Delicious, cold-pressed avocado oil might be on your radar already if the creamy green fruit is one of your favorites. But how does it compare nutritionally to the more traditional pantry staple, extra virgin olive oil?
Here a nutritionist weighs in on the advantages and disadvantages of cooking with each and what you should look for when purchasing your next bottle.
Avocado oil and olive oil have similar nutrition profiles. Per tablespoon, they contain 124 and 120 calories respectively, and each have 14 grams of fat. In particular, they are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are the heart-healthy kind that promote good cholesterol, explains Michelle Dudash, RDN, chef and author of Clean Eating for Busy Families.
THE LEVEL OF HEAT
Dudash points out that choosing one over the other depends on what you’re cooking. She recommends avocado oil for high-heat cooking, like searing and grilling, since it has a high smoke point and she uses it for baking since it has a light, mild taste.
Olive oil has a lower smoke point, making it better for sautéing veggies at medium heat, finishing dishes at the end of cooking or drizzling onto salads and bread.
PAY ATTENTION TO HOW IT’S PROCESSED
Look for the term “cold pressed” on the bottle, which refers to the idea that high temperatures are not used to source the main ingredient, keeping the integrity of the olive or avocado intact and resulting in the highest quality oil, explains San
Francisco-based registered dietitian Hanna Rifkin. This is in contrast to other types of oil such as canola or even non-virgin olive oil, which are extracted with methods that range from heat to chemical solvents. The designation “extra virgin” means the olive oil was cold pressed.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While prices can vary for both, avocado oil generally costs a bit more than olive oil. The nutrition is generally equivalent, so it depends on your cooking needs. Dudash recommends stocking your pantry with both oils to give you more opportunity to expand your palate. Whenever possible, whether olive or avocado, opt for a better-quality, cold pressed oil, adds Rifkin.