Peanuts: Nutritional Facts, Health Benefits & Adverse Effects

peanuts

What are the groundnuts?

Peanuts are also known by a variety of names like groundnuts, goobers, and earthnuts. Groundnuts are extremely suitable for human health due to its rich content of protein, healthy fat oil as well as other nutrients that will be discussed in this article. They are legumes that first originated from South America. The botanical name of peanut is Arachis hypogaea.

Peanuts are considered a very healthy snack despite small in size. The products of these nuts are used in a diversity of foods like desserts, snacks, confectionery, and sauces cakes. Irrespective of their name, peanuts are not related to tree nuts. Other peanut products include flour, peanut oil, and protein. As a leguminous crop, they are related to beans, soy, and lentils. Peanuts are rarely consumed raw in the U.S. Instead, these legumes are most often consumed roasted or as peanut butter.

Furthermore, its nuts can be used to cook groundnut stew and soup and can serve as an essential ingredient in some Nigerian foods. Peanut butter is known as “epa bota” in Yoruba; “okwu oji” or “ose oji” in Igbo; “mansang ikpuk” in Ibibio and “gyada butter” in Hausa. is one of the commonest derivatives of groundnut in Nigeria. This peanut butter is made in paste form which is purely an unprocessed butter made from groundnut. It is extremely delicious with its unique smell and texture.

In Nigeria and other parts of West Africa, groundnuts can be consumed whole when boiled or it can as well be fried or roasted to serves various purposes, be it fried or boiled. Others tend to add a small quantity of salt to make it taste better and may serve as lunch in some cases. Groundnut can also be used in the production of vegetable oil known as groundnut oil. It is one of the common vegetable oils used in Nigeria or West Africa in both cooking and for other purposes.

Consequently, during the processing of groundnuts into oil, its cake can be used as feed for poultry and livestock or as well used in the production of the locally made Nigerian snack called Kuli Kuli which is predominant in the North. Peanuts are rich in fat, protein, and several healthy nutrients. Recent studies show that peanuts may be suitable for weight loss and are linked to a reduced chance of developing heart disease.

This article will be explaining the nutritional facts, health benefits, and adverse effects of eating peanuts (groundnuts).

Nutritional facts of raw peanuts

Peanuts are packed with high-quality protein and healthy fats. They are also fairly rich in calories.

The following are the nutritional facts for 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of raw peanuts:

Calories: 567

Protein: 25.8 grams

Sugar: 4.7 grams

Water: 7 percent

Carbs: 16.1 grams

Fiber: 8.5 grams

Fat: 49.2 grams

Saturated: 6.28 grams

Monounsaturated: 24.43 grams

Polyunsaturated: 15.56 grams

Omega-3: 0 gram

Omega-6: 15.56 grams

Trans: 0 gram

Health benefits of consuming peanuts

Peanuts are rich in protein

Peanuts, as well as groundnuts, are rich in protein. Its protein content ranges between 22-30 percent of its total calories, making peanuts an essential source of plant-based protein. Some people could be allergic to arachin and conarachin which are the predominant proteins in peanuts thereby resulting in some life-threatening reactions.

Good source of vitamins and minerals

Peanuts are high in vitamins and minerals, such as:

Copper

This is a dietary mineral in its trace amount and is often low in the western diet. Lack of copper in the human body brings about harmful effects on heart health.

Folate (Folic acid or vitamin B9)

Folate is important especially during pregnancy. 

Vitamin E

This vitamin is a strong antioxidant and is mainly present in high amounts in fatty foods.

Phosphorus

This particular mineral helps promote the growth and maintenance of body tissues.

Biotin

Peanuts are excellent dietary sources of biotin, which is essential during pregnancy.

Vitamin B3

This is also known as niacin. Vitamin B3 has been found to help lower your risk of having a heart disease.

Manganese

It’s a trace element that is predominantly found in most foods and drinking water.

B vitamins

This is also known as thiamine or vitamin B1. It enables your body’s cells to convert carbs into energy and is important for the proper functioning of your muscles, heart, and nervous system.

Magnesium

It’s an important dietary mineral with numerous functions. Research shows that adequate intake of magnesium helps protect your body against heart disease.

Peanuts are rich in fats

Since they are rich in fat, they are regarded as oilseeds. In the world, a large proportion of peanuts’ harvest is used for making peanut oil also known as Arachis oil. Its fat content ranges from 44-56 percent and mainly consists of mono and polyunsaturated fat, most of which is made up of linoleic and oleic acids.

Low in carbs

The carb content of peanut is usually between 13-16 percent of its total weight.

Since it’s low in carbs and rich in fat, protein, and fiber, peanuts have a very low GI (glycemic index), which is a measure of how quickly carbs diffuse through your bloodstream after a meal. This makes peanut essential food for people with diabetes.

Other bioactive plant compounds

Peanuts like fruits are also rich in antioxidants

Most antioxidants are situated in peanut skin, which is eaten only when peanuts are raw.

It is also known that peanut kernels contain the following:

Resveratrol: This powerful antioxidant which is found in red wine helps lower your risk of having cancer and heart disease.

Phytic acid: It is present in plant seeds and also nuts. Phytic acid may reduce the absorption of iron and zinc from peanuts and other foods consumed at the same time.

p-Coumaric acid: This polyphenol is one of the predominant antioxidants in peanuts.

Isoflavones: It is one of those antioxidant polyphenols that’s linked with a variety of health effects.

Phytosterols: Peanut oil contains considerable amounts of phytosterols, which lower the breakdown of cholesterol from your digestive tract.

Natural manpower

Consumption of groundnuts or peanuts in a moderate amount can make you last long during lovemaking and also boost your stamina in bed.

Read Also: 24 Natural Foods That Increase Your Sex Drive And Stamina

Helps repair body tissues

Just like other leguminous crops, the peanut is a very good source of protein which helps in the repair and building of body tissues. Groundnuts like peanuts contain a good amount of phosphorus which your body needs to produce proteins essential for the maintenance of bodily functions, growth, and repairs of certain cells and tissues.

A study has shown that groundnut contains more grams of protein than other nuts. From this study, 480 grains serving of peanut which is equivalent to one ounce contains 8 grams of protein.

The protein content in the groundnut has high digestibility which is comparable to that of soy protein and serves a good building block for the bones, muscles, blood, tissues, and cells.

It is also shown that a peanut butter sandwich with 3 glasses of milk provides your body with 22 grams of protein, which is approximately the quantity of protein needed for an average person in a day.       

Peanuts help improve weight loss

Although peanuts are rich in calories and fat, they’re not associated with weight gain.

Several observational studies have deduced that peanut consumption helps maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of having obesity.

Since these studies are mainly observational, they cannot prove causation.

A small, 6-month study carried out among healthy women deduced that when other sources of fat in a low-fat diet were replaced with peanuts, they lost 3 kg (6.6 pounds) despite being asked to maintain their initial weight.

Another research shows that when 89 grams (3 ounces) of peanuts were added to the daily diet of healthy adults for 2 months, they didn’t gain as much weight as expected.

Here are the following factors that make peanuts a preferred weight-loss food:

  • Since peanuts aid filling, people tend to compensate for increased peanut consumption by eating less of other foods.
  • The rich content of protein and monounsaturated fat in peanuts may accelerate calorie burning.
  • Peanuts reduce the consumption of foods by improving fullness to a greater extent than other common snacks, like rice cakes.
  • If whole peanuts are not chewed completely well, a portion of them may pass through your digestive system without being absorbed.

Peanuts are a source of insoluble dietary fiber, which is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain.

Suitable for skin health

The vitamins present in groundnut serve an anti-aging property as it gives the skin a new and shinning look by protecting it from skin conditions like wrinkles, dryness, and scaling.

Other important nutrients are still found in peanuts like vitamins, phytochemicals, monounsaturated fats, and minerals which help keep the skin porous and shinning all the time by removing excess oil and toxins from the skin.

peanuts

Read Also: 35 Super Anti-Aging Foods For A Glowing Skin

These antioxidants such as vitamin C and E in peanuts helps reduce some anti-aging effects like wrinkles, pimples, and dark spots on the skin.

Moderate consumption of groundnut helps keep the skin ever young and smooth because of the presence of anti-aging phytochemical called resveratrol. Its vitamin C content helps rebuild the collagen immensely.   

Peanuts help improve heart health

Observational studies deduced that consuming peanuts, as well as several other nuts, may help lower your risk of having heart disease.

These health benefits are as a result of various factors.

It is also known that this nut contains a number of heart-healthy nutrients like niacin, magnesium, oleic acid, copper, and multiple antioxidants such as resveratrol.

They help prevent the development of gallstone

It is estimated that about 10-25 percent of adults in the U.S. are affected by gallstones.

Two observational studies show that consistent consumption of peanut may help lower the risk of developing gallstones in both men and women.

Since most gallstones are mainly composed of cholesterol, the cholesterol-lowering effect of peanuts may be the cause. Although more studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Improves brain health

Since the oil in groundnut or peanut contains fatty acids, it helps increase the high-density lipoprotein in the body called the “good cholesterol”. This is to say the fatty acid it contains is monounsaturated and it helps improve your brain and heart health immensely.

Read Also: Different Brain Foods That Improve Memory

Suitable for strong bones

However, groundnut contains certain minerals like zinc, potassium, sodium, calcium as well as phosphorus and magnesium which altogether help your body stay healthy and builds strong bones.

Consequently, these minerals shield the body from some of the mineral deficiencies which can bring about some complications to human health when left untreated.

Lowers your risk of having cancer

The antioxidants (resveratrol and polyphenol) present in groundnuts helps protect your body from cancer and heart-related diseases. It also helps improve your body’s immune system by removing harmful chemicals from the body that can cause or deteriorate your health conditions.

Since peanut is a good source of vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid, and other important nutrients; it can help lower your risk of developing certain types of cancers.

According to a study conducted by Prof. Piet Van den Brandt in Medical News Today, it shows that the consumption of 15 grams of groundnuts daily can lower your risk of blood clots and other diseases like diabetes, cancer, and respiratory disease.

Protects the body from oxidative stress

Peanuts contain essential compounds that are rich in antioxidants and helps protect your body from an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body which is prone to negative effects.

These antioxidants help protect the occurrence of certain diseases in the body and definitely stop the activities of oxidation of other molecules in the body.

Helps fight depression

Peanuts are a good source of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is important for the production of serotonin, one of the main brain chemicals involved in mood regulation.

A decreased amount of serotonin may be released from the nerve cells in the brain when depression occurs. Tryptophan helps raise serotonin’s antidepressant effects when there’s an increased amount of serotonin in the blood.  

Can pregnant women consume groundnuts?

Yes, they can as peanut (groundnut) contain folate and protein. This folic acid which is an essential supplement is needed by all pregnant women to help them avoid birth defects and to contribute to the proper development of the spine and brain.

Irrespective of any diet a pregnant woman sticks to, she must be required to consume a good amount of folic acid through the conception period. Pregnant women can also consume cooked, roasted or fried peanuts. 

What are the adverse effects of consuming peanuts?

Aside from being allergic to consuming peanuts, it has been associated with several adverse effects. Not-withstanding, there are some health concerns to take into consideration.

Poisoning due to the presence of aflatoxins

Peanuts may be unsafe for consumption because of the presence of species of mold (Aspergillus flavus) that produces aflatoxin.

Jaundice (usually the yellow discoloration of eyes) and loss of appetite are the major symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning.

Severe aflatoxin poisoning can bring about liver cancer and liver failure.

The risk of aflatoxin contamination depends on how peanuts are preserved or stored. Its risk is higher during warm and humid conditions, especially in the tropics.

You can prevent aflatoxin contamination but properly drying peanuts after harvesting and lowering its temperature and humidity during storage.

Presence of several antinutrients

Peanuts have a number of antinutrients, which are substances that affect your absorption of nutrients and lower its nutritional value.

Of the antinutrients in peanuts, phytic acid is our main concerned. Phytic acid is known as phytate is present in all edible seeds, grains, nuts, and legumes. Its percentage composition in peanuts is between 0.2-4.5.

Study shows how phytic acid reduces the availability of zinc and iron in peanuts, lowering their nutritional value a little.

Although this is usually not a problem in well-balanced diets and among people who consume meat always. But it may be an issue in developing countries where their main sources of food are legumes or grains.

Can I be allergic to this nut?

Yes, you can as the peanut is one of the most common food allergens.

It is estimated that about 1 percent of Americans are allergic to peanuts.

Being allergic to peanuts can be life-threatening, and this is why they are sometimes regarded as the most severe allergen.

If you are allergic to peanuts, it’s better to refrain from consuming it and its products.

Does peanut help regulate blood sugar?

Yes, it does as 1/4 cup of peanuts can supply your body with 35 percent of the daily value of manganese. Manganese which is a mineral plays an important role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and regulation of blood sugar.

Summary

You are advised never to consume groundnuts or peanuts excessively since it’s high in fat and has desirable side effects as discussed above. Peanuts are essential weight-loss diets and may help lower your risk of developing several diseases like gallstones and heart diseases.

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