Peanut Oil

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Peanut Oil health benefits and use. Peanut oil has got such properties which can really surprise anyone. People who study nutrition are often amazed at what peanut oil  can do for a person’ health. Peanut oil is good for the heart, as found in some studies on this oil. Peanut oil is not as popular as olive oil, or almond oil, but it does hold a treasure of nutrition and health benefits. Peanut oil should be your oil of choice for frying and high temperature cooking.

But, doesn’t peanut oil cause danger of allergies ?
Well, peanuts are known to cause allergies in many people. In fact, it is one of the top food allergens all over the world. However, during the processing of peanuts to peanut oil, most of the companies eliminate these allergens. So, there is rare chance that peanut oil can lead to allergic reaction. But, with peanut oil, there is an even more serious health concerns of the Aflatoxins.

Peanut Oil
Peanut Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

These are harmful, carcinogenic species of fungi which are found to occur in poor quality peanuts. Although their concentration is low, in the long run ( like years ) of consumption, these harmful species can take a huge toll.

Source

Peanut oil comes from peanuts. It is also called groundnut oil. Peanuts are actually from the bean family and they are native to Paraguay. However, they are immensely popular the world over. The oil however does not enjoy such widespread popularity. There are various kinds of peanut oils depending on the method of extraction.

  • Cold pressed peanut oil – This form of peanut oil is more nutritious and it contains the fatty acids in their original form. The peanut oil is generally filtered ( refined ), but for internal consumption, one should prefer the unfiltered one, which is difficult to procure.
  • Roasted peanut oil – This comes from roasted peanuts. It has slightly different nutrient composition that the cold pressed oil because heat changes the nature of chemical bonds in the nutrients. This one has got a richer and more smell in it, so it is preferred in massage sessions.
  • Iodized peanut oil – This oil is supplemented with iodine and is used in places where iodized salt is still not available or not produced.

Roasted peanut oil smells much like peanuts, and that is why this oil is more demanded.

Properties

These are the therapeutic properties of peanut oil.

  • Anti-inflammatory – The inflammation lowering effect is useful as topical agent as well as when used internally.
  • Antioxidant – peanut oil is generally stable in high temperature and high humidity. It contains added Vitamin E for more shelf life, as Vitamin E is also an antioxidant.
  • Emollient – moisturizes the skin
  • Solvent – can dissolve many organic compounds and other oils.
  • Occlusive – This is a property which is useful n wound dressings. Peanut oil prevents air and water from going across it, effectively creating a barrier between skin and external agents.
  • Laxative – peanut oil promotes the flow of solid wastes out of the body.
  • Analgesic – mild pain reliever when applied topically.

Uses and Health Benefits

Peanut oil finds many use for personal health because of its properties. But, that is not all. Peanut oil does have many other prominent health benefits, those that impact millions of people.

Peanut Oil For Skin

Peanut oil may be used as massage oil for skin. It is not generally used as a massage oil, but in specific conditions it is highly preferred.
Peanut oil massage is helpful for relieving arthritic pain in joints. It helps in arthritis because it is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. Just take a small amount of peanut oil, warm it over heat and then apply gently all around the joint. Let the oil seep into the skin.

Great For Heart Health

Cooking with peanut oil, and using it over salads can be a good way to boost heart health. According to this study [1], peanut oil reduces the risk of cardiovascular risk. Its healthy fatty acid profile improves the proprotion of HDL cholesterol in total cholesterol. The lipid profile of the person improves over time.  LDL cholesterol ( the bad cholesterol ) reduces in proportion, which is considered healthy.
On the whole, including peanut oil in diet can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Peanut Oil For Weight Loss

It looks counter intuitive, but including peanut oil in diet can boost a person’s chances of meeting weight loss goals. According to this study [2], peanut oil improves satiety of a meal. That means, the person feels fuller and appetite is satisfied better. This helps in managing hunger pangs, which can lead to food cravings. Peanut oil helps a person get better satisfaction from food and not long for snacks. The connection between hunger and peanut oil is weak, but it is there.

Peanut oil boosts blood circulation

A massage done with peanut oil improves the level of prostaglandins in blood. These are actually hormone like secretions that act locally to reduce inflammation. Prostaglandins also promote dilation of blood vessels, thu allowing blood to flow freely in the region of massage. This effect is made use of in relieving conditions like Raynaud’s syndrome.

Peanut Oil For Constipation

Peanut oil acts as a mild laxative when taking singly. This health benefit is more pronounced in the cold pressed oil. A masage to the lower abdomen , lower back and the posterior opening of the alimentary canal relieves constipation quickly.

Peanut Oil For Cooking

The discussion of the best cooking oil is always a matter of debate. Peanut oil is also a good cooking oil, mainly because of two reasons.

  • It is high in unsaturated fats, MUFA and PUFA and low in saturated fats.
  • It has a high smoke point. This property is very important for selecting a cooking oil.

Peanut oil has a smoke point of 225 °C or 437 ° F. This is good even for deep frying. The smoke point is the temperature at which the oil starts smoking. It is an indication that combustion reactions are changing the chemical nature of fats in the oil. Above the smoke point, oils become unhealthy and hydrogenated.
That is why peanut oil is used for recipes which require frying as it withstand high temperatures better than butter and many other oils.

Peanut oil also adds a nutty aroma to food, making it taste and smell better. People feel like to munch the fried dish.

As an Antioxidant

Peanut oil is a mild antioxidant. Its ORAC value ( measure of antioxidant power ) is 106 μ mol TE / 100 gm ( Trolox equivalents ) [4] . This is quite low in comparison to the essential oils, but still useful .Peanut oil helps the body fight free radicals. Another important thing to note is that peanut oil maintains its antioxidant capacity even at high humidity[3].

Scrub Out Blackheads

Often, one can find many remedies for acne or whiteheads. But, what to do for blackheads ? Peanut oil massage on the face helps to scrub out those nasty blackheads. This important use of peanut oil can be made use of.
Take a small amount of peanut oil on your palm. Apply it on the nose and blackhead covered skin. Perform a gentle massage. Now, scrub the face gently with fingernails. Presence of peanut oil lowers friction and prevents redness or inflammation. One can manually squueze out the blackheads then.

Peanut Oil For Hair Health

Peanut oil has traditionally been used to treat scaling of the scalp. It controls scalp psoriasis and eliminates extreme flakiness of the scalp. This is very helpful in curbing excess dandruff and skin conditions like psoriasis which cause severe scaling[5].
Apply peanut oil undiluted directly to the scalp and perform a gentle massage. Rinse the oil with water and do not scrub the skin further.

Peanut oil is also applicable for general hair care. One can use it to remove split ends, make hair softer and glossy. It is also believed that peanut oil improves the protein content of hair , which provides strength to the hair. This statement needs to be evaluated. It implies that massaging peanut oil can strengthen hair from its roots, preventing hair loss.

Peanut Oil Benefits

Side Effects, Safe Dosage And Toxicity

Peanut oil is not safe from criticism. It is speculated that peanut oil can cause allergies because of the allergens found in peanut. However, this study[6] mentions that peanut oil does not lead to allergy in people who are allergic to peanuts.
The allergy to peanuts is not rare. It affects millions of people across the globe. But, the allergens in peanuts are removed during processing stage, except in cold pressed peanut oil. However, people who are allergic to peanuts can avoid this oil, as the allergic reaction is often quite severe. In any cases, avoid the cold pressed peanut oil if you are allergic to peanuts.
There are many substitutes for peanut oil that are equally healthy.

There is no details about the safe dosage of peanut oil. It seems to be safe in moderate dosages. But you need to apply your own jurisdiction in this.

Peanut oil and Aflatoxin toxicity

A more dangerous matter attached to peanuts and its oil which affects everyone is that of Aflatoxins. These are toxins produced by mold species ( Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus ) that reside on peanuts and many other foods. This toxin is highly carcinogenic. Although its concentration in these foods is low, it still has to be verified.
One should not purchase peanut oil from sources where peanuts may be contaminated with this toxin. This said, it is utmost important that peanut oils be checked for this toxin and labeled as safe or free from this.
The harmful effects of Aflatoxin may not be evident quickly, but they can be very damaging in the long run, even potentially leading to cancer.
Peanuts are most common food species on which these toxins are found. Not all peanuts have them.

The risk for any food item to have Aflatoxins depends on the temperature and moisture during cultivation and after harvesting. Few countries monitor this data and ensure that the Aflatoxin concentration in the food items is below the safe limit, that is 1.5 ppb ( parts per billion). So, peanut oil produced from such peanuts actually has very low toxin amount which is deemed harmless.

Nutritional And Medicinal Information

Peanut oil is excellent in terms of nutrition. The macro composition of peanut oil is as follows.
100 gm peanut oil contains –

  • Saturated fat – 17 gm
  • Monounsaturated fat – 46 gm (MUFA)
  • Polyunsaturated fat – 32 gm (PUFA)

Both MUFA and PUFA are great for heart health and cholesterol. This is the nutritional value of peanut oil in detail.

Nutrient Percentage Property
Palmitic Acid  10.0 % Saturated fat
Stearic Acid  2 % Saturated fat
Palmitoleic Acid  0.1% MUFA
Oleic Acid  46.8 % MUFA
Linoleic Acid  33.4 % PUFA
Alpha Linolenic Acid  0.0 % PUFA
Arachidic Acid  1.4 % PUFA
Eicosenoic Acid  traces PUFA
Behenic Acid  2.8 % PUFA
Erucic Acid  traces PUFA
Lignoceric Acid  0.9 % Saturated fat
Gadoleic  Acid 1.3 % MUFA
Vitamin E 100 % Vitamins
Iron traces Minerals
Zinc traces Minerals

USDA National Nutrient Database

Peanut oil has a wide spectrum of fatty acids in all three types of fats – MUFA, PUFA and Saturated.

Some other important medicinal properties of peanut oil.

Nutrient Percentage Property
Density  0.917  g/ml OK for massage oil
Storage temperature  – No specific requirements
Comedogenicity  2 Rated from 0 to 5
ORAC  106 Trolox equivalent Weak antioxidant

A comedogenicity of 2 implies that peanut oil is mildly comedogenic, that is it can block skin pores. Therefore, it should not be used on acne prone skin. However, one can use it to remove blackheads.

Peanut oil is great for health, but one needs to be very knowledgeable in buying this product. It should be free from toxins ( Aflatoxins ) and also free from allergens. Only then , one can make use of this wonderful oil.

References

1. Peanuts, peanut oil, and fat free peanut flour reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors and the development of atherosclerosis in Syrian golden hamsters. Stephens AM, Dean LL, Davis JP, Osborne JA, Sanders TH. NCBI
2. Effects of peanut oil consumption on appetite and food choice. Iyer SS, Boateng LA, Sales RL, Coelho SB, Lokko P, Monteiro JB, Costa NM, Mattes RD. NCBI
3. Antioxidant constituents of peanut oil. A. G. Gopala Krishna, J. V. Prabhakar. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society
4. USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods.
5. Peanut Oil – Webmd
6. Peanut oil is not allergenic to peanut-sensitive individuals. Taylor SL, Busse WW, Sachs MI, Parker JL, Yunginger JW. NCBI
7. Comedogenicity Ratings of Oils – BeneficialBotanicals

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