Are peanuts good for you to eat?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Are peanuts good for you to eat?” and will discuss the different health benefits of eating peanuts.

Are peanuts good for you to eat?

Yes, the peanut is good for you to eat. Peanuts provide several health benefits like peanut is good for heart health, peanut helps in weight loss, peanut also helps in reducing inflammation and peanut lowers the risk of diabetes and cancer. Peanuts have a similar nutrient profile to tree nuts (1).

What are peanuts?

It’s a little surprising that peanuts aren’t truly nuts. In the same family as green peas, soybeans, and lentils, they are known as legumes. Peanuts are said to have originated in Brazil or Peru in South America. In South America, scientists have unearthed 3,500year-old ceramics shaped like peanuts and ornamented with peanuts. A second line of evidence suggested the Incas of Peru as the highly developed ancient agricultural civilization that cultivated it throughout the coastal areas. The Spanish explorers of the New World took peanuts to Spain from where they were distributed by traders to different parts of the world including Asia and Africa (2).

The peanut plant’s fruit, peanuts, grows underground. In the early 1800s, peanuts were grown as a commercial crop in the United States. The average annual consumption of peanuts in the United States is over six pounds. Peanut butter now accounts for half of all peanut consumption in the United States.

Health Advantages of peanuts

Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and cashews are considered by many to be more nutritious than peanuts. There are numerous health advantages to peanuts, but they’re sometimes missed since they’re less costly than more expensive nuts.

Good for heart health

Due to their high level of unsaturated fats, walnuts and almonds have been dubbed “heart-healthy” foods. Peanuts, on the other hand, are just as beneficial to heart health as pricey nuts.

Because they reduce cholesterol, peanuts assist to keep heart disease at bay. Small blood clots may be prevented, and as a result, a heart attack or stroke is less likely.

A recent report of the same study concerning a subgroup of 6309 women with type-2 diabetes at baseline shows that the consumption of at least five servings per week of nuts or peanut butter (serving size, 28 g [1 ounce] for nuts and 16 g [1 tablespoon] for peanut butter) was significantly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (1).

Helps in weight loss

It is possible to eat a lot of protein without consuming a lot of calories. Peanuts are second only to almonds in terms of protein content among nuts. Research has revealed that persons who eat a modest quantity of peanuts will not gain weight from them. Peanuts, on the other hand, might aid with weight loss.

Peanut seeds and peanut food products are rich sources of arginine which has been considered as a semi-essential amino acid. The consumption of arginine protects against gastro-intestinal tract problems and is also involved in the spermatogenesis and muscular activity, and has anti aging effects (2).

 Helps in extending life span

It’s possible that eating peanuts might extend your life expectancy. People who routinely eat any form of nut (including peanuts) had a lower overall mortality rate than those who seldom ate nuts, according to big research.

Some cohort studies with large populations and long follow uptime have shown that consumption of nuts (including peanuts)was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality regardless of race and gender. Specifically, nut consumption has been reported to be significantly associated with reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular, respiratory, infectious, renal and liver disease mortality but not with diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease mortality (3).

Even while peanuts cannot be shown to be the only reason for decreased mortality rates, they are strongly linked to them.

Reduced Risk of Diabetes

You won’t experience an increase in blood sugar after eating peanuts since they have a low glycemic index (GI). Women’s type 2 diabetes risk may be reduced by consuming peanuts, according to research.

Nut consumption was inversely associated with risk of type-2 diabetes. Considering only lean women (BMI< 25 kg/m2), a 45% risk reduction was observed in those consuming nuts five times or more per week or consumption of peanut butter four times a week or more (1).

 Helps in reducing inflammation

 As a strong source of fiber, peanuts may help decrease swelling and improve your digestive process. Some bioactive constituents of nuts, such as tocopherols, phytosterols, folic acid, selenium, and magnesium, are purported to have antioxidant, antiinflammatory properties. It has been shown that inflammatory mediators such as plasma levels of ICAM-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule [VCAM]-1, or IL-6 decreased after nut diets in experimental studies, due to the potent anti-inflammatory properties of the phenolic compounds of nuts (1).

Helps in preventing cancer

Eating peanut butter may help reduce the chance of developing gastric and adenocarcinoma in the elderly, according to research.

Resveratrol, a phytoalexin and a member of the stilbene family of phenolic compounds produced by different plants, is present in almost all parts of peanuts including shell, seeds, skin, and derived products. Resveratrol has anticancer properties, mitigating the aging of genes (2).

What to Keep an Eye Out For

Despite its nutritional value, not everyone can tolerate peanuts. In the United States, the most frequent food allergy is an allergy to peanuts, which is responsible for the vast majority of food allergy fatalities. Peanut is believed to be a potent allergenic food and its consumption is one of the major causes of immunoglobulin E (IgE) mediated food allergies in the western populations of the United Kingdom, USA, and Canada with prevalence rates ranging between 1.6% and 2.7% (2).

An itchy rash, nausea, or swelling of the face are some of the signs of a moderate allergy to peanuts. However, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening response caused by a severe peanut allergy, may occur. Diarrhea, wheezing and vomiting are all signs of anaphylaxis. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, tiredness, and a sense of being disoriented, confused, or lightheaded.

If you have any problems after eating peanuts, see your doctor right away.

In addition, Aflatoxins (AFs) are fungal mycotoxins or toxic secondary metabolites produced by Aspergillus species. Peanuts like various other nuts are potentially suitable substrates for fungal pathogens, thereby can be contaminated with AFs during storage, transportation and processing, especially milling (2).

Peanuts: How to use them in meals?

It is possible to consume peanuts raw, blanched, roasted, boiled, fried, powdered, or processed into peanut butter. As the skin contains several antioxidants and phytochemicals, it is best eaten in its papery form. Peanuts and peanut butter may easily be added to your diet, and it doesn’t matter whether you use peanuts or peanut butter.

Here are a few recipes that call for peanuts:

·         Make cookies or pies using peanuts.

·         Put the peanut butter and banana on a bread roll and toast it up.

·         Add peanut butter to hummus.

·         Add some peanuts to your yogurt.

·         Make a salad by adding peanuts.

·         Add peanuts to your noodles or stir-fry.

·         Make a trail mix by adding peanuts.

·         Thai peanut sauce is a great way to enjoy spring rolls.

Nutrition

Protein, fat, and dietary fiber are all abundant in peanuts. Even though peanuts contain a significant quantity of calories, the majority of the lipids they contain are considered “good fats.” Cholesterol levels may be lowered by consuming lipids like these. 

Peanut seeds contain carbohydrates (10.5% to 20%), protein (16% to 36%), and oil (36% to 54%) as major constituents. They also contain many important functional components including coenzyme Q10, arginine, and polysterols, which make it a functional food.  Beneficial minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium are also present in peanuts  Apart from these, peanuts are a very rich source of multivitamins including folic acid, thiamine, and tocopherols. The antioxidant capacity of peanuts is mainly due to the presence of vitamin E, resveratrol, flavonoids, and different hydroxycinnamic acids including caffeic, chlorogenic, coumaric, and ferulic acid (3).

Other FAQs about Peanuts that you may be interested in.

Do peanuts go bad?

How to cook raw peanuts without the shell?

How to salt unsalted peanuts?

Does Vietnamese Food Have Peanuts?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is peanuts good for you to eat?” and discussed the different health benefits of eating peanuts.

References

  1. Ros, Emilio. Health benefits of nut consumption. Nutrients, 2010, 2, 652-682.
  2. Akram, Nudrat Aisha, Fahad Shafiq, and Muhammad Ashraf. Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.): A prospective legume crop to offer multiple health benefits under changing climate. Comprehen Rev Food Sci Food Safe, 2018, 17, 1325-1338.
  3. Rabiatu, and Jianmei Yu. Health aspects of peanuts as an outcome of its chemical composition. Food Sci Human Welln, 2020, 9, 21-30.