For The Health Conscious

10/28/2013 5:17:25 PM
written By :   Chitralekha Print
Last modified on Monday, January 20, 20142:43 PM

Low in saturated fats, free from cholesterol and bestowed with linoleic acid (omega-6), an essential fatty acid, all these make peanut oil a healthy cooking option. The list of benefits is long enough to make you sit up and take notice. Here they are, in a nutshell!

Rich source of plant sterols
Being a vegetable oil, peanut oil is a rich source of plant sterols, especially β-sitosterol. Not only can phytosterols reduce cholesterol absorption in the stomach but they can also reduce cholesterol levels by 10 to 15%.

Protective gear
The polyphenol antioxidant, resveratrol, in peanut oil protects against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease and viral/fungal infections. It also brings down the risk of strokes by changing the molecular mechanism in blood vessels and by increasing production of the vasodilator, nitric oxide.

Out with the 'bad'
Though high in calorie content because of the fats, peanut oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) such as oleic acid (18:1). This helps reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or "bad cholesterol" and increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or "good cholesterol" in the blood.

Vying for vitamins
Peanut oil has valuable amounts of vitamin E, a lipid-soluble antioxidant needed to maintain the cell membrane of mucous membranes and the skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen free radicals.

Naturally healthy
Naturally trans fat-free and cholesterol-free, peanut oil is high in unsaturated fats and is therefore a healthy cooking medium.
Good lipid profile
It has saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in healthy proportions (SFA: MUFA: PUFA = 18:49:33).

Versatile choice
With a high smoke point of 450 °F, it is the ideal choice for deep frying. It is the answer to the Indian penchant for deep-fried foods such as samosas, bajji, bonda, poori, vada, katchori and so on. This oil is equally versatile when it comes to cooking non- vegetarian dishes.

Energy high
A 100 grams of peanut oil provides 884 calories.

Preventive best
It averts digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, irregular bowel movements and stomach ulcers.

Head to toe
Peanut oil is also used for relief in cases of arthritis and joint pain, scaling of the scalp, dry skin, eczema and ichthyosis (a non-inflammatory skin disorder that causes scaling).

Cause for cheer
Regular use improves the insulin level and therefore is good news for diabetics. Studies have shown that the oil can bring down blood glucose levels.

Long shelf life
Bestowed with a long shelf life, its quality remains good for up to nine months if stored in airtight containers in cool, dry environments. With the addition of vitamin E, the shelf life can be increased to a year and more.

Salad days
Peanut oil is used to make margarines, mayonnaise and salad dressings because of its ability to hold solids in suspension for longer periods.

Last modified on Monday, January 20, 20142:43 PM

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