Best Healthy Cooking Oils in India

1. Introduction: Groundnut Oil and Its Origin

Groundnut oil is an edible vegetable oil that is produced from groundnut seeds. The leguminous groundnut plants are found in several tropical regions. Also known as peanut oil or Arachis oil, it is available in different forms-refined, cold-pressed and roasted- depending on how it is extracted. As raw groundnut oil is not safe for direct consumption for various health and safety reasons, it needs to be purified. Refined oils are totally purified through processes that remove toxic elements, allergens and suspended particles, flavour components, colour and odour.

The cold pressed oils are nutritionally superior, as they retain the vitamins and minerals, but it needs to be extracted through filtration processes following high quality standards or toxic compounds could remain. The roasted groundnut oils are used for flavouring, rather than cooking.

This mild-tasting vegetable oil is used in various Indian, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and South Asian cuisines. India is among the leading peanut oil producers, and the oil is consumed across the country.

Origin of Groundnut Oil

Groundnuts are known to be a native of South America, and many sources link it to Brazil, but extraction of oil from groundnut seeds is not known to be practiced until the Europeans discovered it. It is uncertain how groundnuts found a place in India. While some sources mention that groundnuts might have come to India through China, the botanical evidence traces it to Africa, and some reports say it might have entered via the Portuguese colonies.

But since it entered India, groundnut oil has slowly become one of the most widely used cooking oils. Today, it might be among the most expensive oils, but the demand still continues to rise. The Indian agricultural research bodies have also invested a lot in improving oil quality, leading the way to generation of healthier varieties rich in elements that are pro heart health.

Groundnuts are now used across the world in a huge variety of commercial products such as peanut butter, peanut milk, peanut flour, and various snacks. It is, however, mostly cultivated for producing oil, and its consumption varies globally.

2. Nutritional Values and General Properties of Groundnut Oil
The nutritional value of 100g or 100ml peanut oil according to USDA data:

These could vary across brands and regions, depending on the oil production methods. Before buying groundnut oil online or from stores, it is recommended to refer to nutrition related data.

  • Groundnut oil can give high energy; 100g peanut oil provides 884 calories.
  • This oil has a high smoke point of 450°F. This property of peanut oil allows cooking in high temperatures, and therefore preferred over other oils for deep-frying food dishes.
  • Source of Vitamin E. It functions as an antioxidant that protects the body from harmful substances called free radicals.
  • It is known to lower the blood sugar level and reduce the risk factor for heart disease.
3. Groundnut Oil for Cooking

Cooking with cold pressed groundnut oil gives dishes a nutty flavour and aroma, which acts as a strong appetiser for natives of various regions in India. The roasted oil is mostly used for seasoning and flavouring, and also gives dishes a golden brown colour. Refined groundnut oil is highly preferred for making a large variety of Indian snacks as well as for preparing traditional cuisine, mostly in Western and Southern India. It is also counted among the best oils for preparing deep fried food from chips and crisps to fried fish dishes.

Some popular peanut oil dishes include
  • Chicken curries
  • Peanut banana bread
  • Peanut butter cookies
  • Salads and sauces
  • Tofus
  • Indian vegetarian snacks such as puris, samosas and vadas
  • Fish and egg curries

By using groundnut oil in cooking, you can move one step forward to a healthy lifestyle. It is good for weight loss. Also, it is cholesterol-free and contains elements that are known to lower the risk of heart diseases. Unrefined and refined groundnut oil can be used in preparing a lot of highly nutritious Indian food dishes such as oats rotis and dosa, and poha made from green leafy vegetables, among others. As it is available on e-marketplaces or e-commerce sites, you can easily buy Groundnut Oil online.

4. Health Benefits

Groundnut oil benefits are several, a few are listed here.

Healthy Source of Unsaturated Fat

100g or 100ml groundnut or peanut contains 16.9g of saturated fatty acid, 32g polyunsaturated fatty acid(PUFA), and 46.2g monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), and is a source of various types of fatty acids like stearic, oleic acid, linoleic acid etc. Most of these fatty acids are unsaturated fats, both poly, and mono. Extensive research on poly and monounsaturated fats says that it helps in reducing heart disease.

The high amount of LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood are having high-risk factors associated with heart diseases. According to many research reports, replacing saturated fatty acids with poly and monounsaturated fatty acids may reduce both triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol. The American Heart Association suggests increasing MUFA and PUFA intake and reducing saturated fat intake, as it could help to eliminate the risk factors of heart problems as much as 30%. The refined groundnut oil contains a high amount of such fats.

No Cholesterol

Our body naturally produces cholesterol; we don’t require any extra cholesterol in our diet. Refined groundnut oil contains 0mg or absolutely no cholesterol. Therefore, if we use groundnut oil for cooking, it will not add unnecessary cholesterol in our daily consumption. This oil is especially rich in monounsaturated fatty acid(46.2g), such as oleic acid. Oleic acid helps to lower LDL “bad cholesterol” and can increase the level of HDL or good cholesterol in our blood. Adding groundnut oil in our daily diet in ways that retain its nutritive values could reduce heart problems and cholesterol levels.

Antioxidant Property

Antioxidants are good for health and protect our body from free radicals and toxins. Natural antioxidants such as Vitamin E and phytochemicals found in groundnut oil are known to reduce inflammation and provide various health benefits.

Best for Heart Health

This vegetable oil has a substance called resveratrol that reduces stress on the cardiovascular system and decreases blood pressure. Besides, peanut oil has various nutritional values that makes it best for heart health.

  • It has Vitamin E that is good for the heart.
  • This oil is rich in MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid) that helps to reduce bad cholesterol by increasing the good cholesterol level in our blood.
  • According to various research, foods with monounsaturated fatty acids can prevent strokes by maintaining healthy blood lipid profiles and coronary artery disease.
  • Peanut oil contains linoleic acid that can increase blood flow.
  • Monounsaturated fats can lower high blood pressure, which will reduce the risk of several heart diseases.
Good for Weight Loss

According to research, no cooking oil can actually help in losing weight, considering they are fats. Peanut oil, however, contains oleic acid, which helps in suppressing the appetite. Controlling the appetite is the main part of every diet plan, which leads to weight loss. It should also be noted that monounsaturated fats can only help in weight loss until they don’t add extra calories to your food.

5. Best Dishes and Different Uses of Groundnut Oil for Cooking
  • Best Dishes (Indian food items)
  • Oats Roti
  • Chana dal pancakes
  • Poha
  • Spring onion parathas
  • Stuffed Moong Dal and Potato Rolls
  • Idli and Upma
  • Green peas Paratha
  • Coconut curry
  • Fish curry

Groundnut oil is comparatively healthier than other oils such as Palm oil. It has a high smoke point, which means it is heat resistant and not easily burned. For making snacks, canned food, and stir-fries for Indian and Chinese dishes, groundnut oil is considered better than many other types of oils.

Groundnut oil contains high monounsaturated or good fats and is low in saturated or bad fats. If groundnut oil is used in moderate amounts while maintaining its nutritional value, it could help lower the risk of heart diseases and reduce bad cholesterol levels.

Refined groundnut oil is a form of purified groundnut oil. This purified version of groundnut oil is free from any type of chemicals, suspended particles, flavor components, odor, any toxic substances, color. Refined groundnut oil has a clear appearance compared to other filtered oils.