Every person around the globe is aware of peanuts – crunchy and tiny nuts. These nuts or legumes make a mouth-watering side meal and come in handy whenever you are craving a delicious snack, especially during fasting and weight loss routine.
Peanuts are super rich in several minerals, micro and macro-nutrients, and vitamins, are highly affordable, and are a versatile ingredient – when compared to any other variety of nuts. Either raw or roasted, whatever form you choose to consume these tasty nuts, one thing is for sure – that you will end up with loads of health benefits, including strong heart health, beautiful skin, shiny hair, energy boost, and a good night’s sleep.
Hence, this article. Today, we will talk about everything related to peanuts – from its definition, types, and nutritional facts to health benefits and also potential risks (if consumed in a heavy dose regularly).
Grab a handful of peanuts while you give this article a read. Let’s start!
What are Peanuts?
Peanuts are a type of legume that are surprisingly related to lentils, beans, and soy, and not to tree nuts.
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) originated in South America and are known by a variety of names, like earthnuts, groundnuts, and goobers.
The most popular type of peanut consumption is either raw (along with a pinch of tangy, salty powder) or in the form of peanut butter (both smooth and crunchy).
Types of Peanuts
Yes, you read that right. Peanuts have a variety, as per the National Peanuts Board. There are four types of Peanuts –
With big kernels and premium characteristics, this type of peanut is known as a gourmet peanut. Due to their large size and pretty form, Virginia peanuts are best suited for snacking. This variety of peanuts is grown in Virginia, Carolinas, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Georgia, and New Mexico regions.
Runner peanuts are widely used to prepare peanut butter and other such confections. This type of peanut makes up 80% of the peanuts grown in the U.S.
With a slightly sweet flavor profile, Valencia peanuts make for all-natural peanut butter and an excellent boiled snack. This type of peanut makes up lesser than 1% of the peanuts grown in the U.S. and is mainly grown in the New Mexico and Texas regions.
The type of Peanuts with red skins and a nutty flavor profile is called Spanish peanuts. They are mainly consumed after roasting and have a slightly higher oil content, which adds depth to their overall nutty flavor. They are usually grown in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas regions and are widely used in confections, candy, and peanut butter.
How to consume Peanuts? What are the ways to add Peanuts to your food?
- The most common way to eat Peanuts is either raw or roasted with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- You can also add boiled Peanuts to your fresh salad.
- Or mix a handful of raw Peanuts into your breakfast cereal.
- Apart from these, you can add chopped roasted Peanuts to your frozen yogurt to give it some crunchiness.
- Moreover, just like Honey Roasted Potatoes, you can replace Potatoes with Peanuts. And enjoy a yummilicious snack whenever you want!
- Other ways to eat Peanuts are using Peanut-infused products, such as Peanut oil, protein, and flour. These Peanut-infused goods are widely used in numerous forms of foods, including cakes, desserts, confectionery, sauces, spreads, and snacks.
Nutritional facts about Peanuts
Peanuts are loaded with high-quality protein and healthy fats. Here is the nutrition profile for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw Peanuts –
1. Calories (or Energy) = 567 kcal
2. Water content = 7%
3. Fat = 49.20 gm
4. Omega-3 = 0 gm
5. Omega-6 = 15.560 gm
- Protein = 25.80 gm
- Fiber: 8.50 gm
- Carbs = 16.10 gm
- Sugar: 4.70 gm
- Iron = 4.5 mg
- Sodium = 18 mg
- Magnesium = 168 mg
- Phosphorous = 376 mg
- Calcium = 92 mg
- Potassium = 705 mg
- Zinc = 3.27 mg
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) = 8.33 mg
- Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) = 0.64 mg
- Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin) = 0.14 mg
- Vitamin B-3 (niacin) = 12.07 mg
- Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) = 0.35 mg
- Vitamin B-9 (folate) = 240 mcg
- Saturated: 6.28 gm
- Mono-unsaturated: 24.43 gm
- Poly-unsaturated: 15.56 gm
- Trans Fat = 0 gm
Apart from these, Peanuts also contain a rich amount of biotin and copper – all of which are essential to reduce the risk of multiple ailments and maintain body metabolism.
14 Health Benefits of Peanuts
Peanuts are versatile, flavorsome, and jam-packed with crucial nutrients, offering numerous health benefits, including supporting heart health, promoting muscle growth, losing weight, enhancing sexual function, etc. A plethora of health benefits of Peanuts as discussed below –
1. Supports Weight Loss
Consuming Peanuts every day in moderation helps those who are aiming to shed some extra kilos. Although Peanuts have a high-calorie level, they are all good fats. Add this to the high protein content, and Peanuts become great for weight loss by providing high satiety value. Not to forget that eating more protein reduces the level of Ghrelin, a-k-a, the hunger hormone, in your body. Thus, increasing the production of Peptide YY (a hormone which is responsible to make you feel full). Therefore, preventing you from binge eating.
2. Supports Healthy Heart
Multiple studies have proven that consuming Peanuts tends to decrease the chances of heart diseases. Peanuts consist of nutrients that are crucial for having a healthy heart. These nuts contain copper, magnesium, protein, antioxidants (like Resveratrol), a healthy ratio of unsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats, and fiber that altogether help in reducing your bad cholesterol levels. Peanuts also contain antioxidants and amino acids that keep the inner lining of your arteries safe, thereby protecting your heart against heart problems like atherosclerosis. Also, as per a research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a daily dose of these crunchy nuts reduces the risk of death from heart disease by 29%.
3. Promotes Healthy Skin
Peanuts consist of antioxidants (like Resveratrol) and mono-unsaturated fats that make your skin clear. These nutrients also wash away all the toxins from your body that make your skin appear dull, greasy, and lifeless. The antioxidant, Resveratrol, even delays the signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Additionally, this antioxidant is a scientifically proven cure for skin diseases like Eczema and Psoriasis.
Research shows that Vitamin E and Vitamin C present in the Peanuts protect your skin against the harsh UV rays of the Sun from causing any subsequent damage. Plus, the presence of Vitamin C also gives elasticity to your skin, making it look brighter, younger, and smoother.
4. Helps to Make your Brain Sharp
To keep your brain healthy, active, and sharp, you obviously require rich nutrients like Vitamin B1, Folate, and Niacin. When you include Peanuts in your daily meal, your body tends to fuel up with these nutrients. And as a result, your brain becomes more active, healthy, and sharp. Vitamin B1 and Niacin also help to protect your brain against diseases like Alzheimer’s and age-related cognitive decline. Moreover, Peanuts are jam-packed with a bioactive antioxidant called Resveratrol, which improves verbal fluency and cognitive abilities in people. Also, Polyphenols present in Peanuts are called mood food that helps against cognitive and psychiatric disorders, which, in turn, keeps your brain healthy.
5. Is a Great Source of Protein – Helps to Build Muscles
The requirement of protein necessary for the proper and healthy growth of children can be fulfilled by eating Peanuts on a daily basis. Peanuts are loaded with protein, making about 22% to 30% of their total calories. This protein helps in building muscle mass while promoting muscle growth and supporting bone health. Plus, adequate protein intake also helps to speed up any wound healing. Additionally, adding Peanut butter spread on toast or crackers makes a great and super tasty pre-workout or mid-day snack while adding to your total protein intake.
6. Supports Stronger Bones
Aging in people causes the weakening of many bones present in your body. Therefore, before your bones start losing their agility and strength, you must focus on eating healthy and nutrient-rich food options like Peanuts. Plus, Peanuts are rich in phosphorus and manganese. These nutrients and other essential Vitamins that are present in Peanuts help to keep up and maintain the strength of your bones, thereby assisting you in your old age.
7. Aids In Improving Vision
When it comes to the maintenance of your eye health, a few green leafy vegetables and Peanuts are considered the best food items that you should consume. The presence of Zinc in Peanuts helps your body to transfer Vitamin A, which is highly crucial for clear and healthy eyesight and vision. Also, the presence of Vitamin E in Peanuts helps to slow down cataract formation and any other age-related macular degeneration or illness.
8. Helps to Treat Erectile Dysfunction
Peanuts are super rich in an essential amino acid, Arginine, that has been studied extensively and thoroughly as a possible treatment and cure for erectile dysfunction. However, there is still more research required to understand if Arginine alone can help to treat erectile dysfunction. But, research analyses confirm that oral administration of this amino acid when combined with a herbal supplement, Pycnogenol, may help in the treatment of erectile dysfunction.
9. Helps to Relieve Inflammation
Peanuts are a great source of healthy fats that mostly come from Oleic acids, which are also found in olive oil. This particular acid present in the Peanuts truly helps to fight against inflammation and other free radicals in your body cells.
10. Peanuts Are Diabetic-friendly
Since Peanuts have no sugar content, they are completely safe for all diabetic patients. Plus, these nuts are a rich source of vital nutrients and are truly delicious at the same time. Also, research shows that eating Peanuts (especially in the morning) can help you to keep a check on your blood sugar level throughout the day. And it may also prevent insulin spikes to some extent if and when you eat sugary foods. As per a research study by The American Medical Association, regular (and controlled) consumption of Peanuts actually strengthens your body’s natural ability to regulate and maintain its insulin levels against Type 2 diabetes.
11. Aids in Reducing the Risk of Cancer
Thorough researches have shown that consuming Peanuts can reduce the risk of cancer. Plus, Peanuts have an excellent amount of Vitamin E and protein that helps to lower the risk of cancer. Also, these legumes have a good content of antioxidants like Resveratrol, which further helps in preventing cancer by cutting off the blood supply to your growing cancer and restraining cancer cell growth.
12. Helps to Prevent Gallstone
Around 25% of adults suffer from gallstones – a disease caused by uncontrolled levels of bad cholesterol – every year. Since Peanuts control cholesterol levels, eating an adequate amount of Peanuts may reduce the risk of gallstones in adults as well as in children.
13. Helps to Enhance Sexual Function
Peanuts are jam-packed with an amino acid, Arginine, that is converted into Nitric Oxide – a compound that helps to dilate your blood vessels to improve overall blood flow and circulation. Studies show that taking Arginine supplements may help in the treatment of mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, enhancing sexual function. Other test-tube studies have found that Arginine can also enhance libido, improve semen quality, and increase your overall testosterone levels. Additionally, Peanuts are a very good source of antioxidants like Resveratrol that have proven to support and enhance sexual health in men by improving erectile function and sperm quality. However, more research is still needed to determine if Peanuts specifically can affect sexual function.
14. Helps to Control Blood Sugar Levels
Contrary to a popular belief (rather a myth), adding Peanuts or Peanut butter to your meal does not spike your blood sugar levels. Rather, having them alongside your meal high in GL (like a glass of juice or a savory bagel) may actually stabilize your blood sugar levels. That is probably the reason why the American Diabetes Association names Peanuts among the diabetes-friendly superfoods. Furthermore, the fiber content found in Peanuts also helps to lower your blood sugar levels. And these nuts also contain magnesium and several other healthy oils that play a vital role in managing, controlling, and balancing your blood sugar levels.
Possible Side Effects of Peanuts
Eating Peanuts daily in an adequate amount is healthy and good, but overeating them obviously may backfire just like with any other food. However, aside from Peanut allergies, eating them has not been linked to many severe adverse effects. Still, below are some possible side effects of Peanuts that you should consider and know.
1. May Inhibit the Absorption of Minerals
Consuming too many Peanuts in a day can lead to side effects and may be bad for your overall health by causing digestive issues and inhibiting the absorption of other vital minerals. Peanuts contain a number of antinutrients (like phytic acid) as well, which are substances that impair the absorption of other nutrients (like Iron and Zinc) and reduce their overall nutritional value.
2. Allergic Reaction
Those who are severely allergic to nuts (allergic reactions occur in some people due to the presence of two proteins – Conarachin and Arachin) must avoid eating Peanuts (or any food item, as a matter of fact, that contains Peanuts in them) at all costs.
If at all you do consume it by mistake, look for symptoms like –
- sore throat,
- runny nose,
- skin issues,
- digestive problems, or
- breathlessness, and more.
If you experience any discomfort or any of the above-mentioned symptoms, immediately contact or consult your Doctor.
3. May Cause Aflatoxin Poisoning
An Aflatoxin poisoning is another serious cause for concern as it may cause liver cancer and liver failure. This poisoning actually occurs in food products that are stored in such conditions wherein fungal growth happens. You can avoid this situation by storing Peanuts in a low humid and low-temperature place.
Peanuts are a healthy and super delicious snacking food that everyone should incorporate into their daily meals – but in an adequate amount. When doing so, these legumes or nuts will help you in a number of ways, like weight loss, muscle build-up, glowing skin and hair, and fighting erectile dysfunction.
You can store Peanuts in your refrigerator for about two months and consume them either raw, roasted, or by adding them to yummy homemade recipes.
Do you like Peanuts? How to add them to your daily meal? Tell us your favorite Peanut snacks in the comments section below!
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