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Peanut Oil and Cholesterol

By Jake Wayne

If you have moderately high cholesterol, or want to keep your cholesterol low or normal, dietary control is a less expensive alternative to medication and also has fewer side effects. Using vegetable-based cooking oils can help your body reduce your cholesterol count. Peanut oil is one option for vegetable oil cooking.

Cholesterol Basics

There are three kinds of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are bad for your circulatory health, contributing to causes of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. They are the kinds of cholesterol your doctor is talking about when he's worried that your count may be too high. A third kind of cholesterol, HDL, actually cleans your bloodstream of LDL and triglycerides and promotes circulatory health.

Controlling Cholesterol

You control your cholesterol counts by reducing your body's production of LDL and triglyceride while increasing its production of HDL. Your body produces LDL in response to your intake of saturated fats, and forms triglycerides in response to spikes in your blood sugar. HDL is produced in response to foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Peanut Oil Basics

Peanut oil is made, perhaps unsurprisingly, by pressing the naturally occurring oils out of peanuts the same way olive oil is squeezed out of olives. The USDA reports that a tablespoon of peanut oil contains about 2.3 g of saturated fat and 10.5 g of unsaturated fat. It contains none of the sugars and other carbohydrates most commonly responsible for the production of triglycerides.

Bottom Line

Peanut oil contains saturated fat, but at a rate of just 1 gram of saturated fat for nearly 5 grams of unsaturated fats. This means that, although it does stimulate your body to produce harmful LDL cholesterol, it stimulates much more production of unsaturated fats. It's much better than butter or other animal oils for cholesterol, but not quite as good as oils that contain even fewer saturated fats, such as canola oil.

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