By Dr. Janet Brill
Yummy and crunchy, peanuts are a great source of nutrients. Since ancient times, people have eaten these nuts for health benefits and their awesome taste. Also known as “groundnuts,” especially in India, peanuts are actually not real “nut,” but instead, belong to the legume family just like beans, and chick peas.
You can eat peanuts roasted, salted or boiled. They are used in a variety of recipes for that extra crunchiness and are found in lots of products from peanut butter to candy bars. Clearly, peanuts are healthier and better than junk food. Let’s have a look at some of the health benefits associated with peanuts:
1) Peanuts are an excellent source of vitamin E, a vitamin required for keeping your skin glowing.
2) Feeling depressed? Eat peanuts. They contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid that aids in the production of serotonin, a chemical that has an antidepressant effects. Tryptophan increase the levels of serotonin in body and help control mood swings.
3) Suffering from high cholesterol? Munch on peanuts. Peanuts are a rich source of mono-unsaturated fats especially oleic acid. Grabbing a handful of nuts a few times a week helps lower cholesterol (LDL – bad cholesterol) and increase the level of good cholesterol – HDL.
4) The presence of fiber, plant antioxidants, and the heart healthy mono-unsaturated fatty acids in peanuts helps prevent heart disease. This trio of nutrients all work in favor of maintaining heart health.
5) These delicious crunchy nuts are loaded with the B-complex group of vitamins such as vitamin B-6, riboflavin, folate and niacin that aid in proper brain functioning and brain health.
6) Crunchy peanuts house a good amount of magnesium, a mineral that aids in calcium absorption and helps regulate blood sugar.
7) Peanuts are the most affordable nuts and make for a great weight loss option. When eaten in moderation, peanuts aid in weight loss. People who eat peanuts twice a week are less prone to gaining weight. However a word of caution here: Going overboard on your peanut consumption has the opposite effect…you’ll gain weight as peanuts are calorie-dense. The mantra is to eat in moderation.
8) Peanuts are rich in polyphenolic antioxidants that protect your body against Alzheimer’s disease, degenerative nerve disease and viral infections. Peanuts also contain phytosterols that reduce the risk of developing cancer.
Try peanuts dry-roasted (preferably without added salt), add them to your salad or grab a handful as a snack. They are rich source of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as copper and zinc. They help reduce cholesterol and are a heart healthy food when eaten in moderate quantities. Next time you are on-the-go and need a snack, make it super heart-healthy dry-roasted peanuts!