Avocados have been dominating dishes and elevating everything from tuna to toast for years. But what about its lesser-known counterpart, avocado oil? While this buttery oil has had a recent rise in popularity due to its high tolerance for heat and ability to contribute a rich flavor to even the most wholesome recipes (hello, new favorite salad dressing!), we’re often asked about avocado oil for babies. Here’s a slick primer on this healthy oil, as well as how it can contribute to your baby or toddler’s taste bud training.
WHAT IS AVOCADO OIL?
Avocado oil is the natural oil pressed from the pulp (AKA the green stuff you like to slice on top of your brunch) of an avocado. Nearly 70 percent of avocado oil is made of something a heart-healthy monosaturated omega-9 fatty acid called oleic acid. Similar to coconut oil, avocado oil can be used as cooking oil, an ingredient, and is often found in cosmetics due to its moisturizing abilities.
WHAT ARE ALL THE HEALTH BENEFITS?
All those antioxidants and healthy fats pack a nutritional punch, especially when it comes to caring for your heart. Here are three additional health benefits of avocado oil:
In a study on rats, avocado oil competed with olive oil in its ability to improve heart health and blood pressure while also raising HDL (the cholesterol your doctor likes to see).
Improves the health of your peepers
Avocados are also relatively high in lutein, which acts as a natural antioxidant to benefit eye health. It can also help ward off age-related eye issues, like cataracts and macular degeneration.
Aids in absorption of other nutrients
Many nutrients found in fruits and vegetables require a dose of fat to help them absorb properly—which is tricky considering most fruits and vegetables are extremely low in fat. One study found that drizzling salad or salsa with avocado oil increased the body’s absorption of carotenoid antioxidants by up to 17x.
IS AVOCADO OIL FOR BABIES REALLY A THING?
You betcha (so is turmeric!). When it comes to avocado oil for babies, their hearts (as well as your own) can benefit from a dose of the monosaturated fats found in healthy oil. If you have any concerns about a food allergy, consult your pediatrician first.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SERVE AVOCADO OIL TO A BABY?
Introducing avocado oil to your baby can be as simple as adding a tablespoon to their favorite puree—the flavor is mild enough to mix with most other fruits and vegetables. As they advance to finger foods, use avocado oil as a dressing for veggies, drizzle it over quinoa, or use it to pan-sear your favorite produce for an added nutrient boost.
Is your baby ready for solids? Raised Real meals contain palate training ingredients like avocado oil.