Peanuts are actually legumes, not nuts – but they are delicious, and also good for you.
They are very versatile, as they can be added to recipes as an ingredient, eaten salted or dry roasted as a snack, or made into peanut butter.
Peanuts are rich in protein, and are also high in good fats. The fat content ranges from 44-56%, and consists mainly of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The proteins in peanuts – arachin and conarachin – can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.
Peanuts are low in carbs, which make them a great low GI food. They also contain a range of vitamins and minerals, including biotin, copper, folate, manganese, vitamin E, thiamin, and phosphorous.
Peanuts also contain various plant compounds, including resveratrol, isoflavones, phytic acid, and phytosterols.
Find out why peanuts are so good for you, and also some good ways to eat them.
1. Helps to Balance Cholesterol Levels
Because peanuts contain high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, they can help maintain the balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol in the blood.
2. May Help Prevent Cancer
Peanuts contain large amounts of phytosterols called beta-sitosterol, which could have the ability to protect against cancer by reducing the spread of tumor cells.
3. Could Prevent Diabetes
Some studies show that peanuts can lower the risk of diabetes by 21% when they are eaten daily. The manganese they contain also plays a vital role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar levels.
4. May Prevent Birth Defects
Peanuts contain large amounts of folic acid, which can help reduce the risk of birth defects in babies. The recommended amount of peanuts for pregnant women is 400 grams per day.
5. Healthy Skin
The monounsaturated fats and resveratrol in peanuts help to hydrate skin, while the dietary fiber helps in flushing out toxins from the skin.
6. Could Help Fight Depression
The tryptophan in peanuts helps to increase the release of serotonin in the brain, which fights against the symptoms of depression.
Ways to Eat Peanuts
Peanuts are great as a snack, or sprinkled over salads, but why not try some more exotic recipes too?
Peanut Chikki: this sweet treat is very popular across South Asia, and it’s made with jaggery, peanuts and green cardamoms. Find the recipe here.
Peanut Soup: A warm and tasty soup made with peanuts, tomato puree, onions, and limes. Find the recipe here.
Peanut Jaggery Balls: A simple dessert snack, these balls are made with peanuts, ginger, green cardamom and jaggery. Find the recipe here.