard, but so what? They’re just too itchy and I’m not too worried about MRSA. I can’t get over the hump to where it starts feeling normal. Anyway, sometimes I’ll use about a quarter teaspoon of avocado oil rubbed into my face in lieu of shaving cream. While you don’t get the satisfying dichotomy between clean shaven skin and foam-bedecked skin, it does work just as well.
When I want to remove mascara and eyeliner, I always turn to avocado oil. It’s safe, it works, and if a little bit extra drips down my face, I can just eat it or hold my head over a bowl of lettuce and make a nice salad.
8. Moisturize skin.
Creams/lotions/balms/salves, shmeams/shmotions/shmalms/shmalves! Too much work to investigate the good ones. Once you find yourself looking up polysyllabic ingredients on EWG, that’s a sign to simplify. There’s no simpler way than slathering a single ingredient on your skin. Avocado oil, with its bounty of carotenoids, vitamin E, and healthy fat, is a great choice for maintaining skin health and moisture. An easy rule of thumb is if it’s safe and good to eat, it’s safe (and possibly beneficial) for your skin.
9. Improve psoriasis.
In subjects with chronic plaque psoriasis (where white crusts form on top of the skin sores), combination vitamin B12/avocado oil ointment was compared to the vitamin D3 analogue calcipotriol. Both treatments worked, with the calcipotriol working quicker but subsiding after 4 weeks and the avocado oil/B12 ointment working more slowly but consistently. Seeing as how vitamin B12 deficiency is involved in the etiology of plaque psoriasis, avocado oil alone may not work as well as the study results indicate.
10. Dress the greatest summer salad ever.
This one might sound odd. Just trust me. Make it. You need really good watermelon. Avoid the mealy ones grown in another country during the offseason. Find the best watermelon when they’re in season near you. Go to the farmer’s market and ask the watermelon guy to pick one out if you don’t know how.
Get some sheep feta. The real stuff, not cow feta. Greek or Israeli fetas tend to be my favorites.
Chop up a handful of fresh mint. Toss it all together, drizzle with avocado oil. Maybe a squeeze of lemon or lime. There: that’s it.
11. Add to baths.
Ancient Romans who could afford it would clean their bodies with olive oil and scrape it (and any dirt and dead skin) off using a strigil (a kind of spatula for removing body oil). They were awash in the stuff. If I could do that with avocado oil, I would. A couple glugs into the bath, though, is a nice compromise that gives the water a silky texture and leaves you moisturized, not pruny and dried out.
12. Improve the way your mitochondria function and respond to stress.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.