Peanuts, also commonly referred to as groundnuts are not true nuts like almonds, cashews, etc. They are in fact legumes such as black beans or lentils. Besides being known as groundnuts, peanuts are also known by some other names like monkey nuts, pig nuts, earthnuts, etc. Peanut is something highly popular in the United States and in fact this legume is consumed in several different ways such as plain salted form, roasted form, in cocktail snacks, in the form of peanut butter, etc. Some even simply boil unshelled peanuts along with a little salt and then shell them as they pop them into their mouth. One pod of peanut comprises two to three kernels, which are loaded with loads of nutrients. Let's have a look at some peanut nutrition facts.
Peanuts' Nutrition Facts
The nutrition facts for peanuts will help us understand how nutritious these little kernels actually are. The table below states the peanuts nutrition facts for 1 cup of peanuts weighing 145 g.
|Dietary fiber||12.4 g|
Peanuts Nutritional Benefits
From the table above, we incur that peanuts are abundant in high quality, complete protein content. They are made up of 25% protein and contain more protein than most nuts or legumes. Protein is the building block of the body and is required for body metabolism and build-up of body cells. Vegans and children need high protein in their diet, thus, for such people peanuts are good sources of protein. Moreover, those under weight training are given peanuts to build muscles.
Lowers Blood Cholesterol
Peanuts are not only cholesterol-free, but also comprise beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are known to lower blood cholesterol levels. Moreover, the phytosterol content in peanuts help bring down the bad cholesterol content in the body. Low levels of bad cholesterol in the blood will reduce the risk of heart diseases and heart attacks due to arterial blockage.
Peanuts are known to comprise high concentrations of polyphenolic antioxidants, which are associated with reduction of stomach cancer risks, by decreasing the production of harmful carcinogenic nitrosamines. Another polyphenol antioxidant named resveratrol is present in peanuts that is known to have cancer-fighting properties. It also has the ability to fight degenerative nerve diseases, viral and fungal infections and Alzheimer's disease. The vitamin E in peanuts also has wonderful antioxidant properties, which is useful to destroy free radicals that would otherwise harm cell membranes.
Peanuts are loaded with several essential minerals like copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. The body needs these minerals for various purposes in our body. In fact, some of these minerals even help in protecting against heart disease.
Vitamins are important for growth and development of cells and tissues of the body. They assist in smooth functioning of the body and also regulate body metabolism. They also play different roles in fighting infections, tissue formation and bone formation. Since peanuts are high in folate, pregnant women consuming them will reduce the risk of birth defects and other anemia related medical conditions. The vitamin B3 (niacin) content in peanuts is seen to lower triglyceride levels in the blood. Moreover, this vitamin niacin is also known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other age related problems.
Peanuts are known to have a low glycemic index, due to which the sugar levels do not rise rapidly. Carbohydrates that are digested quickly cause rapid rise in blood sugar levels. These carbohydrates are termed as bad carbohydrates and correspond to high glycemic index. However, peanuts contain the good carbohydrates, with low glycemic index. Because of this ability to keep the blood sugar levels stabilized, peanuts are good for diabetics and insulin resistant people.
Calories and Fat Content
About 22% of the calories in peanuts corresponds to fat content, however, this fat as we saw earlier is mostly monounsaturated fats. People snacking on peanuts between meals are seen to feel fuller throughout the day and don't end up overeating. This is because eating a handful of peanuts impart a fuller feeling. However, one shouldn't consume salted peanuts, because this just adds unnecessary salt content into the body. Having said this, consuming more than a handful of peanuts a day can also result in weight gain. So it is better to refrain from overeating peanuts. Best stick to a small serving several times a week.
One can purchase shelled peanuts either in bulk bins or prepackaged containers. To buy fresh peanuts, one should go to stores with good turnover. If there is any kind of insect damage or moisture content in the peanuts, you should not buy them. While purchasing shelled peanuts, shake the kernels to test quality of the legume. If the pod rattles, you should not purchase them because the kernels are dried up.
Intake of peanuts a regular basis will enable you to tap the most of peanut's nutritional value. Having said all this, people with gallbladder and kidney problems should refrain from eating this legume. People with different medical conditions should first check with their health care provider for the green signal to consume peanuts.