Peanut oil is one of the many vegetable oils used for frying foods in the U.S., the U.K., China and other developed countries. Unlike most other vegetable oils, peanut oil is known for its aroma of the peanuts from which it is made. This oil is most commonly used in Chinese stir fry dishes, although some potato chips and other foods are cooked in peanut oil as well.
Peanut oil falls under the category of monounsaturated fats, which are considered "good fats" according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Monounsaturated fats can help reduce cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. Dutch researchers conducted a study in which participants consumed monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of carbohydrates. The participants experienced decreases in low density lipoprotein or LDL, cholesterol carriers that clog and harden arteries. They also experienced increases in high density lipoprotein or HDL, which scavenges and removes LDL particles from the bloodstream and cell walls.
A report authored by Evros K. Vassiliou, Department of Biological Sciences at Kean University, states that the oleic acid found in peanut oil reduces the effect of insulin inhibitors in the body. The report concludes that a diet rich in oleic acid can help Type 2 diabetes patients maintain proper insulin levels. This may allow some diabetes patients to become less dependent on medication.
While some people with peanut allergies can tolerate peanut oil, others exhibit the same allergic reactions to the oil as they would to whole peanuts, according to the Allergic Child website. Those with peanut allergies typically cannot tolerate cold-pressed, pure peanut oil. An allergic reaction to peanut oil can be very severe, and usually involves breathing problems or several reactions at once in various areas of the body. Contact with or consumption of peanut oil can result in respiratory distress, swelling and even death.