Groundnut Oil Benefits for Health, Skin and Hair
Groundnut oil is very commonly used in India for cooking. Cold pressed groundnut oil offers a slightly nutty flavour with neutral taste. The oil content in groundnut is in the range of 45-55% meaning about 450-550 gm oil can be extracted from 1 kg groundnuts.
In cold pressed method, groundnuts are pressed with force to extract the oil. It is a low heat method, therefore more nutrients are saved along with the flavour of groundnuts. Cold pressed groundnut oil retains several biologically active ingredients which are conducive to human health.
Health Benefits of Groundnut Oil
Groundnut oil is high in unsaturated fatty acids, chiefly mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and low in saturated fatty acids. It is naturally trans- fat-free and cholesterol-free oil.
Cold-pressed groundnut oil has been shown to be good for health. It is rich in essential fatty acids including oleic acid and linoleic acid. Studies have shown that the presence of both these fatty acids is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease development.
The fatty acid combination of groundnut oil, which has both saturated fatty acids (14%) and unsaturated fatty acids (85%), is known as the “heart-friendly” fatty acid combination. Groundnut oil has been seen to be more beneficial for the heart as compared to a low fat diet.
The fatty acid profile of groundnut oil is also helpful in managing blood glucose levels. Several studies have shown that the type of fatty acids found in groundnut oil may improve insulin secretion and help to keep blood sugar levels under control.
Groundnut oil has been shown to provide long term weight maintenance, it also helps to reduce total blood cholesterol (by 11%) and LDL cholesterol levels (by 14%) due to high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids present in it. These benefits are comparable to the benefits provided by olive oil. So, groundnut oil may improve the blood lipid levels without promoting obesity.
Mono-unsaturated fatty acid found in groundnut oil have a stronger satiety value compared to saturated fatty acid and therefore help in appetite control along with weight management. According to a study, groundnut oil consumption over a period of time effects appetite and thus food choices.
Along with these it also contains several biologically active agents such as tocopherols (vitamin E) and phytosterols. Vitamin E has strong antioxidant properties and protects the body’s cells from damage by free radicals (toxic by-products of metabolism). These free radicals damage cells and cause heart disease and cancer.
Certain bioactive compounds found in groundnut oil block the absorption of cholesterol from food, thereby contributing to lowering the risk of heart disease. Groundnut oil is an excellent source of compounds like resveratrol, phenolic acids, flavonoids and phytosterols that block the absorption of cholesterol from diet. These compounds not only possess disease-preventing properties, but also delay aging and promote longevity.
Vitamin E and phytosterols help to retard development of atherosclerosis, reduce the risk of diabetes type 2 and lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Through research it has been found that Vitamin E intake from food exerts a protective effect against neurological degeneration. Through research it has been found that Vitamin E intake from food exerts a protective effect against neurological degeneration. Vitamin E supplementation has no effect on the incidence of Alzheimer’s, while vitamin E along with resveratrol, found in groundnut oil, was shown to be beneficial in Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases of the nerves.
Groundnut oil has a greasy texture and leaves a gloss on the skin. It helps to moisturize the skin and to treat dryness.
Groundnut oil has a special compound in it called lanolin, which helps to retain the water in the skin by forming a protective layer on it. Groundnut oil, therefore, has good moisturizing property.
Fatty acids, found in groundnut oil, such as stearic acid, oleic and linolenic acid act as emollients. Emollients soften the skin and make it more flexible by moisturizing the exposed skin.
Vitamin E and phenols in groundnut oil help to fight aging. Vitamin E boosts cell repair and rejuvenates the skin, making it healthy and look radiant.
Groundnut oil helps to increase hair thickness and growth rate. Groundnut oil helps to moisturize the scalp and helps to prevent dry hair conditions such as dandruff and frizzy hair.
Groundnut oil also helps to revitalise damaged hair and mend split ends.
Groundnut oil contains healthy fats and vitamin E, which decrease loss of moisture from hair. It makes the hair more hydrated, thicker and healthier.
Cooking with groundnut oil
Groundnut oil is commonly used in baking, sautéing, stir-frying, and other forms of cooking, where high temperatures are not used for cooking. Groundnut oil tastes delicious in salads, chutneys and marinades
- People who are allergic to groundnuts must use its oil for cooking with caution. Cold pressed oils may cause symptoms in people allergic to groundnuts, as they retain many natural compounds.
- People sensitive to groundnuts, upon oral consumption, could also be at risk upon its use on skin and hair. But if groundnut protein content is kept below 0.5 parts per million in the oil extracted, it may be safe for use in skin and hair-care products.
- People with oily hair and skin must test groundnut oil before use and it may increase oil production.
- People prone to acne on the scalp and face must also use groundnut oil with caution.
Ms Sunita Roy Chowdhury, Senior Nutritionist, Dietician and Nutrition Educator
Healthynudgez and Guiding Stars Open Learning Academy,
Under the banner of SS Guiding Stars Pvt. Ltd.
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