History of Avocado Oil
The avocado fruit persea Americana of the family lauraceae was first described by martin Fernandez de encisco Spain in 1519.
The earliest record of avocado existence came from an archaeological dig in Peru that uncovered avocado seeds buried dated to the 8th century BC. Avocado is native to Mexico, Central America and South America. Throughout history avocado oil has been renowned for its healing and regenerative properties. The oil has been found to penetrate deep into tissue structure nourishing enriching and revitalizing the skin.
There are three types of avocado fruit. The Mexican type, also known as drymifolia. This has small fruits that weigh around 75-300 grams. They are thin smooth black skin and have a loose seed. This type has the heist oil content and grows in the driest and coolest areas. The second type is the Guatemalan type; it is a large highland avocado weighing up to 500-600 grams. It has a thick, warty skin, a large, tight seed and moderate in oil content. The third type is the West Indian type, which is large and has a smooth green to reddish skin when ripe. Has oil content of about 7%.
In the 1918 the British imperial institute already drew attention to the possibility of using avocado oil as a source of oil. Round 1930, avocados were planted on a small scale in the Lowveld of the Transvaal and today avocado growing has a prominent place amongst the horticultural crops grown in this region. The Californian state chamber of commerce reported that companies used culled and blemished fruit avocado oil extraction purposes.
Around 1956, extensive research was done to analyze the oil content of all the various avocado cultivators. Best methods of oil extraction were also investigated in 1958, by using centrifuge method. The first avocado oil was extracted commercially at Politsi, Northern Transvaal.
Today pure avocado oil, is extracted from the first pulp of the fruit. Its knows as virgin avocado oil and considered as the healthiest. However this is also extremely expensive and just a few people can afford it. The oil doe not go racid very quickly and can be stored for a long period of time.
Methods of extracting avocado oil
- Chemical extraction by solvents
Organic solvent extraction is the most widespread method. Start by drying the pulp with warm air followed by hexane solvent which yields 95% oil. The resulting oil is brownish with high pigment content and requires refining. Refining is done in 3 steps. Step one, deacidification to remove free fatty acids which are less than 1% good quality, step two is bleaching to remove chlorophyll and their degradation products, and the third step is de-odourisation.
- Traditional mechanical extraction
This method has always been used in areas where drying facilities or solvent extraction units are not in existence. However this process has poor yields and frequently requires the use of chemical acids.
Avocado extraction was generally obtained by peeling and distorting the fruit, mashing the pulp and eventually drying it. Heating the paste would then follow, with hot water with chalk or NaCL and spinning, pressing or skimming off by natural decantation of the oil. Mechanical extraction method compared with the chemical method without the chemical acid, offers the best quality oil, but it has a poor cost benefit ratio.
- Cold-pressed extraction
Cold pressed method is one of the best methods to extract essential oils. It’s also called scarification method. No external heat is required to process it is obtained internally. In this method the peel of the fruit is penetrated while rolling over a trough. In this way the tiny pouches which contain the essential oil pierced. After that the whole fruit is pressed to squeeze the juice and the essential oil from the pulp. Then the essential oil rises to the surface of the juice. Here comes the separation process, which is done by the centrifugation process. The essential oil produced from this method has very short life to expire.
USES OF AVOCADO OIL
- Used in skin care. Avocado contains a sterol called phytosterol which has the same penetrating abilities as lanolin. This ability to penetrate the skin is no doubt the key to the success of avocado oil as a natural and effective beauty aid. It’s used for skin massage creams, massage oils and all other preparations which are used for applying to, or rubbing into the skin. Due to its abundance in unsaturated fatty acids in the oil, its fibrous proteins acts as a natural skin moisturizer which makes the skin look young and soft.
- Avocado oil is also used in high grade toilet soaps. This is due to its great ability to emulsify and has superior lather and cleaning qualities. Its low surface tension produces smoother creams and soaps and makes superior cosmetic oil.
- Avocado oil has some sun-screening properties application of this oil to our skins is a very natural was of protecting our skins from then suns radiation
- Used as spread on toasts- avocado oil can be a great replacement of better on toasts. Instead of spreading butter pf jam which is loaded with added sugars add bit of avocado oil and eggs on bread for breakfast.
- Cooking oil- avocado oil can be a good healthy replacement of cooking oil as it is very natural with no excess fats and cholesterol, making it healthy cooking oil.
- Eye makeup remover- avocado oil poured on cotton makes for a gentle and natural eye makeup remover, with no contamination of the eye leading to complications.
- Helps in healing wounds- vitamin K in avocado oil serves in helping blood clot when injuries occur, minimizing excess bleeding. Also helps form and transfer cells via the potassium in avocados.
- Prevents diaper rash- anti inflammatory properties in avocado oil treats diaper rash naturally. This is done by rubbing avocado oil on the agitated areas and the irritation goes away fairly quickly.
- Treats eczema, psoriasis and keretosis- anti- inflammatory properties in avocado oil help provide relief in skin irritations like eczema, psoriasis and kurtosis.
- Periodontal disease- avocado oil is a natural way to prevent inflammation of the tooth and tooth loss associated with periodontal disease. Gargle the oil and the antiseptics properties in avocado will keep the mouth germ free and fresh.
Health Benefits of Avocado Oil
Avocado oil is an edible oiled pressed from the fleshy pulp of avocados. Nutritionally, avocado oil ranks comparably to olive oil with a copious amount monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Its also loaded with proteins lecithin, beta-carotene and vitamins A, D and E.
- Improves blood vessel integrity
Avocado oil contains a balanced proportion of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. These essential fatty acids, along with vitamin E have a powerful antioxidant property which protects the blood vessels by binding and removing free radicals and cholesterol deposits. It also reduces the risk of blood vessel damage. Studies have also shown that regular intake of avocado oil significantly lowers the risk of arterial thrombosis and coronary heart disease.
- Prevents cancer
Omega 3 fatty acid in avocado and alfa linolenic acid suppresses tumor growth in breast and colon cancers. Vitamin e, is also an anti-cancerous, good as a preventive and curative treatment of skin cancer and prostate cancer.
- Promotes faster healing and better skin qualities
Some of the vitamins involved in cell growth and regeneration are A, D and E. Vitamin A and E have strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory functions that promote faster healing of cuts and wounds and also preventing scaring, acnes breakouts and dermatitis. Studies have indicated that intake and application of avocado oil can reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A and D also promote collage production and binding- the intake or application of which can effectively slow down your skins aging process.
- Moisturizes hair and skin
Avocado oil is a great source of lecithin. This fatty acid substance acts as a super emulsifier and lubricant. When applied topically, lecithin forms a protective covering on the hair follicles and skin surface, effectively preventing the loss of moisture due to wind and climate change. Sterolin also found in avocado oil can be used as a softener or moisturizer in hair care.
- Controls and modifies blood cholesterol
The most important benefit of avocado oil is its ability to protect the cardiovascular system. Oleic acid can inhibit the absorption of dietary cholesterol and triglyceride by blocking their transport into the bloodstream. Oleic acid can also raise your density lipoprotein level, which further protects from cardiovascular diseases.
Types of Avocado Oil Produced in Kenya
A) 100% pure avocado oil
1. Extra virgin
This type is from the hass type of avocado. Its high in monounsaturated fatty acids, and has a high smoke point of 250degrees, making it good oil for frying. Hass cold-pressed avocado oil is a brilliant emerald green when extracted; this color is attributed to the high levels of chlorophylls and carotenoids extracted into the oil.
Extra virgin is gourmet grade and a special variety from crude oil. It is excellent in salad dressing and gourmet cuisines. Its taste and odor are perceived as those of the fresh avocado, it’s free from fatty acids
There are two types of extra virgin oils, the first is the organic which has no added chemicals nor flavors in it. The second one is the conventional type that has some added chemicals, preservatives flavors in it.
B) Crude Avocado Oil
It’s rich heavy oil, which is deeply penetrating and rich in vitamins A, E and D, lecithin, potassium. Crude oil is green in color as it still contains chlorophyll and is classified as mono-unsaturated oil. Although it can be used pure, it is mostly mixed with carrier oil like almond or grape seed oils.
It’s often used for treating skins that are dry, mature, people suffering from eczema or psoriasis. Also good in treating damaged skin from dehydration and undernourished.
C) Refined Avocado Oil
Refined avocado oil is clear, light and non tacky with penetration characteristics. Its odor and taste are very pleasant, faint nut like tone.
Producers and Suppliers of Avocado Oil in Kenya
Avocado is grown in most parts of central and western Kenya and its production and demand in the market has tremendously increased due to it s health benefits. Some of the producers and suppliers of avocado oil are as follows:
Mount Kenya Avocado Oil– is both a producer and supplier of avocado oils. It produces crude, refined and extra virgin Kenya avocado oils.
Aloe Kenya-is a manufacturing industry with a capacity of supplying 20000 liter per year.
Red garnet limited- an exporter of avocado oil, pure, cold pressed and natural. It has a supplying ability of 30000liter per month
Noble course enterprise- manufacturing industry with a supply capacity of 500liter per month.
Allinono consulting- found at TTA avenue Nairobi. Is an exporting company with a supply ability of 20 tonne per month.
Olivado- found in Muranga near Thika with a capacity to supply 900MT of organic extra virgin avocado oil per year.
Avocado is known internationally for their high vitamin content and versality for use in different dishes. Avocado consumption has seen high growth in different world markets, given the trend to consume products with natural fats, increased knowledge of its properties and the perception that it is a healthy food. The greatest demand in the world market is the hass and fuerte varieties.
Avocado demand is currently concentrated in developed countries, with The United States an European markets been the largest consumers of the fruit among many other countries like, Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Siberia.
Kenya is one of the largest producers of avocados; with a production of 110,000 tons in 2012.local varieties dominate Kenyan production, whereas fuerte and hass, varieties suitable for export make up 20 and 10% respectively. Of the total production 20-25% is exported and enjoys a competitive advantage because the hass variety harvesting season extends later in the year than perus, granting Kenya a window of opportunity.
Kenyan avocados sell in Europe at roughly three times their domestic price, making the export opportunity extremely attractive.