Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil vs Avocado Oil

Coconut oil and avocado oil have gained immense popularity due to their distinct flavors and potential health benefits. While coconut oil has been a traditional favorite, avocado oil has recently emerged as a healthier alternative. According to IMARC Group, the global avocado oil market size was valued at USD 550.7 million in 2022. Although it is much less than coconut oil market size at USD 4.9 billion in 2022, both markets are growing.

At this point, the only factor that coconut oil is winning on is price. Due to the availability and extraction process, coconut oil is generally more affordable than avocado oil. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between coconut oil and avocado oil, providing valuable insights into their chemical composition, smoke points, cooking techniques, and more.

Coconut Oil vs Avocado Oil: Chemical Profile & Origin

Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of mature coconuts and has a distinctive composition that sets it apart from other oils. Avocado oil is derived from the pulp of avocados, offering a unique blend of nutrients. Here are the comparisons of both oils’ fatty acid content.

Fatty AcidCoconut Oil (%)Avocado Oil (%)
C6 (Caproic acid)~0.5~0
C8 (Caprylic acid)~7.0~0
C10 (Capric acid)~9.0~0
C12 (Lauric acid)~49.0~0
C14 (Myristic acid)~16.5~0
C16 (Palmitic acid)~8.010 – 25
C16:1 (Palmitoleic acid)~02 – 8
C18 (Stearic acid)~2.50.1 – 0.4
C18:1 (Oleic acid)~5.860 – 80
C18:2 (Linoleic acid)~1.87 – 20
C18:3 (Linolenic acid)~0.20.2 – 1

Coconut Oil: Saturated with saturated fat

Coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, containing primarily medium-chain fatty acids, such as lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid. The oil is well known for its antimicrobial properties.

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Coconut oil has a long history of use in tropical countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, where the coconut palm is native. The earliest evidence of coconut oil use dates to 4,000 BC, when it was used by the Indus Valley civilization. The coconut palm was also an important crop for the ancient Egyptians, and coconut oil was used for cooking, as well as for medicinal purposes.

Avocado Oil: More Oleic than Olive Oil

Unlike coconut oil, avocado oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is known for its heart-healthy properties. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body’s cells from damage caused by free radicals.

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Avocado oil has been used for centuries in Mesoamerica. The earliest evidence of avocado oil use dates to 3,500 BC, when it was used by the Olmec people. The Aztecs also used avocado oil, and they called it “olioliuhqui.” Avocado oil was used for cooking, as well as for medicinal purposes. It was believed to have healing properties for the skin and hair.

Cooking with Coconut Oil vs Avocado Oil

Coconut Oil’s Smoke Point

With a high smoke point that can reach can reach 204⁰C or 400⁰F, coconut oil is ideal for low to high-heat cooking methods like sautéing, baking, and deep frying. Refined coconut oil can even be reused after frying due to its stability against oxidative destruction, although not indefinitely.

Coconut Oil’s Cooking Techniques

Refined coconut oil is a versatile cooking oil that can be used for various cooking techniques. Its high smoke point and neutral flavor make it suitable for both savory and sweet dishes. Here are some common cooking techniques where refined coconut oil can be used:

  1. Sautéing: Refined coconut oil is excellent for sautéing vegetables, meat, seafood, and tofu. Its high smoke point allows you to cook at medium to high heat without the oil breaking down and smoking.
  2. Stir-frying: Due to its ability to withstand high temperatures, refined coconut oil is well-suited for stir-frying. It imparts a subtle coconut aroma to the dish without overpowering the other flavors.
  3. Frying: Refined coconut oil can be used for deep frying, such as frying battered foods like tempura or frying doughnuts and other desserts.

coconut oil vs avocado oil: which one is better for cooking?

  1. Baking: Refined coconut oil can be a substitute for other cooking oils or butter in baking recipes. It works well in muffins, cakes, cookies, and other baked goods, adding a hint of coconut flavor.
  2. Roasting: When roasting vegetables or meats in the oven, you can use refined coconut oil to coat them before cooking. It helps enhance the flavors and adds a light coconut essence to the dish.
  3. Popcorn: Refined coconut oil can be used to pop popcorn on the stovetop. Its neutral flavor allows the popcorn’s taste to shine, and the slight coconut aroma can be a delightful addition.
  4. Pan-frying: Use refined coconut oil to pan-fry foods like pancakes, fritters, or breaded dishes. Its high smoke point ensures that the food cooks evenly without absorbing excess oil.
  5. No-bake treats: In recipes for no-bake treats like energy bars, granola bars, or raw desserts, refined coconut oil can act as a binding agent and provide a subtle coconut taste.

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Coconut Oil’s Shelf Life

Refined coconut oil has a shelf life of 2 years when stored properly.

Avocado Oil’s Smoke Point

Refined avocado oil boasts a high smoke point of around 520°F (270°C), making it suitable for high-heat cooking methods like grilling and stir-frying. This is the highest smoke point for vegetable oil so far.

Nevertheless, as mentioned in previous oil comparison articles, smoke point is not the only factor to consider when subjecting the oil to high temperature. Other factor such as oxidative stability also plays a part. It tells how stable the oil is when exposed to high heat. By stable, it means that the oil will not react into creating harmful compounds.

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Interestingly, regarding its oxidative stability, avocado is sensitive to oxidation when exposed to light. This could be daylight or fluorescent light. When exposed to daylight at room temperature, avocado oil starts to form peroxides, which is a harmful compound for human. This behaviour is also observed in soybean oil and olive oil. However, it stays stable in dark place at room temperature.

Avocado Oil’s Cooking Techniques

Refined avocado oil is a versatile and healthy cooking oil with a high smoke point and a mild flavor. It is suitable for various cooking techniques. Here are some common cooking techniques where refined avocado oil can be used:

  1. Sautéing: Refined avocado oil is great for sautéing vegetables, meats, and seafood. Its high smoke point allows you to cook at medium to high heat without the oil breaking down or producing smoke.
  2. Stir-frying: Use refined avocado oil for stir-frying your favorite vegetables and proteins. Its neutral taste won’t overpower the dish’s flavors, and its high smoke point ensures even and quick cooking.
  3. Grilling: Brushing refined avocado oil on foods before grilling helps prevent sticking and adds a light, healthy fat to enhance the grilled flavors.

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  1. Roasting: Refined avocado oil can be used to coat vegetables and meats before roasting them in the oven. It helps achieve crispy and delicious results.
  2. Baking: In baking, refined avocado oil can replace other oils or butter in recipes. It works well in cakes, muffins, and quick breads, providing a moist texture and subtle flavor.
  3. Frying: Refined avocado oil can be used for shallow or deep frying due to its high smoke point. It is suitable for frying items like tempura, fritters, and other breaded dishes.
  4. Salad dressings: Refined avocado oil can be combined with vinegar, citrus juice, herbs, and seasonings to make delicious and healthy salad dressings.
  5. Marinades: Use refined avocado oil as a base for marinades, infusing meats, poultry, or tofu with flavors before grilling or roasting.
  6. No-cook recipes: Refined avocado oil can be used in various no-cook recipes, such as cold sauces, dips, and raw desserts.

Avocado Oil’s Shelf Life

Refined avocado oil typically has a shelf life of 8 to 12 months when stored properly.

Health Benefits: Coconut Oil vs Avocado Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a widely used ingredient in health products due to its various potential benefits. As a source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), particularly lauric acid, it is known to boost energy levels and support weight management by promoting satiety and increasing metabolism.

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Furthermore, MCTs are easily digested and absorbed, making them a quick source of energy for the body and brain. Coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties, mainly attributed to lauric acid, may aid in fighting off harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Moreover, coconut oil’s potential to improve heart health by raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels and converting LDL (bad) cholesterol into a less harmful form has garnered interest. However, it is essential to consume coconut oil in moderation, as it is high in saturated fats, and further research is needed to fully understand all its health effects. Overall, coconut oil’s unique properties make it a popular ingredient in health products, including supplements, energy bars, and various dietary aids.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is highly regarded in health products due to its impressive nutritional profile and potential health benefits. It is rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which has been linked to improved heart health by positively affecting cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Additionally, avocado oil contains valuable vitamins and antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which contribute to its potential to combat oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. . Avocado oil contains approximately 3.5 mg of vitamin E per tablespoon, or about 23% of daily dose needs. Its ability to enhance the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients from other foods makes it a valuable addition to health products, potentially increasing the overall nutritional value of the diet. Moreover, avocado oil’s moisturizing and soothing properties have made it a popular ingredient in skincare and beauty products. As with any dietary component, it is essential to incorporate avocado oil responsibly into a balanced diet to harness its potential health benefits while being mindful of overall caloric intake and dietary requirements.

Skincare Uses

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a widely used ingredient in skincare products due to its numerous benefits. As a natural emollient, it effectively moisturizes the skin, making it an ideal addition to creams, lotions, and balms for combating dryness and improving skin’s overall hydration.

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Its abundance of medium-chain fatty acids, like lauric acid, endows it with antimicrobial properties, making it beneficial for products targeting acne and skin infections. The presence of antioxidants in coconut oil, such as vitamin E, contributes to its ability to protect the skin from free radicals, thus reducing signs of aging and promoting a more youthful appearance. However, it’s important to note that while coconut oil is suitable for many, it can be comedogenic for some individuals, so it’s best to check product labels and consider personal skin type and sensitivity before using coconut oil-based skincare products.

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a highly beneficial ingredient frequently used in skincare products due to its rich composition of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants.

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The oil’s high oleic acid content makes it deeply nourishing and easily absorbed by the skin, making it ideal for moisturizers, serums, and creams. Its abundance of vitamins E and C, along with carotenoids, aids in protecting the skin from oxidative stress, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and promoting a more youthful complexion. Additionally, its ability to stimulate collagen production enhances skin elasticity and firmness. Overall, avocado oil serves as a versatile and effective ingredient, promoting healthy, hydrated, and revitalized skin in various skincare formulations.

Haircare Benefits: Coconut Oil vs Avocado Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a popular and versatile ingredient in haircare products due to its numerous benefits for hair health. With its natural emollient properties, coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft, providing deep hydration and moisture, making it particularly effective for dry, damaged, or frizzy hair. The oil’s lauric acid content contributes to its ability to bind to hair proteins, helping to reduce protein loss and prevent damage from everyday wear and tear. Additionally, coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties can help combat scalp issues such as dandruff and fungal infections. As a result, coconut oil is commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, hair masks, and serums, promoting smoother, shinier, and more manageable hair when incorporated into a regular haircare routine.

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Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is a beneficial and nourishing ingredient often included in haircare products due to its rich composition of vitamins, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. When applied to hair, avocado oil deeply moisturizes and hydrates, making it especially effective for dry, brittle, or damaged hair. Its high content of monounsaturated oleic acid allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, providing a protective layer that helps prevent moisture loss and strengthens the hair. Avocado oil’s vitamins E and C, along with other nutrients, promote hair growth and improve overall hair health, leaving it looking lustrous, soft, and more manageable. Whether found in conditioners, hair oils, or hair masks, avocado oil serves as an excellent natural solution to rejuvenate and revitalize hair, making it a favored ingredient in haircare products.

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Both coconut oil and avocado oil offer distinct advantages and can be valuable additions to your culinary and wellness routine. Coconut oil brings its tropical flavor and potential antimicrobial properties, while avocado oil shines with its high smoke point and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs, culinary preferences, and health goals. Incorporate both oils into your diet and skincare regimen to experience the unique benefits they have to offer.

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