Peanut oil: A great source of monounsaturated fat for cognitive fitness

When it comes to nutrition, the healthiest oils to cook with are those rich in monounsaturated fat. Known as the “good for you fats”, monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy fatty acids that help keep cholesterol levels in check, and can be found in peanut, canola, olive, avocado and almond oils. Today’s health-savvy patrons will continue to seek out healthy menu choices, so why not proactively provide them with options?

Sometimes overlooked, cooking oils can help make healthy eating exciting. Some oils are good for cooking at high temperatures, while others are better for marinades and salads. The good news is that peanut oil is good for both! Peanut oil offers a number of health benefits: it’s trans-fat- and cholesterol-free and is a source of vitamin E, which promotes good heart-health. It stands up well to high temperatures for stir-frys and sautéing, and is also a flavourful option for marinades and salads – all popular dishes to serve in your establishments. Should you wish to include more peanut oil in the back-of-house, you might even consider promoting this healthy ingredient on menus and promotional materials. It’s also important to note that refined peanut oil (not cold pressed or extruded) does not contain the protein that causes allergic reactions.

In fact, new research suggests that what we eat might have an impact on our ability to remember and our likelihood of developing dementia as we age. A new study published online in the journal of Annals of Neurology by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital can help to explain the connection between diet and memory – and the results are intriguing .

Women in the study who ate the most saturated fats from foods such as red meat and butter performed worse on tests of thinking and memory than women who ate the lowest amounts of these fats. Though the exact reason for the connection between diets high in saturated and trans fats and poorer memory isn’t entirely cut and dried, it does become a bit more clear when it comes to memory loss that’s related to blood vessel damage. The build-up of cholesterol plaques in brain blood vessels can damage brain tissue and brain cells are deprived of the oxygen-rich blood they need to function normally.

The good news is there are foods with mono- and polyunsaturated fats that can help with memory. For example, the Mediterranean diet is full of foods that are high in healthy unsaturated fats including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, olive oil and nuts, which are a good dietary source of unsaturated fats and healthy protein. Also included is moderate alcohol consumption and limited red meat.

While researchers say they’re not yet ready to identify a brain-healthy diet, Dr. Andrew Craig believes “cognitive fitness is becoming just as big as physical fitness.”

Please refer to the complete research article for detailed information on the study mentioned above.

Sources:, Globe and Mail, Telegraph-Journal and Health Harvard Publications