Peanut Oil: Are There Health Benefits?

Made from peanut plant seeds, peanut oil — also known as groundnut oil — is commonly used in baking, sautéing, frying, and other forms of cooking.

While peanut oil offers a slightly nutty flavor, it’s generally a good, neutral option to use for most recipes. It has a high smoke point (around 450°F), meaning it can withstand high temperatures without burning.

Peanut oil is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that offers many protective benefits against chronic disease. This, along with its healthy fat content, means peanut oil can be a great addition to your diet — as long as you consume it in moderation.

Nutrition Information

One serving (1 tablespoon) of peanut oil contains:

  • Calories: 119
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Peanut oil also contains nutrients like:

Potential Health Benefits of Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is high in antioxidants and good fats that can keep your heart healthy and blood sugar levels down.

Using this oil for cooking can provide potential health benefits including:

Heart Health

With high levels of vitamin E and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (unsaturated “good fats”), peanut oil could be good for the heart. Studies have shown that replacing saturated fats with these types of unsaturated fats contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.

Other studies have found that vitamin E protects the body from free radicals, which can damage cells and cause some cancers and heart disease.

Better Diabetes Control

Some studies have linked unsaturated fats to improved blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. Consuming polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats can also improve insulin secretion, which helps keep blood sugar levels low.

Lower Cholesterol

The monounsaturated fats in peanut oil can also help you lower your LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as the “bad” cholesterol. High LDL can clog or block arteries, leading to heart disease and stroke.

Potential Risks of Peanut Oil

While peanut oil comes with a number of health benefits, there are a few notable downsides.

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If you have allergies or consume a large amount of other omega-6 fats, you’ll want to be aware of these potential health risks:

Peanut Allergies

Allergies to peanuts are one of the most common in children. A peanut allergy can lead to severe attacks that could lead to anaphylaxis and even death.

However, it’s not clear whether peanut oil will cause the same severe allergic reaction. Refined peanut oil may be safer, while crude, cold-pressed, or expelled varieties could cause symptoms if you have a peanut allergy.

Heart Disease

The omega-6 fatty acids in peanut oil can be harmful if your diet consists of too much of this type of fat. Many Americans already consume a diet high in omega-6 fats, which are found in vegetable oils, fast food, and many packaged products.

Studies have found links between omega-6 fats and an increased risk of heart disease. However, consuming peanut oil in moderation is generally considered safe.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 22, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Does peanut oil cause allergic reactions?”

Antioxidants in Food: “Peanut Oil.”

BMJ: “Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis.”

Circulation: “Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Oil, peanut, salad or cooking.”

International Journal of Biomedical Science: “Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health.”

Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism: “Health Implication of High Dietary Omega-6 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Low LDL and stroke: A closer look.”

Mayo Clinic: “Peanut allergy.”

MedlinePlus: “Facts about monounsaturated fats.”

Nutrition & Metabolism: “Control of blood glucose in type 2 diabetes without weight loss by modification of diet composition.”

PLOS Medicine: “Effects of Saturated Fat, Polyunsaturated Fat, Monounsaturated Fat, and Carbohydrate on Glucose-Insulin Homeostasis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomised Controlled Feeding Trials.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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