One of the most famous oilseeds known to humans since ages is the nutty, crunchy and tasty peanut. Although, peanuts are actually legumes, they carry the qualities of other edible nuts, such as almond and pistachio. Peanut pods grow on plants belonging to the Fabaceae family. Each pod contains about 2 to 3 egg-shaped, small kernels which are enriched with many vital health enhancing nutrients. Also known as earthnuts and groundnut, peanut is extremely beneficial for our overall health and well being.
Nutritional Facts & Health Benefits of Peanuts
Apart from satisfying hunger, consumption of peanuts also renders multiple health benefits. Peanuts are a store house of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibers and anti-oxidants. Peanuts contain vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 and pantothenic acid. Vitamins A, C and E are also present in peanuts. Peanuts are a good source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, potassium, selenium and iron. Peanuts also contain high concentrations of anti-oxidants, which help to reduce the damage caused to the body by harmful free radicals. When peanuts are boiled, these anti-oxidants become more active. There is a 4-fold increase in Genistein and a 2-fold increase in Biochanin-A contents.
Below mentioned are 15 health benefits associated with peanuts:
Peanuts Keep Cholesterol & Coronary Ailments in Check
Peanuts increase good cholesterol in the body and decrease the bad cholesterol. Peanuts nuts also contain the healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid, which help to prevent coronary diseases.
Health Benefits of Peanuts in Fighting Stomach Cancer
The organic compound called P-Coumaric acid in peanuts has the ability to decrease the risk of stomach cancer by decreasing the formation of carcinogenic nitrous-amines in the body. Resveratrol is a poly-phenolic anti-oxidant found in peanuts that boosts the immune system of the body and prevents cancers.
Cardiac Health Benefits of Peanuts
Resveratrol present in these peanuts prevents cardiac diseases and fungal or viral infections effectively. Peanuts also keep heart strokes at bay by enhancing the production of nitric oxide in the body.
Peanuts Prevents Colon Cancer
Peanuts provide multiple health benefits to women. Consuming at least 2 spoons of peanut butter two times per week can help to curb the risk of colon cancer by up to 58% in women and by 27% in men.
Benefits of Peanuts in Preventing Fetal Defects
If peanuts are consumed before and during early pregnancy, the folic acid present in peanuts can help to lower the risk of severe neural tube defects in the fetus by 70%.
Regulates Blood Sugar & Fights Diabetes
Manganese in peanuts helps to enhance calcium absorption in the body, improve the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and also regulate the sugar levels in the blood to keep diabetes in check.
Low levels of the hormone called Serotonin in the body can lead to depression. The powerful amino acid called Tryptophan in peanuts boosts the release of Serotonin in the brain to improve the mood and ward off depression effectively.
Benefits of Peanuts in Relieving Dermal Problems
The potent anti-inflammatory properties of peanuts help to treat and relieve chronic skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. The essential fatty acids present in Peanuts also decrease skin redness and swelling. Minerals like magnesium and zinc together with vitamin E help to keep the skin radiant and glowing. Peanuts also help to fight the unhealthy bacteria that cause acne. The protein present in peanuts further assist with the process of cell regeneration. Peanuts are also helpful in relieving dermal problems like rosacea, skin rashes and pustules effectively.
Peanuts are enriched with fibers that help to eliminate toxins and waste from the body and improve digestion.
Skin Health and Anti-Aging Benefits of Peanuts
Collagen is essential for the body to support the cartilage, skin and tendons. It also provides elasticity and firmness to the skin to make it look youthful and supple. Vitamin C present in peanuts improves the production of collagen and eliminates the signs of ageing from the skin.
The antioxidant called Beta carotene, found in peanuts, is turned into Vitamin A by the body in order to promote the growth and repair of the body tissues. Thus peanuts can effectively assist in healing bruises and wounds at a faster speed.
Peanuts are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation in the body. They also help to deeply moisturize and nourish the skin and prevent dermal eruptions to effectively relieve problems of scaly, itchy and dry skin. This fatty acid also reduces the risk of developing squamous cell skin cancer.
Peanuts Prevent Male Baldness & Enhance Hair Health
Peanuts are a brilliant source of an amino acid called l-arginine, which is effective in strengthening the walls of the arteries, preventing blood clotting and improving blood flow in the scalp. It helps in treating and preventing male pattern baldness and promoting the growth of healthy hair. Omega-3 fatty acids present in peanuts also help in maintaining healthy hair by strengthening hair follicles and improving the scalp health. Deficiency of vitamin E in the body can make the hair weak and brittle. By consuming a good amount of peanuts every day, one can supply and nourish the roots of the hair with sufficient levels of this vitamin to effectively prevent hair breakage and loss.
Peanuts Boost Musculoskeletal & Brain Health
Magnesium present in Peanuts help to calm the muscles, nerves and blood vessels and thus enhance the blood circulation. Peanuts are also rich in proteins and amino acids, which are good for promoting growth and development of the body. The rich content of fatty acids and Resveratrol present in peanuts are believed to keep the neurons of the brain healthy, prevent nervous ailments, manage stress effectively and control mood swings.
Peanuts Prevent the Skin from Sun Damage
Vitamin E present in peanuts helps to guard the skin against damage caused by oxidation of healthy skin cells. Peanuts eliminate oxidative stress and protect the skin against the harmful UV rays and sun burns. The coherence of cells of the mucous membrane and the derma is also maintained by the Vitamin E.
Side Effects of Peanuts
Along with all the stated benefits, there are certain side effects associated with Peanuts, which can prove to be harmful in the following conditions:
Peanut Allergy: Consumption of peanuts comes with its pros and cons. People suffering from Peanut allergy should not consume peanut and food items that contain peanut products may trigger a hyper-sensitive response from the immune system of the body in individuals who are allergic to peanuts. Peanuts may also cause stomach aches, vomiting and swelling of the throat and lips, which may further lead to chest congestion, breathing problems and even mortality.
Produce Toxins: Peanuts crops are highly susceptible to fungal or mold infection, especially caused by Aspergillus flavus, that promote the production of the toxin called aflatoxin in the body. Aflatoxin is known to be a powerful and dangerous carcinogen, which can cause cancer and liver cirrhosis. People are thus advised to roast the peanuts before eating them, as this can help to reduce the toxicity of the nuts and make them safer for consumption.
Regular consumption of peanuts is associated with many health enhancing benefits. One should most definitely consume a minimum of two tablespoons of peanut butter each week in order to stay healthy and keep many dangerous diseases and infections at bay!