Even though peanuts are considered nuts, botanically they fall into the legume category. Therefore the health benefits of eating peanuts are similar to those of different beans.
Peanuts originate from South America but these days most peanuts come from China. Most commonly peanuts are eaten as a snack roasted and lightly salted. The most healthy ones are though raw peanuts as they will contain less fat and salt. Some people use peanut oil, flour and peanut butter.
Peanuts are packed with unsaturated fats and just small amount of saturated fats what makes them a perfect diet food. Peanuts will help to release High Density Lipids out of the body thus lower cholesterol levels. They might also prevent diabetes and lower the Glycaemic response in the blood.
Peanuts are also usually been associated with balancing the appetite. Lowering cholesterol will also increase the cardiovascular health and possibly prevent Heart Attack. High cholesterol level is associated with formation of gallstones thus eating peanuts will help to prevent these. They do not contain any sodium, which makes them a healthy choice of snack.
Peanuts are also rich in dietary fibre which has been linked to preventing colon cancer, improve digestion and bowel movement.
Vitamins and Minerals
There is definitely no shortage of vitamins and minerals in peanuts! There is Iron and Calcium which are essential for bone and muscle growth, blood and nervous tissue development etc.
Niacin (B3) deficiency can occur due to alcoholism. This mineral is essential for absorbing nutrients, producing energy, maintaining healthy looking hair and skin, and supposedly acts positively on brain function. It also lowers cholesterol and help to control and prevent diabetes. Severe deficiency can cause Pellagra but lighter symptoms include fatigue, depression and indigestion. On other hand high intake of B3 might cause liver damage. Foods like eggs and dairy also rich tryptophan can be used to produce B3 in the body. Manganese (also one of the benefits of eating walnuts) is also present in peanuts and also act on the brain activity aswell as contribute to bone health. Folate content in peanuts will contribute to a healthy pregnancy and will prevent birth defects.
Q10 which is normally found naturally fatty foods (benefits of eating liver) is an essential coenzyme for ATP production from Glucose. It has been proven to be effective against migraines and side effects of cancer treatments. Some animal studies also suggest life span improvement from additional Q10 intake and lower the bad effects of radiation in the blood.
Beta Sitosterol is similar to cholesterol in animals derived from some plants and has a waxy structure. It has been associated with lowering risks of cancer and having an impact to cholesterol levels in blood. It already is being used for treatment of breast cancer in the Europe.
Various new findings today link peanuts to be a much more healthy food than we thought. Resveratrol which can be found in peanuts in a study extended short-living fish species life and it also lowered the health risks of high-fat diet in mice. Resveratrol also balanced out Glucose metabolism and Insulin excretion aswell as abnormal gene expression (cancer development). Unfortunately, there is still lack of sufficient human studies therefore the effects on us can be discussed theoretically.
Although peanuts have been thought to be a very allergic product there has been research that the body’s immune system can be adapted to peanut protein with a special treatment. Also the common advice to pregnant women to not eat peanuts is slightly doubtful. Peanut allergy is strongly related to family history of allergies and vitamin D deficiency and usually don’t occur in healthy individuals. Therefore, the advice should be used thoughtfully as peanuts have a great health potential.
Benefits of eating peanuts:
- Prevent cancer
- Contribute to treatments of cancer
- Lower blood cholesterol levels
- Prevent Heart disease and other cardiovascular illnesses
- Contribute to weight loss
- Improve tissue health
- Maintain healthy nervous system
- Enhance brain activity
- Contribute to healthy pregnancy
- Prevent gallstones
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Might increase life span and immunity
- Prevent Depression
- Contribute to digestion
- Prevent Diabetes and help dealing with the disease