Groundnuts also known as peanuts, are considered a very healthy snack. Peanut is not really a nut but a legume and like most legumes, an excellent plant based source of protein. These nuts are enclosed in a hard wrinkled outer shell or pod which contains two or sometimes, three kernels. The seeds are egg shaped and their size depends upon the cultivar type. The shell has to be broken to eat the seed inside.
1. Heart Health:
The high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts help to keep your heart healthy. Oleic acid, in particular, helps to lower the LDL or “bad” cholesterol and increase “HDL” or good cholesterol level in the blood. Thus, they prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by promoting healthy blood lipid profile.
2. Prevents Diabetes:
A serving of peanut can lower the risk of diabetes by 21%. This can be attributed to the presence of manganese, a mineral that plays an important role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
3. Prevents Gallstones:
Consumption of peanuts can help prevent gallstones. According to studies, eating an ounce of peanuts or peanut butter can lower the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
4. Prevents Cancer:
Legumes like peanuts have a high concentration of a form of phytosterol called beta-sitosterol (SIT). These phytosterols protect against cancer by inhibiting tumor growth. A research conducted observed that men and women who consumed peanuts at least twice a week respectively had 27% and 58% lower risk of getting colon cancer.
5. Improves Brain Function:
Peanuts are often called the “brain food” as they contain Vitamin B3 or niacin which improves brain functioning and boosts memory. They also contain a flavonoid called resveratrol which helps in improving blood flow to the brain by 30%.
6. Beneficial For Pregnancy:
Peanuts are a good source of folate. Certain studies have shown that women who consumed 400 grams of folic acid before or during early pregnancy had up to 70% lower risk of having a baby born with neural tube defect. Eating peanuts during pregnancy can also lower the risk of allergic diseases, like asthma, in children.
7. Beneficial for Children:
Children require additional nutrition in their growing years to lead a healthy life thereafter. Peanuts are a good source of dietary protein composed of fine quality amino acids which are vital for growth and development.
8. Helps Maintain Weight:
Regular consumption of nuts is associated with lower risk of weight gain. The combination of fiber, fat and protein content in peanuts makes them a high satiety food. Thus, they can keep you full for longer and thus lowering your appetite. They are also good sources of energy and help in increasing the metabolic rate. All these properties contribute to weight loss.
9. Prevents Alzheimer’s:
Studies have proven that consumption of niacin rich foods like peanuts lowers the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 70%. A quarter cup of peanuts can provide almost a quarter of the recommended daily value of niacin.
10. Prevents Hair Loss:
Peanuts contain Vitamin C which assists in the production of collagen that keeps the tissues of our hair together. Besides, they contain I-arginine which is used in the treatment of male pattern baldness while omega-3 fatty acids strengthen our hair follicles and promote hair growth.
11. Anti-ageing Benefits:
Peanuts contain Vitamin C and Vitamin E which can prevent signs of ageing like wrinkles, spots and fine lines. They also contain resveratrol, a potent anti-ageing phytochemical also found in grapes and red wine. Being a powerful antioxidant, it is great for your skin, providing anti-ageing benefits as well.