Peanut oil, also called groundnut or arachis oil, is popular for its mild flavor and high smoke point. Although it has health benefits, there are risks associated with consuming large quantities.

Made from peanuts, this oil has a nutty flavor and is frequently used for frying food.

It is high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights free radicals and supports the immune system. However, it also contains large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids. When consumed in excess, they may be harmful.

Read more to learn about peanut oil’s nutritional profile, benefits, risks, and allergy considerations.

Peanut oil, also called groundnut oil or arachis oil, is a cooking oil derived from peanuts. It usually has a mild, nutty flavor. Its high smoke point of 444.92°F (229.4°C) makes it a popular choice for frying and baking food.

Nearly two-thirds of the world’s peanut crop is used to make peanut oil. Most of the peanut supply comes from China, India, and Nigeria.

There are several different types of peanut oil, and they are differentiated by how they are produced.

Refined peanut oil

This is the most common type of peanut oil. It is widely available, relatively affordable, and mild in flavor. Often, it is used in salad dressings, pastries, shortening, and other food products.

Because it is processed, experts agree this type of peanut oil is usually safe for people with peanut allergies. However, people with peanut allergies should ask a doctor about whether or not they should avoid peanut oil.

Cold-pressed peanut oil

Cold-pressed peanut oil is made by drying the shelled peanuts at a low temperature and extracting the oil. Keeping the oil at a low temperature preserves some of the nutrients, making this a popular choice among people choosing to use peanut oil in salads, spreads, and cold dishes.

It has a slightly stronger flavor and fragrance than refined peanut oil.

Roasted peanut oil

Gourmet peanut oils are made by roasting peanuts before oil extraction. This gives the oil a stronger, nuttier flavor.

Peanut oil blends

Peanut oil is also available blended with other vegetable oils. These blends can have unique flavors or be lower in price.

Peanut oil is high in monounsaturated fats and omega-6 fatty acids. Its nutritional information is:

Peanut oil has been associated with several health benefits. Some research has indicated it may lead to better heart health in people with diabetes.

Additionally, it is an excellent source of vitamin E. This antioxidant supports the immune system, protects the body from free radicals, and keeps blood cells healthy.

However, peanut oil has large quantities of omega-6 fatty acids. While these acids are important to health, they are plentiful in the standard American diet.

A 2016 review article said that consuming too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 fatty acids increased the risk of obesity.

The study suggested that while early humans ate equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, giving them a good balance in their diets, the balance has skewed over time. Now, they are more likely to consume up to twenty times as much omega-6 as omega-3 fatty acids.

Although this does not make peanut oil inherently unhealthy, it is something to be aware of.

Research shows that peanut oil is linked to some potential health benefits.

Cardiovascular disease

Peanut oil has been linked to heart health. It is high in phytosterols, a naturally occurring compound found in plants. They help block the absorption of cholesterol in the digestive system and reduce the risk of heart disease.

A 2020 systematic review found that peanut oil increased levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This is the “good” cholesterol that helps to remove the “bad” cholesterol from a person’s bloodstream.

Diabetes

The monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats found in peanut oil may help to control blood sugar in people with diabetes.

A 2016 systematic review of 102 clinical trials found that replacing just 5% of a person’s saturated fat intake with polyunsaturated fats led to a significant reduction in blood sugar levels. Peanut oil is a good source of polyunsaturated fats and is relatively low in saturated fat.

Consuming too much peanut oil may increase the risk of having excess omega-6 fatty acids in a person’s diet. Some studies in mice have shown a link between excess omega-6 consumption and progressive weight gain.

However, it is important to note that consuming anything in excess can cause weight gain. Consuming nutritious and nourishing foods in moderation is a good way to eat a healthful diet.

Additionally, the polyunsaturated fats in peanut oil make it susceptible to oxidation. This can cause an unpleasant aroma, loss of flavor, and decreased shelf life.

More importantly, oxidation can increase free radicals, causing oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress has been associated with several health conditions, including:

Nut allergies are one of the most common food allergies. Generally, people with nut allergies should avoid peanut products.

However, the allergen status of peanut oil depends on the type of oil. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology states that while highly refined peanut oil may be safely eaten by people with a peanut allergy, the same cannot be said for cold-pressed or gourmet peanut oils.

Food Allergy Research & Education backs this up, confirming that highly refined peanut oil is not an allergen. Most people with peanut allergies can safely eat this kind of peanut oil.

However, both organizations recommend people with a known nut allergy check with a doctor or allergist before consuming any peanut oil or products containing peanut oil.

Peanut oil is a popular cooking oil due to its nutty, mild flavor and high smoke point. It may have several health benefits. It has been linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease, reduced blood sugar in people with diabetes, and reduced tumor growth.

However, it is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which may be harmful when consumed in excess. It is also prone to oxidation.

While health guidelines do not class peanut oil as an allergen, people with peanut allergies should speak to their allergist before consuming peanut oil.

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