Peanut oil, made by pressing peanuts, has a rich flavor, several health benefits, as well as some negative side effects. You can drizzle it on your salad at lunch or use it as a cooking oil to add flare to your chicken entree. Since peanut oil is high in overall calories and fat, you should limit its use in your everyday diet.
Following a strict diet plan to lose weight requires you to count every calorie you consume. Peanut oil has 45 calories per 1 tsp. serving, which can add up quickly if you don't measure your servings. If you're using it for cooking or drizzling it on your plate, measure it ahead of time to avoid consuming too many calories, decreasing your risk of weight gain. Peanut oil has a strong flavor, so you probably won't need to use much of it.
Effects of Fat
All of the calories in peanut oil come from fat, but the fats are good heart-healthy fats. Peanut oil is full of monounsaturated fat, which has several benefits when you consume it in place of "bad" trans and saturated fats. Monounsaturated fats, or MUFAs, can help improve your blood cholesterol, thus decreasing your risk of heart disease, explains the Mayo Clinic. This good fat may also help stabilize your blood sugar levels, especially important if you are diabetic.
One of the negative effects of peanut oil is that peanuts are a highly allergenic food. Having a peanut allergy can cause a rash, swelling in your throat and difficulty breathing, just by being exposed to the smallest amount. If you have a peanut allergy, ensure that the food you eat when you order out is not cooked in peanut oil. Refined peanut oil may not affect your peanut allergy since the highly allergenic proteins are removed during processing, the Peanut Institute reports. Check with your physician before using peanut oil if you have a peanut allergy.
Peanut oil is rich in vitamin E, which acts like a powerful antioxidant in your body. During normal metabolism or exposure to carcinogens through smoke, free radicals form in your system. Free radicals travel in your blood and scavenge through your body, reacting with healthy cells. This leads to increased oxidative stress, upping your risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, dementia, diabetes and heart disease. Vitamin E from peanut oil helps ward off free radicals before they cause damage, decreasing your risk of chronic illness.
- The Peanut Institute: Peanut Oil
- MayoClinic.com; Dietary Fats: Know Which Types to Choose; February 2011
- "Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes"; American Dietetic Association; 2008
- Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University; Vitamin E; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; November 2004