It is well known that peanuts are generally very beneficial for the functioning of our body. However, little do we know in detail the properties that this food provides us.
Peanuts belong to the botanical family Fabaceae, also called Leguminosae, and are commonly also called legumes. They come with a vast range of benefits. These legumes trace back their origin to South America, and when people realised their versatility, they spread throughout the world. They are also called groundnuts and earthnuts. Peanuts are also relatives of lentils, soy and beans.
Owing to their high protein content, they can be consumed raw, or used in things like peanut butter, desserts, snacks and dips as a very healthy addition. Although they are a high energy food, studies show that they can be useful for weight loss and are even shown to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Peanuts grow below the ground and are basically edible seeds. They primarily constitute fats and proteins. Not only this, but peanut seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients too!
Owing to its many properties, it has become a popular superfood. Let’s take a look at peanuts’ nutritional profile.
An ounce of peanuts, i.e., 28 grams, roughly 28 peanuts, unsalted, constitute-
- 161 kCal
- 2 g of water
- 14 g of fat
- 5 mg of sodium
- 4.6 g of carbs
- 1 g of sugar
- 2.4 g of fibre
- 1.3 g of sugar
- 7.3 g of protein
These are approximate values, which will change if peanuts are fried or salted.
The Many Health Benefits of Peanuts for Kids and Adults
Peanuts are not just high energy, high protein and fun snack. They also have a wide range of health benefits for everyone who chooses to gorge on them. While peanuts alone do not satisfy our daily nutritional needs, they have many beneficial nutrients that can be very beneficial to our overall health. They have proteins, healthy fats and properties to prevent heart diseases!
They are high in healthy fats, i.e unsaturated fats, which are required in adequate amounts by our body. They are also a rich source of plant-based protein, with 22-30% of their total calorie count being protein. On top of these nutritional benefits, peanuts are also very low in carbohydrates, with carb content making only 13-16% of total weight. They thus have a very low glycemic index or GI, making them extremely recommended for people with diabetes.
This superfood is also a great source of vitamins and minerals like biotin, copper, niacin, folate etc. It also contains some vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and vitamin B1, which is extremely essential for heart functioning, muscles as well as our nervous system. What’s more, peanuts also have phosphorus, which is a great nutrient for the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
The tasty groundnuts also contain various bioactive plant compounds, as well as antioxidants. They’re so rich in antioxidants that they are almost comparable to fruits! However, most of these are found in the skin of the peanuts, so next time don’t peel them for this added benefit!
Another underrated benefit these legumes can provide is that of weight loss or maintenance. Despite being high in calories, studies have shown that peanuts do not contribute to weight gain as they are a very filling snack, meaning that just a small amount of peanuts can be very satiating. Some factors that could also contribute to this include-
- They might reduce food consumption because of their feeling of fullness as compared to other carb-rich snacks
- Due to this reason, people might eat less junk food.
- The high protein content might aid in faster calorie burning.
- Their insoluble dietary fibre may also play a role.
Some studies even indicate that eating peanuts and other nuts can protect against heart diseases. This is likely because of the presence of heart-healthy nutrients like magnesium, copper, oleic acid, etc.
Benefits of Consuming Peanuts During Pregnancy
Peanuts are a great source of food and snacks for pregnant women as they contain folate and protein. Both of these nutrients, as well as folic acid supplements, are recommended during pregnancy to help prevent general complications and birth defects in the developing foetus’s brain and spine.
They also have natural unsaturated fats which are very healthy for consumption during this time. Plus, they have a balanced assortment of vitamins B1, B4, B5, B6, C and E. They even have minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. So overall they make a nutritious snack. The energy-packed food is also high in calories, which are much needed for healthy energy during this time.
This super-legume also has antioxidant properties, needed to defend the body from common ailments which a pregnant mother may easily contract, like the flu.
Peanuts also have a lot of natural oil in them which helps cure skin ailments and soothes sores and dermatological irritation. Their high manganese content promotes healthy bone development in the foetus, and iron content helps produce more blood to prevent anaemia in pregnant women.
The rich fibre in peanuts cure constipation problems, so mother-to-be might benefit from this legume and get rid of their bowel issues!
Risks of Consuming Peanuts During pregnancy
Despite their endless health benefits and delicious taste and yummy crunch, peanuts have been known to cause allergies commonly in people. So there are few risks attached to consuming peanuts during pregnancy. Some of these may include-
- Food poisoning due to old and stale peanuts
- Toxicity if consumed with mold on them. This can happen if they are stored in hot and humid conditions
- Increase in stomach irritation if one already has gastritis
- They can lead to weight gain if gorged on in excess
The Tasty Way of Including Peanuts in Your Diet
Peanuts have their own crunchy nutty taste that makes them incredibly munchy and versatile. They can be added to dips, soups, salads and even gravies, to add nutrition, taste and flavour to your daily boring food.
They can be boiled or fried, with some spices sprinkled on the top for taste.
They can be tossed in small amounts in salads, chutney or dips to provide a thick and creamy texture.
They can also be added to chocolates with other nuts.
Peanut butter can be made from roasted peanuts by grinding them into a fine oily paste.
They can simply be had roasted, in a fuss-free form as a snack at any time of the day!
Peanuts have so much in it to give you, that you can easily name them a SUPERFOOD! Women who are pregnant and kids who need nutrition for proper growth can stay well-nourished and healthy with adequate and moderate peanut consumption.
Fun facts on Peanuts
Peanuts are enjoyed by most people because it’s a fun-eat food item with various health benefits. Its fun facts are:
- 540 peanuts make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter
- 5 gallons of water is used to produce 1 ounce of peanuts
- Peanut butter was originally made for people with no teeth
- If peanut butter is kept under high temperatures, it can turn into diamonds
- As peanuts grow underground, they are also called groundnuts or ground peas