The health benefits of peanut oil include skin care, lower cholesterol levels, improved heart health and nervous system. It also prevents cancer, boosts cognitive function, strengthens the immune system, and lowers blood pressure.
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What is Peanut Oil?
Peanut oil, also known by other names such as groundnut oil and arachis oil, is a type of vegetable oil commonly used in cooking that is derived from peanuts. It comes in a number of varieties, including refined, unrefined, roasted, and cold-pressed, which have slight differences in their nutritional value and health benefits. Generally, people use peanut oil in their cooking for the interesting flavor that it gives, particularly the roasted variety, as well as the fact that it is healthier than many types of oil.
Peanut oil is most commonly used in Asian cultures, including that of China and Southeast Asian nations like Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.
Most of the health benefits of peanut oil come from its diverse types of fatty acids, such as oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, and linoleic acid, among others. While unbalanced levels of fatty acids can be dangerous for your health, peanut oil has a very safe balance that can boost your health in a variety of ways, in addition to the health benefits from the other vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds found in peanuts.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the impressive health benefits of this delicious cooking oil.
Controls Cholesterol Levels
Peanut oil is cholesterol free, which is one of the major factors contributing to complicated heart conditions such as atherosclerosis. Since cooking oil is used in many different ways, eliminating this dangerous cholesterol from your body can help prevent a variety of health complications. Furthermore, not only does peanut oil lack cholesterol, it can reduce your current levels of cholesterol due to the presence of plant sterols. These phytosterols actually compete for cholesterol absorption in the stomach and gut, which can lower your cholesterol levels by 10-15%!
Boosts Heart Health
Peanut oil also contains monounsaturated fatty acids, like oleic acid, which increase the levels of “good cholesterol”, called HDL, in the blood. This beneficial cholesterol actually helps to scrape off and reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower your risk of developing coronary heart diseases and strokes.
Peanut oil has high levels of polyphenol antioxidants, including resveratrol. This compound works to eliminate free radicals, which are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism that cause a huge range of diseases like cancer. Studies have shown that switching to a vegetable oil high in resveratrol, like peanut oil, can decrease your chances of developing cancer, thanks to its antioxidant properties.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Resveratrol has another important function in the body. It interacts with various hormones that affect blood vessels, like angiotensin, which constricts vessels and arteries. By neutralizing the effects of that hormone, resveratrol helps decrease blood pressure, which reduces stress on the cardiovascular system.
Prevents Cognitive Disorders
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most widespread and tragic conditions that affect people as they get older, but resveratrol, a multi-functional antioxidant, has also been shown to eliminate or slow the onset of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Free radicals are responsible for the breakdown of neural pathways in the brain, so antioxidants like resveratrol can slow or stop that process very effectively.
Peanut oil, like many vegetable oils, is quite rich in vitamin E, which is an essential vitamin for human beings. It is particularly important for the maintenance and health of the skin, protecting it from the effects of free radicals that cause wrinkles, blemishes, and other signs of premature aging. The vitamin E in peanut oil keeps your skin looking young and healthy as you get older.
Boosts Immune System
A final benefit of the impressive levels of resveratrol in peanut oil is the improvement of your immune system. Viral and fungal infections are particularly susceptible to this antioxidant, so adding peanut oil to your diet can keep you healthy in yet another way, by stimulating your white blood cell production to fend off any foreign agents in your body.
Word of Caution: Although the types of fatty acids in peanut oil are generally beneficial, they are only healthy in moderate amounts. Remember, they are still technically fats, and are, therefore, high in calories. Don’t go overboard when cooking with peanut oil, as it can lead to weight gain. Obesity has a whole range of associated health risks, so be careful and enjoy your meals responsibly!