Is Peanut Oil Healthy?
With so many cooking oils available on the market, it’s hard to know which ones provide the most benefits for your health.
Peanut oil is a popular oil that is commonly used in cooking, especially for frying food.
While peanut oil may have some health benefits, it also has some major drawbacks.
This article takes a detailed look at peanut oil to determine whether it is a healthy or unhealthy option.
What is peanut oil?
Peanut oil, also known as peanut oil or andrei oil, is a vegetable oil, made from the edible seeds of the peanut plant.
Although the plant flourishes above ground, the seeds or peanuts actually grow underground. This is the reason why peanuts are also known as peanuts.
Peanuts are often grouped with tree nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, but they are actually a type of legume that belongs to the pea and bean family.
Depending on the making process, peanut oil can have a wide range of flavors, ranging from mild and sweet to strong and nutty.
There are different types of peanut oil. Each one is made using different techniques:
Refined peanut oil: This type of oil is refined, bleached, and deodorized, which removes the allergenic parts of the oil. It is generally safe for people with peanut allergies. It is commonly used by restaurants to fry foods such as chicken and French fries.
Cold Pressed Peanut Oil: In this method, the peanuts are crushed to expel the oil. This low temperature process retains much of the natural flavor and nutrients of the peanut compared to refined oil.
Gourmet Peanut Oil – Considered a specialty oil, this type is unrefined and is typically roasted, giving the oil a more intense and deeper flavor than refined oil. It is used to give a strong and particular nutty flavor to dishes such as stir-frys (stir fry).
Peanut Oil Blends: Peanut oil is often mixed with a similar tasting but less expensive oil, such as soybean oil. This type of peanut oil is more accessible to consumers and is generally sold in bulk for deep frying.
Peanut oil is generally used around the world, but it is most common in Chinese, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cuisine. It became more popular in the United States during World War II when other oils were lacking due to food shortages.
It has a high smoke point of 437 ‚Ñâ (225‚ ÑÉ) and is commonly used for frying foods.
Summary: Peanut oil is a popular vegetable oil commonly used around the world. This oil has a high smoke point, making it a good option for frying food.
Below is the nutritional breakdown for a tablespoon of peanut oil:
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
Decomposition fatty acid peanut oil is 20% saturated fat, 50% monounsaturated fat (MUFA by its acronym, M ono u nsaturated Fa t ) and 30% of polyunsaturated fat.
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 small amounts of palmitic acid, a saturated fat.
The large amount of omega-6 fats in peanut oil may not be a plus. 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 ideal for frying and other high-temperature cooking methods.
However, it also contains a considerable amount of polyunsaturated fat, which is less stable at high temperatures.
On the other hand, peanut oil also known as groundnut oil is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has many health benefits, such as protecting the body from free radical damage and reducing the risk of heart disease.
Summary: Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fat, making it an ideal choice for high-heat cooking. Also, it is a good source of vitamin E, which has many health benefits.
Not all fats are bad, in fact you can go for these 5 foods with healthy fats .
Potential benefits of peanut oil
1. 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.
2. 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 of a group of fat-soluble compounds that have many important functions in the body.
The main role of vitamin E is to act as an antioxidant , protecting the body from harmful substances called free radicals.
Free radicals can cause damage to cells if their number increases too much in the body. They have been linked to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
Also, vitamin E helps keep the immune system strong, which protects the body from bacteria and viruses. It is also essential for the formation of red blood cells, cell signaling and the prevention of blood clots.
This powerful antioxidant can reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, cataracts, and can 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 cataracts in those with the highest dietary intake of vitamin E, compared to those with the lowest intake.
3. May reduce the risk of heart disease
Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, both of which have been extensively researched as they play a role in reducing heart disease.
There is promising evidence that consuming unsaturated fats can lower certain risk factors associated with heart disease.
For example, high levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides in the blood have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Many studies have shown that replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids can lower both LDL or “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.
A large review from the American Heart Association suggests that reducing your intake of saturated fat and increasing your intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats could reduce your risk of heart disease by as much as 30%.
However, these benefits were only seen when replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. It is not clear whether adding more of these fats to your diet without changing any other ingredient could have a positive effect on your heart health.
Additionally, it is important to note that other large studies have shown little or no effect on heart disease risk by reducing saturated fat or replacing it with these other fats.
For example, a recent review of 76 studies that included more than 750,000 people found no link between saturated fat intake and risk of heart disease, even for those with the highest intake of saturated fat.
Another review of 15 controlled studies had similar results, concluding that reducing saturated fats in the diet had no effect on the risk of heart disease, although replacing some saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats may reduce the risk of cardiac events.
While peanut oil has a good amount of polyunsaturated fats, there are many other nutritional options that are higher in these types of fats such as walnuts , sunflower seeds, and flax seeds .
If you want to know more about “healthy fats” don’t miss our article: Surprise: saturated fats are healthy (scientifically confirmed) .
4. Peanut oil can improve insulin sensitivity
Studies have shown that monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
Consuming any fat with carbohydrates helps decrease the absorption of sugars in the digestive tract, which causes the level of sugar in the blood to rise more slowly. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, in particular, may play a bigger role in controlling blood sugar.
In a review of 102 clinical studies involving 4,220 adults, researchers found that replacing just 5% of saturated fat intake with polyunsaturated fat led to a significant reduction in blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin levels ( HbA1c), a marker for long-term control of blood sugar.
Furthermore, the replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat significantly improved insulin secretion in these people. Insulin helps cells absorb glucose and keeps blood sugar from getting too high.
Animal studies also suggest that peanut oil improves blood sugar control.
One study in diabetic mice fed peanut oil experienced significant reductions in blood sugar and glycosylated hemoglobin levels. In another study, diabetic mice given diets fortified with peanut oil had significant reductions in blood sugar levels.
There are several ways to lower blood sugar, discover: How to lower blood sugar in 8 steps (scientifically proven) .
Summary: Peanut oil can reduce risk factors for heart disease. It can also help improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. It is also a great source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radical damage.
5. Potential health risks
Although there are several evidence-based benefits to consuming peanut oil, it is also important to mention the potential drawbacks.
Peanut oil is high in Omega-6 fats
Omega-6 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat. They are an essential fatty acid, which means that you must obtain them through your diet because your body cannot synthesize them.
Along with the more popular omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids play a critical role in proper growth and development, as well as normal brain function.
While omega-3s help fight inflammation in the body that can lead to a number of chronic diseases, omega-6s tend to be more pro-inflammatory.
Although these two essential fatty acids are crucial for health, modern diets tend to be too high in omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, the typical American diet can contain 14 to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
In recommended ranges for optimal health, experts suggest that the ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 should be closer to 1: 1 or 4: 1 at its best. Omega-6 intake has skyrocketed in women. past decades, along with rates of inflammatory diseases such as: heart disease, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer.
What’s more, multiple studies link a high intake of omega-6 fats with an increased risk of breast cancer in women.
The evidence supporting the relationship between heavy consumption of these pro-inflammatory fats and certain diseases is overwhelming, although it should be noted that research is still ongoing.
Peanut oil is very rich in omega-6s and lacks omega-3s. To eat a more balanced ratio of these essential fatty acids, you should keep your intake of omega-6-rich oils, such as peanut oil, in check.
6. Peanut oil can be prone to oxidation
Oxidation is a reaction between a substance and oxygen that causes the formation of free radicals and other harmful compounds. This process commonly occurs in unsaturated fats, while saturated fats are more resistant to oxidation.
Polyunsaturated fats are the most susceptible to oxidation due to their higher amount of unstable double bonds.
Simply heating or exposing these fats to air, sunlight, or moisture is enough for this undesirable process to occur.
The large amount of polyunsaturated fats in peanut oil, coupled with its common use as an oil at high temperatures, makes it more prone to oxidation.
The free radicals that are created when peanut oil oxidizes, these radicals can cause damage to the body. These damages can cause damage to health such as: premature aging, certain cancers and heart disease.
There are other more stable oils and fats available on the market for high temperature cooking.
Those types of oils are much more resistant to oxidation than peanut oil. Although peanut oil has a high smoke point, it may not be the best option.
Summary: Peanut oil is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, which are characterized by being pro-inflammatory in abundant amounts. Western diets tend to be too high in these fats, which can lead to certain diseases. This oil can also be prone to oxidation, making it an unsafe choice as a cooking oil.
Peanut oil is a popular oil used throughout the world.
It is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which can help reduce risk factors for heart disease. It can also help improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar in people with diabetes.
However, while this oil may have some health benefits, it also has some disadvantages.
It is very rich in omega-6 fatty acids which tend to be pro-inflammatory in large amounts, and it is prone to oxidation, which can cause certain diseases.
With so many other healthy fat options on the market, it would be wise to choose an oil with more benefits and fewer potential health risks.
Some good choices include olive oil extra virgin , coconut oil or avocado oil.