Peanuts ( Arachis hypogaea ) or groundnut is a legume crop of the global importance and is grown in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Botanically speaking, peanuts are not nuts but are actually legumes as they grow underground ( and not like walnuts and almonds that grow on trees) (source) . Eating peanuts is very beneficial for our health because of the essential nutrients like vitamins,minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, essential fatty acids etc. present in it. In this article, we will know about the major health benefits of peanuts, but first, take a look at the below-mentioned nutrition chart of peanuts.
Nutrition Chart of Peanuts
Health Benefits Of Peanuts
(1) Regulates Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol plays an important role in our life as it determines the overall health of our cardiovascular system. There are two types of cholesterol , Good cholesterol, and bad cholesterol.Good cholesterol is beneficial for our cardiovascular system but not the bad cholesterol and because of this reason it is important to keep cholesterol level ( bad cholesterol ) under control.
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is good for our heart as it helps in keeping the blood cholesterol level under control. The presence of copper in peanuts helps in lowering the bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol level ) and increases the level of good cholesterol ( HDL cholesterol ).
In addition to this, the presence of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid present in peanuts also plays an important role in regulating cholesterol level and thus protects us from coronary diseases.
High level of bad cholesterol is very dangerous for our health as it can give rise to problems like heart attack,heart stroke, hardening of arteries, clogging of blood vessels, liver problems, kidney problems etc. (source) By regulating blood cholesterol level of our body, peanuts also prevents us from all the risk associated with high cholesterol level.
(2) Keep Our Heart Healthy
The heart is a vital organ of our body and is the only muscular organ that takes rest only once in our lifetime and that too at the time of death. Taking good care of our heart is important as it helps in keeping us alive by pumping blood to every organ of our body.
These days cardiovascular problems are rising and heart diseases are considered as the major cause of death , and as per an estimate by WHO around 17.5 million people died of cardiovascular diseases worldwide, and that too in 2012 alone.
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is good for our heart and helps in keeping our cardiovascular system healthy because of the presence of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids like Oleic acid present in them.
Oleic acid helps in regulating blood cholesterol level by increasing good cholesterol level and decreasing bad cholesterol level.Too much of bad cholesterol is very bad for our cardiovascular system as it can give rise to cardiovascular problems like heart attack , heart stroke, hardening of arteries, clogging of blood vessels, atherosclerosis etc.
It has been found that eating a handful of peanuts or other nuts, at least, four times a week helps in reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems and coronary heart diseases.
(3) Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes
Consuming peanuts on a regular basis but in a moderate quantity is good for the individuals who are at a risk of diabetes because of the presence of manganese in it. The manganese present in peanuts plays an important role in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates, absorption of calcium and most importantly in blood sugar regulation.
A recent study has found that individuals who eat a serving of peanuts on a regular basis are at a 21 lower risk of diabetes than the individuals who don’t. It has been found that eating one-fourth cup of peanuts on a regular basis provides our body with 35 percent of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
In addition to this, peanuts are also a good source of dietary fiber and around one-third of carbohydrates in peanuts is fiber. The Glycemic index of peanuts is 14 and glycemic load of peanuts is just one. This is considered as low and because of this reason, peanut slows down the rate at which sugar is dissolved into the bloodstream and thus helps in reducing the risk of diabetes. (source ).
(4) Reduces The Risk Of Gallstones
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is very beneficial for our gall bladder and as per some studies, people who eat an ounce of peanut or peanut butter on a regular basis are at a 25 percent lower risk of developing gallstones than the individuals who don’t consume peanut and peanut butter.
It is important to note that peanut/peanut butter is more suitable for those who are not suffering from gallstones problems, but if you already have gallstones then it is better to stay away from peanut butter because peanut butter is high in fat and a single serving( around two tablespoons ) of peanut butter can provide around 15.6 grams of fat which is too much for the individual dealing with gallstones and is way more than the maximum fat intake ( 50 grams per day ) recommended during gallstone problem. (source)
(5) Reduces The Risk of Development of Cancer, Particularly Colon Cancer
Colon cancer is abnormal growth of cells ( which is also known as cancer) in the colon and rectum. As per WHO, colon cancer is one among the major types of cancers and in 2012 alone, 694 000 deaths have occurred because of colon cancer. Because of this reason, it is important to take good care of our colon and minimizes the risk of developing colon cancer.
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is very beneficial for reducing the risk of colon cancer because of the high concentration of phytosterol like beta-sitosterol (SIT) present in it. These phytosterols inhibit the growth of tumor cells and thus protects us against cancer.
As per a research conducted in the United States, it has been found that men and women who consume legumes like peanuts, at least, two times in a week are respectively at 27 percent and 58 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer than the individuals who don’t. (source)
(6) Provides Antioxidant Benefits
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is beneficial for our health because of its antioxidant benefits, and benefits of these antioxidants increase further when peanuts are boiled. Boiling peanuts show a two-fold increase in the Biochanin-A and four times increase in Genistein content. The antioxidants present in peanuts fights with the free radicals of our body stabilizes them and thus reduces the risk of various types of cancer.
In addition to this, the presence of these antioxidants also plays an important role in making our immune system stronger and helps us in staying healthy.
(7) Boost Memory & Improves Functioning Of Brain
Eating peanuts on a regular basis but in a moderate quantity is very beneficial for our brain as it helps in improving the functioning of our brain and boost our memory. This benefit of peanut is mainly because of the presence of essential nutrients like vitamin B3 or niacin in it. Because of the memory boosting power of peanuts, they are often called as “brain food”. In addition to this, peanuts also contain resveratrol, which is a flavonoid which helps in boosting the blood flow to our brain by 30 percent and thus helps our brain to function properly.
(8) Provides Relief From Depression
Regular consumption of peanuts is very beneficial for providing us relief from depression and helps in regulating our µmood because of the presence of an amino acid tryptophan in it. Tryptophan plays an important role in keeping depression level under control as it aids the release of serotonin in our brain. Serotonin is a brain chemical that acts as an antidepressant and keeps our mood happy.
(9) Beneficial During Pregnancy
Eating peanuts is very beneficial for pregnant women because of the presence of folate or folic acid in it. As per some studies, it has been found that women who consume around 400 grams of folic acid before or during the early stage of pregnancy are at a 70 percent lower risk of giving birth to the babies with neural tube defects. Folate acid also reduces the risk of allergic diseases like asthma in babies developing under pregnant women and it also plays an important role in the brain development of babies.
In addition to this, folic acid also plays an important role in keeping us healthy deficiency of it can cause poor growth, inflammation of tongue, gingivitis, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, diarrhea etc. (source) and because of this reason, it is is important for us to have adequate amount of folic acid in our diet, and peanuts is very beneficial in doing the same. Eating 100 grams of peanuts provides around 240 µg of folates which is around 60 percent of the recommended daily intake by our body.
(10) Beneficial For Children At Their Growing Stage
Peanuts are an excellent source of fine quality of amino acids that gets converted to dietary protein and plays an important role in the growth and development of the person. Because of this benefit of peanut, they are very beneficial for children who need additional nutrition in their growing years.
(11) Helps In Weight Management
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is very beneficial for losing the excess weight and thus helps in weight management. This benefit of peanuts is mainly because of the presence of dietary fibers in peanuts. These dietary fibers make us feel fuller for a longer time and decrease our urge to eat again and again. As overeating and frequent eating are a major cause of obesity so by controlling overeating, peanuts help in controlling weight gain.
However, it is important to remember that peanuts are high in calories and eating 100 grams of peanuts provides 567 calories.So, if you want to eat peanuts for weight management then it will be important for you to eat them in limited quantity and not too much as overeating peanuts can lead to weight gain and high level of dietary fibers can cause digestive problems.
(12) Reduces The Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Consuming peanuts is very beneficial for our brain as it helps in improving the functioning of our brain and boost our memory. In addition to this,niacin present in peanuts make them very beneficial for lowering the risk of cognitive diseases like alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found that individuals who consume niacin rich foods like peanuts are at 70 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s diseases in comparison to the individuals who don’t consume peanuts.
(13) Helps In Body Building
Regular and moderate consumption of peanuts is very beneficial for body building as Peanuts are an excellent source of proteins and eating a 100 gram serving of groundnuts provide around 28 grams of protein which is 50 percent of the daily protein requirement of our body. Protein plays an important role in keeping us healthy as it is required for the proper functioning of endocrine gland and also plays an important role in the growth and development of our body.
Although peanuts are a good source of protein but at the same time, they are also an excellent source of fat and 100 grams of peanuts provide around 49.24 grams of fat which is around 165 % of recommended fat intake. Because of this reason, peanuts are not suitable for individuals who are on a high protein low-fat diet.
(14) Excellent Source Of Energy
Peanuts are an excellent source of energy because of the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins,minerals, carbohydrates,fats, antioxidants etc. present in them.
(15) Reduces The Risk Of Stomach Cancer
Eating peanuts is very beneficial for our stomach because of the presence of the polyphenolic antioxidants like P-Coumaric acid in it. These antioxidants play an important role in reducing the production of carcinogenic nitrosamines and thus reduces the risk of stomach cancer. In addition to this, the dietary fibers present in peanuts also plays an important role in keeping our stomach healthy and provides a lot of other benefits like normalizing bowel movement, lowers cholesterol level, controls blood sugar level, ensures proper digestion of food and so on (source ).
However, it is important to remember that too many dietary fibers are bad and cause problems like diarrhea, stomach distress, abdominal pain, improper absorption of nutrients etc. and for this reason, it is better to eat peanuts in moderate quantity.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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