As some of the adverse health effects of butter and tropical oils become more apparent, alternative products become more attractive. Avocado oil is the natural fat extracted from the fruit of the avocado tree. This oil is similar in texture and taste to olive oil and you can use it for cooking and as an ingredient in several dishes and dressings. Avocado's only nutritional contribution is its caloric value and fat content.
A 1-tbsp. serving of avocado oil contains 124 calories. Calories are simply measures of heat, and provide an indication of the amount of energy a particular food provides to the body. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that adults need about 2,200 calories a day to support their energy needs. A serving of avocado oil represents about 6 percent of this amount.
A 1-tbsp. serving of avocado oil contains 14 g of total fat. Your body needs dietary fat for energy, to store and transport vitamins, insulate and protect organs and produce hormones. Fat should account for 20 to 35 percent of your total calories, which amounts to about 49 to 86 g of fat each day. A serving of avocado oil accounts for about 16 to 29 percent of the typical adult's daily fat needs.
Each serving of avocado oil contains about 1.6 g of saturated fat. Saturated fats commonly exist in animal products and may increase blood cholesterol levels when you consume them in excess. There is some controversy about the effects of saturated fat on the cardiovascular system and if your body actually needs them, but the American Heart Association maintains that you should limit saturated fat intake as much as possible. You should generally aim to consume less than 7 percent of your calories from these fats, according to the AHA.
The majority of the fat in avocado oil is unsaturated. A serving of avocado oil contains nearly 10 g of monounsaturated fat and about 2 g of polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats can reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk of heart disease. Polyunsaturated fats have similar benefits as monounsaturated fats, but may also have a positive effect on blood glucose levels and lower the risk of diabetes. Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-3 fatty acids, which have demonstrated the ability to lower risk of coronary heart disease, decrease irregular heartbeats and reduce blood pressure.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Oil, Avocado
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans; 2010
- Institute of Medicine; Dietary Reference Intakes; Macronutrients; 2005
- American Heart Association: Saturated Fats; October 2010
- Mayo Clinic: Dietary Fats; Know Which Types to Choose; February 2011
- American Heart Association: Knowing Your Fats; September 2010
- Cleveland Clinic Health: Heart-Healthy Cooking; Oils 101; April 2010