Made from the seeds of the groundnut plant, peanut oil, or groundnut oil as it is commonly referred to is a favourite cooking medium in several parts of India.
The seeds of the legume are also referred to as Monkey Nuts because the British used to refer to raw peanuts in their unbroken shells as monkey nuts. The origin of the term is derived from the fact that visitors to the zoos in the UK fed zoo monkeys peanuts in their shells and watched them break the shells to get to the nuts.
The plant grows in a special way. Once the flowers are fertilised, the stem grows into the ground after which pods form in which the groundnuts grow.Hence the term Groundnut.
After harvesting, there are five steps that are followed to extract oil from the groundnuts. These include Cleaning, Dehulling, Cooking or Cold pressing, Pressing and Filtering the oil before it is packaged and shipped across geographies.
Health benefits of Groundnut oil
Used for seasoning, sauteing, frying and baking, the nutty flavour of the oil not only lends itself to several regional cuisines, but also has health benefits that keep certain diseases at bay.
- Groundnut oil is rich in Vitamin E,which is an antioxidant – a substance that protects our cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals play a part in cancer, heart disease stroke and other age-related diseases. Vitamin E also strengthens the hair follicles, reduces the effect of damage caused by chemicals and prevents dandruff.
- Groundnut oil contains zero cholesterol and as a result, does not add any dietary cholesterol to the daily intake of food that is cooked using this medium
Peanut oil is also rich in nutrients such as:
Monosaturated fat – a type of healthy dietary fat found in plant foods. Monosaturated fats are known to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They also help develop and maintain your cells.
Polysaturated fats – a healthy dietary fat found in plant foods and certain nuts and seeds. These fats are good for nerve functions, blood clotting, brain health and muscle strength.
Phytosterols–a supplement that can enhance heart health by reducing cholesterol absorption and thereby reducing cholesterol absorption.
Resveratrol -part of a group of compounds called polyphenols is present in groundnuts. It slows down disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Being an antioxidant, it stops free radicals from breaking down neural pathways in the brain, and stops the progress of the disease.
Omega 6 fatty acids –Omega 6 fatty acids are a type of essential fatty acid (EFA) occur naturally in certain plant foods such as nuts and vegetable oils. These are fats that the body needs but cannot make on its own. As a result, in must be taken by eating foods that have them, or as supplements. Taken in moderation, Omega 6 fatty acids lower LDL cholesterol and boost healthy, protective HDL. High LDL can block arteries, and lead to heart disease and stroke. They help in diabetes control and keeping blood sugar levels balanced by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Groundnut oil can boost the body’s metabolism and play an important role in weight loss. Citation – A study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in an online issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that intake of Groundnut oil had a two times higherlikelihood of reversing metabolic syndrome.
Groundnut oil is also known to help minimize symptoms of ageing such as dark spots, wrinkles, patchy, flaky skin, and skin pigmentation.
Peanut oil controls inflammation and as a result, combats acne. In addition, the oil’s antibacterial properties make it ideal for gut and skin health
For people with arthritis, peanut oil can ease pain, reduce joint inflammation that is associated with it and also strengthen the joints.
With a high smoke point of around 450 degrees Fahrenheit, it can withstand high temperatures without burning. The formation of harmful substances occurs only beyond any oil’s smoking point, which in the case of groundnut oil, takes a long time to reach.
Groundnut oil does not turn rancid and can be stored and reused after filtering.
The bottom line is that groundnut is as healthy as it is tasty. What is more, you can substitute it for butter and other cooking mediums to create a host of recipes of your own.
Disclaimer: If you have nut allergies or consume a large amount of other omega-6 fats,there could be potential health risks.