Sweet, and flavorful peanut oil is organic edible oil obtained from pressing peanut kernels. Peanuts are believed to be originating in Central American region from where they spread to other parts of the world by Spanish explorers. Today, peanuts are widely cultivated as important oil seeds and a prime commercial crop in China, India, African nations, and the United States of America.
|Peanut oil. Courtesy: Indiamart|
Peanut plant is a low growing, annual plant belonging to the family of Fabaceae (Leguminosae) of the genus: Arachis, and botanically named as Arachis hypogaea. Some of the common names are groundnut, earthnut, goober, pinder, and ground pea. In addition to being pressed for oil, peanut kernels are eaten fresh or roasted and used in cooking and confectionery as well.
Cold pressed peanut oil has deep yellow color with a pleasant nutty aroma and sweet taste. Refined oil features light-yellow and neutral taste. However, refining makes it virtually devoid of impurities and allergens. Its specific gravity @ 25 °C is 912-0.920, Iodine value-84–100, and saponification value-185–195.
Peanut oil is high in energy; 100 g oil provides 884 calories.
It is one of the cooking oils with a high smoke point; 450 °F which allows in setting oil at higher temperatures while deep-frying food items.
Peanut oil composes a very good lipid profile. It has saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (SFA: MUFA: PUFA= 18: 49: 33) fats in healthy proportions.
It is one of the stable cooking oils which has a long shelf life.
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 ß-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 one of high calorie foods. Its calorie value comes from fatty acids. Nonetheless, the oil is especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) like oleic acid (18:1) that helps 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 through altering at molecular mechanisms in the 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 antioxidant vitamin E. 100 g fresh oil has 15.69 mg of α-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 mucosa 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 where it can be heated to a higher temperatures (smoke point -450 °F). This results in lower oil retention in the fried foods.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||100 g||500%|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g||0%|
|Pantothenic acid||0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin E||15.69 mg||105%|
|Vitamin K||0.7 µg||0.5%|
Peanut oil is available in the markets year around. In the stores, different forms (types) of oil displayed for sale, labeld as cold-pressed, roast-pressed, refined, double-refined, etc. Oftentimes; the oil may be blended with other cheap vegetable oils like cottonseed oil. Buy fresh oil from an authentic sources.
Pure peanut oil is amber yellow and has a sweet nutty flavor. Refined oil is very light in color and devoid of impurities and allergens. Avoid off-smelling, old stocks as the oil might have turned rancid.
Shelf life of peanut oil is about six months under ordinary conditions. When preserved in an airtight container in cool, dry, dark and moisture-free environments its quality may remain good for up to nine months. Its shelf may be extended for more than 12 months with the addition of antioxidants like vitamin E.
Peanut oil is another healthy source of edible cooking oil like soy or olive oils. It is widely used for cooking purposes for its aromatic flavor, especially in many South-east and South Asian countries. It has a pleasant taste suitable for addition to dressing, frying, and sautéing. The oil is also used in the manufacture of margarines and salad dressing.
Peanut oil allergy is a type of hypersensitivity response in some people to food substances prepared with using this oil. The reactions may include symptoms like vomiting, pain abdomen, swelling of lips and throat leading to breathing difficulty, chest congestion, and death. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid any food preparations that contain peanut products in these individuals.
Research, however, suggests that highly refined peanut oil, which has had all the allergic-proteins and impurities removed, does not cause this hypersensitive-response; even in severely allergic persons. (Medical Disclaimer).
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