Peanut oil the a kind of common oil in our cooking diet, especially when frying foods. While it may have some health benefits, it also has some significant drawbacks.
This article takes a detailed look at peanut oil to find out if it is a healthy or unhealthy choice.
Do you know what is the peanut oil ?
Though the peanut plant flowers above ground, the seeds or peanuts actually develop underground. This is why peanuts are also known as groundnuts.
Peanuts are often grouped with tree nuts like walnuts and almonds, but they are actually a type of legume that belongs to the pea and bean family.
Depending on processing, peanut oil can have a wide range of flavors that vary from mild and sweet to strong and nutty.
There are several different types of peanut oil. Each one is made using different techniques:
- Refined peanut oil: This type is refined, bleached and deodorized, which removes the allergenic parts of the oil. It is typically safe for those with peanut allergies. It is commonly used by restaurants to fry foods like chicken and french fries.
- Cold-pressed peanut oil: In this method, peanuts are crushed to force out the oil. This low-heat process retains much of the natural peanut flavor and more nutrients than refining does.
- Gourmet peanut oil: Considered a specialty oil, this type is unrefined and usually roasted, giving the oil a deeper, more intense flavor than refined oil. It is used to give a strong, nutty flavor to dishes like stir-fries.
- Peanut oil blends: Peanut oil is often blended with a similar tasting but less expensive oil like soybean oil. This type is more affordable for consumers and is usually sold in bulk for frying foods.
It is widely used around the world but is most common in Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian cooking, and became more popular in the United States during World War II when other oils were scarce due to food shortages.
It has a high smoke point of 437℉ (225℃) and is commonly used to fry foods.
Peanut oil is a popular vegetable oil commonly used around the world. This oil has a high smoke point, making it a popular choice for frying foods.
What is the nutrient composition of it ?
Here is the nutritional breakdown for one tablespoon of peanut oil
- Calories: 119
- Fat: 14 grams
- Saturated fat: 2.3 grams
- Monounsaturated fat: 6.2 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 4.3 grams
- Vitamin E: 11% of the RDI
- Phytosterols: 27.9 mg
The fatty acid breakdown of peanut oil is 20% saturated fat, 50% monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and 30% polyunsaturated fat (PUFA).
The main type of monounsaturated fat found in peanut oil is called oleic acid, or omega-9. It also contains high amounts of linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid, and smaller amounts of palmitic acid, a saturated fat.
The high amount of omega-6 fats that peanut oil contains may not be a good thing. These fats tend to cause inflammation and have been linked to various health problems.
The considerable amount of monounsaturated fat found in this oil makes it a go-to for frying and other methods of high-heat cooking. However, it does contain a good amount of polyunsaturated fat, which is less stable at high temperatures.
On the other hand, peanut oil is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has many health benefits like protecting the body from free radical damage and reducing the risk of heart disease (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
This kind oil is high in monounsaturated fat, making it a popular choice for high-heat cooking. It is a good source of vitamin E, which has many health benefits.
Potential Benefits of Peanut Oil
Peanut oil is a great source of vitamin E.
It has also been linked to some health benefits, including reducing certain risk factors for heart disease and lowering blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Peanut Oil Is High in Vitamin E
Just one tablespoon of peanut oil contains 11% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin E .
Vitamin E is actually the name for a group of fat-soluble compounds that have many important functions in the body.
The main role of vitamin E is to function as an antioxidant, protecting the body from harmful substances called free radicals.
Free radicals can cause damage to cells if their numbers grow too high in the body. They have been linked to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease .
What’s more, vitamin E helps to keep the immune system strong, which protects the body from bacteria and viruses. It is also essential for red blood cell formation, cell signaling and preventing blood clots.
This powerful antioxidant may reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, cataracts and may even prevent age-related mental decline.
In fact, an analysis of eight studies that included 15,021 people found a 17% reduction in the risk of age-related cataract in those with the highest dietary intake of vitamin E compared to those with the lowest intake .
It May Reduce Heart Disease Risk
It is high in both monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) fats, both of which have been researched extensively for their roles in reducing heart disease.
There is good evidence that consuming unsaturated fats can lower certain risk factors associated with heart disease.
For example, high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood have been linked to a greater risk of heart disease. Many studies have shown that replacing saturated fats with MUFAs or PUFAs may reduce both LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels .
A large review by the American Heart Association suggests that reducing saturated fat intake and increasing your monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat intake could lower the risk of heart disease by as much as 30%.
Another review of 15 controlled studies had similar findings, concluding that reducing saturated fats in the diet had no effect on heart disease risk, although replacing some saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat may reduce the risk of heart events.
Yet these benefits were only seen when replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is unclear if adding more of these fats to your diet without changing other dietary components will have a positive effect on heart health.
Additionally, it is important to note that other major studies have shown little or no effect on heart disease risk when reducing saturated fat or replacing it with these other fats.
For example, a recent review of 76 studies including over 750,000 people found no link between saturated fat intake and the risk of heart disease, even for those with the highest intake .