Peanuts, commonly known as groundnuts or even monkey nuts are the cheapest and the healthiest protein available. A native to South America, Mexico and Central America it is an annual herbaceous plant, that grows almost at ground level.
It is almost used every day in one form or the other for cooking. They can be eaten in various forms like roasted, boiled, and fried. Also, now these days, you get many products made out of peanuts like peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut flour, dry roasted peanuts (snacks).
Peanuts play a vital nutritional role in human beings when consumed since they are high in protein and healthy fats. It is a good handy option for snacking provided the portion is controlled.
Avoid mindless eating by pre-portioning your nuts in small bags for a great snack to take on the go or to the office. Choose nuts in the shell and you’ll probably eat fewer since it takes time to crack them. Or take one handful and put the package away.
Let us have a look at its nutritional and health benefits.
- Peanut has 166 calories and 7.8 gm of protein. Peanuts are heart healthy because they’re a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids. Eating peanuts may help lower your total cholesterol.
- Peanuts are good sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate(6 mcg), protein and manganese (49.3 mg).
- The nuts are an excellent source ofvitamin E, containing about 8 g per100 g. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant which helps maintain the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen free radicals.
- The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, andfolates. 100 g of peanuts provide about 85% of RDI of niacin, which contribute to brain health and blood flow to brain.
- The nuts are rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
To sum it up, these tiny looking nuts are packed with good amount of vitamins and minerals. So, make sure that you are incorporating them in your daily routine.
Having talked of all the benefits, Peanuts can also cause side effects. Excessive peanuts intake may lead to gas and heartburn. Peanut allergy is also very common and is a very serious food allergy that one can develop. Peanut allergy causes severe allergic reactions that can actually be life threatening. It’s best to do an allergy test if you suspect you have a peanut allergy.
People with peanut allergy will experience a reaction within minutes of eating a peanut or a product that is made from peanuts. The reaction typically starts with a tingling sensation in the mouth followed by swelling of the face, throat and mouth. It can result in difficulty breathing, an asthma attack, anaphylactic shock and death. Less severe reactions include rash, hives and upset stomach. If you have a peanut allergy, you will want to carry an Epinephrine pen to counter any episodes while waiting for emergency assistance.
Individual with peanut allergy have to be very cautious and check the nutritional label or the menu before buying any product or eating a dish in a restaurant.