With the advent of winter, it’s time to enjoy some delicious and crunchy peanuts. Known by several names like groundnut, earthnut, monkey nut, pymgy nut or goober peas peanut is not really a nut but a legume and like most legumes an excellent plant based source of protein. However, it is often classified as a nut because it possess it all the qualities of true nuts like almonds.
Being rich in a variety of nutrients like Vitamin E, folate, niacin, maganese and protein, peanuts are considered a cheaper substitute for other nuts like almonds, pistachios, cashews, pine-nuts and walnuts. They are available in salted, dry roasted, boiled and raw forms. Being extremely versatile, they are often used as an ingredient in peanut butter, candy bars, chocolates or even sold in the form of ‘chanas’ and ‘chikkis’ by roadside vendors.
Health Benefits of Peanuts:
These nuts or rather legumes are a super food when it comes to their health benefits. In fact, they are an important source of nutrition in underdeveloped countries. Their various health benefits are as follows:
Good for Heart:
The high levels of mono-saturated and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts to help keep your heart healthy. Oleic acid, in particular helps to lower the LDL or “bad” cholesterol and increase “HDL” or good cholesterol in the blood. Thus, they prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by promoting healthy blood lipid profile.
According to a recent study, a serving of peanut can lower the risk of diabetes by 21%. This can be attributed to the presence of maganese, a mineral that plays an important role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
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%.
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 in the United States observed that men and women who consumed peanuta at least twice a week respectively had 27% and 58% lower risk of getting colon cancer.
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 by the brain by 30%.
Help Fight Depression:
Serotonin is one of the key brain chemicals involved in mood regulation. Inadequate secretion of serotonin by the nerve cells in the brain is responsible for causing depression. Peanuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan which aids the release of serotonin, thus helping you fight depression. It can further raise serotonin anti-depressant effects when there is an increased serotonin formation in the blood.
So do not forget to include peanut in your daily routine!