Decoding Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs. Avocado Oil: The Health Showdown

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Key Differences Between Healthiest Cooking Oils: How Does Extra Virgin Olive Oil Compare?

Updated February 7th 2024

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Healthier Than Avocado Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Healthier Than Avocado Oil


  • Extra virgin olive oil and Avocado Oil have different benefits depending on what you are looking for in your choice of oil.
  • Extra virgin has the highest level of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidant with multiple health benefits.
  • Avocado Oil has a higher level of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
  • Extra virgin olive oil is a key element of The Mediterranean Diet – which continues to go from strength to strength in popularity and health benefits.
  • It’s important to balance the unique benefits of any cooking oil before choosing what is best for your needs.


Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil Healthier Than Avocado Oil?

When it comes to cooking oils, there are a lot of options to choose from. But what are the nutritional differences between extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil?

In the realm of oils, two have risen to superhero status among the health-conscious community: extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and avocado oil. These two green-hued elixirs have been praised for their heart-friendly fats and stellar nutrient profiles, but which one truly wears the crown?

Let’s dive into the nutritional powerhouse that is extra virgin olive oil and the emerald essence of avocado oil to uncover which one stands above for health benefits.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: The Ancient Medicine

For centuries, the Mediterranean diet has been held as a gold standard for heart health, partially due to the generous use of EVOO. Chock-full of monounsaturated fats, EVOO is famed for reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol.

Not just a friend to your heart, the potent phenolic compounds in this liquid gold have anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against cancer and oxidative stress. But it’s the rich reservoir of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and the potential to improve brain function wherein EVOO truly shines.

How to Choose the Best EVOO: Opt for bottles labeled “cold-pressed” and “certified organic” to ensure you’re getting the highest quality and nutritional content.

Avocado Oil: The Versatile Nutrition Boost

Avocado oil is the defatted essence of the creamy green fruit. Like EVOO, it’s a source of monounsaturated fats, which supports the cardiovascular system. Avocado oil brings something unique to the table with its high smoke point, making it ideal for all kinds of cooking methods, including high-temperature frying.

This smooth operator is also packed with lutein, an antioxidant essential for eye health, and chlorophyll, the green pigment that in some studies has been shown to reduce cancerous growth.

How to Choose the Best Avocado Oil: Look for oils that are unrefined and cold-pressed for the most health benefits.

The Omega-3 Factor: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Compared To Avocado Oil

If you’re comparing on the omega-3 front, avocado oil edges past EVOO, albeit slightly. It contains more of these essential fatty acids, crucial for reducing inflammation and aiding brain function. Both oils are low in omega-3s compared to omega-6s, so incorporating other more concentrated sources like flaxseeds and fatty fish is recommended for a balanced intake.

Avocado Oil Benefits For Skin And Eye Health

According to WebMD, one tablespoon of avocado oil has 124 calories and 14 grams of total fat, with 2 grams being saturated fat. Avocado oil has large amounts of oleic acid, which may reduce high blood pressure, and contains monounsaturated fat that may raise good HDL cholesterol and minimize bad LDL cholesterol, which has been known to increase the risk of heart and artery diseases and strokes. Avocado oil may also help with inflammation due to cardiovascular issues, and it has vitamin E and lutein, which are vital for skin and eye health.

Avocado oil is a high-fat food, so it should be eaten in moderation. People who are allergic to avocados should avoid consuming it, and anyone with an allergy to latex or birch has an increased likelihood of having an avocado allergy. Furthermore, anyone that takes Coumadin (known as Warfarin generically) to help with blood clots should not consume avocado oil as the oil may worsen blood clotting issues (via WebMD).

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Aids In Heart Health

The definition of extra virgin olive oil is very precise regards production methods, taste and chemical composition. To be certified as extra virgin, an olive oil must:

  • Come from a single source, it is not mixed / blended with other olive oils, even if they are of extra virgin quality
  • Come from the first pressing of fresh, young olives, normally within 24 hours of harvesting
  • Be extracted purely by mechanical means at temperatures specifically below 28C.
  • Have free fatty acid or acidity level (normally measured as oleic acid) of less than 0.8%.
  • Be defect free and have a perfect taste and aroma.

The lower the acidity, the better the quality and the longer the shelf-life.

High quality extra virgin olive oils also contain the antioxidants and polyphenols that give the health enhancing qualities associated with olive oil.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil For Breakfast
Extra Virgin Olive Oil Health Benefits

Per WebMD, one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil has 119 calories and the same amount of fat as avocado oil: 14 grams of total fat and 2 grams of saturated fat. Of all olive oil types, extra virgin has the highest level of polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds that may help reduce inflammation and the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Polyphenols in extra virgin olive oil may help support healthy joints and bones.

Extra virgin olive oil also contains oleocanthal and oleuropein, which are also antioxidant compounds that are beneficial for preventing the formation of bad LDL cholesterol (via Healthline). The presence of oleic acid and vitamins E and K in extra virgin olive oil help open up blood vessels to encourage blood flow and healthy blood pressure levels, aid in bone and heart health, prevent blood clots, and protect against heart disease and strokes.

Extra virgin olive oil can handle temperatures as hot as 405 F and can also be used cold, per Healthline. It’s great for marinades, salad dressings, stir-frying, sauteing, and as a finishing oil. Like avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil is high in fat, so be sure to consume it in moderation. Additionally, anyone with an olive allergy should avoid all olive oils.

The Verdict: Extra Virgin Olive Oil Versus Avocado Oil

Both EVOO and avocado oil boast impressive health profiles, but they cater to slightly different needs. EVOO, as an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, takes the limelight with its robust heart benefits and antioxidative prowess. Meanwhile, avocado oil’s versatility and slightly higher omega-3 content make it a formidable contender.

The best strategy? Incorporate both oils into your cooking and dietary repertoire. Salad dressings beg for the fruity notes of EVOO, while avocado oil’s buttery richness elevates any cook’s repertoire. Understanding your cooking method and recipe can guide you towards choosing the ideal oil for your next culinary adventure.

Remember, moderation is key. While these oils bring bounties for your well-being, excessive use can still contribute to calorie overload, so pour wisely. Whether it’s a drizzle or a sizzle, let the health benefits of these oils make their way into your kitchen and onto your plate. It’s not just about the oil you choose, but how you use it that counts.

Extra virgin olive oil is made from the first cold pressing of olives and is packed full of health boosting antioxidants, or polyphenols. It’s also rich in mono-saturated fats, which can help to lower cholesterol levels. Avocado oil, on the other hand, is made from the flesh of avocados and has a milder flavor. It’s also a good source of vitamins E and K, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

So, what are the health benefits of these two oils? Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Avocado oil, meanwhile, can help to improve cholesterol levels and provide relief from arthritis symptoms. According to a great new summary from Tasting Table, both oils are an excellent addition to your larder. But, looking into their properties in more details shows some key health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil.