How healthy is peanut oil ?
Health benefits of peanut oil:
Wonderfully pleasant, sweet-flavored peanut oil is low in saturated fats, free from cholesterol, contains essential fatty acid ( linoleic acid (omega-6)) making it as one of the healthiest cooking oils.
Being a vegetable oil, it is a good source of plant sterols, especially β-sitosterol. The FDA has approved the following claim for phytosterols: "Foods containing at least 0.4 gram per serving of plant sterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 0.8 gram, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." Phyto-sterols competitively inhibit cholesterol absorption in the gut and thereby can reduce cholesterol levels by 10% to 15%.
Peanut oil is high in calories. Its high-calorie value is because of fatty acids. Nonetheless, the oil is especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid (18:1) that helps to lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increases HDL or "good cholesterol" in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is enriched with monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
Peanut oil contains resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant, which has been found to have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease, and viral/fungal infections.
Studies suggests that resveratrol cut stroke risk by alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels (reducing susceptibility to vascular damage through decreased activity of angiotensin, a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) and by increasing production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
Peanut oil contains valuable amounts of anti-oxidant vitamin E. 100 g fresh oil has 15.69 mg of alpha-tocopherol and 15.91 mg of gamma-tocopherol. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
In addition to being a vegetable source, peanut oil is also an ideal choice for deep-frying because it can be heated to a higher temperature (smoke point -450 °F). This results in lower oil retention in the fried foods.
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