Heart Health Poster Boy Olive Oil Vs Groundnut Oil!Dr. Nitin Gupte
Choosing Between Olive Oil And Groundnut Oil!
Hit the internet to search for foods to fight inflammation and the chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and heart disease resulting from it and it invariably comes up with one particular food, the heart health poster boy, the extra virgin olive oil.
Researchers have for sometime now been advising us to use cold pressed monounsaturated dominant oils and olive oil suits the bill perfectly. But so do groundnut oil, also called peanut oil and sesame oil.
But olive oil, especially the extra virgin olive oil has been heavily promoted by the Western World as the poster boy of heart health!
The imported and expensive extra virgin olive oil, while out of reach of the average Indian homes, has found its way into the kitchens of the homes of the affluent Indians, probably in a big way!
Let us see how the homegrown, unglamorous, unadvertised and much cheaper cold pressed groundnut oil compares with extra virgin olive oil, as anti inflammatory and heart healthy oil.
Both oils are cold pressed monounsaturated fatty acids dominant oils which have lower amounts of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Researchers have known for some time now, that exactly this kind of oils are heart healthy, as they raise the levels of HDL cholesterol and lower levels of LDL cholesterol and they also have anti inflammatory properties.
Recent studies also show, that for a healthy lipid profile a high monounsaturated fatty acid to polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio is desirable and also high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids are beneficial in regulating blood sugar levels.
In this respect, olive oil is superior to groundnut oil as it has higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids than olive oil.
A team of researchers at The Department Of Biochemistry, Shree Venkateswara College, University Of Delhi, has conducted a year long study of the effects of both oils on various health parameters of people consuming the two oils, including lipid profile, blood glucose, liver function efficiency, antioxidant status (lipid peroxides and antioxidant enzymes) and inflammatory properties (nitric oxide) in blood samples collected from populations who have been consuming olive oil or groundnut oil as a staple oil for at least one year.
The study did not include diabetic patients, but it showed that the blood sugars levels of people in the study were normal at the end of the year.
The study showed that both olive and groundnut oils matched each other in their performance of keeping the HDL cholesterol levels high and total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels low at the end of one year. If any, groundnut oil people showed up slightly lower levels of triglycerides.
Both groups showed normal liver function meaning both groups had normal metabolism and no metabolic syndrome.
One of the marketing strategies of olive oil is that it contains increased amount of polyphenols / antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress and promote overall health in consumers. So both oils were investigating for these activities and it was found that groundnut oil consumers also showed the same lipid peroxide levels as the olive oil consumers, adequate activity of antioxidant enzymes and comparable levels of nitric oxide, indicating that ground nut oil was as effective as olive oil on providing protection against oxidative damage and stress.
Also olive oil which has a comparatively lower smoking point than groundnut oil cannot be considered as a premium cooking and frying oil for Indian style of cooking which involves deep frying.
Groundnut oil reportedly has greater oxidative stability and higher smoking point as compared to olive oil and has been considered as a premium cooking and frying oil as compared to olive oil. Gomez et. al., 2003 have shown that the phenolic compounds in extra virgin olive oil gets damaged very quickly by heat along with a loss of Vitamin E.
The preliminary analysis of blood samples from people who have been consuming groundnut and olive oil since one year do not show any significant differences in the biochemical parameters assessed.
Although more research is needed, the contention of the researchers is that groundnut oil could be the better choice of oils for Indians, than olive oil, both nutritionally as well as economically.
Studies have also shown that resveratrol, a phenolic antioxidant present in groundnuts reduces the risk of vascular disease caused by angiotensin a hormone that causes the arteries to contract and leads to raised blood pressure which damages the endothelial lining of the arteries leading to heart disease and strokes, amongst damage to other organs. Resveratrol also protects the arteries by increasing the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
Groundnuts also are high in the powerful antioxidant, Vitamin E, which protects the cells of the mucosa and skin from the damage caused by oxygen free radicals.
In short, if you live in India and your oil consumption is moderate, you can safely use groundnut oil.
If you cook your food at low temperature and don’t mind spending extra money on your oil, or if you cook your food at low temperature and live in the US or Europe, you can use olive oil.
Also read the articles ’Basics Of Nutrition’ and the ‘The Good And The Bad Fats’ on this website.
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