Do You Eat Groundnuts? Read This

peanut-624601_960_720I know that your mind has skipped again on seeing this headline. You’d say,” These people have come again with their nutrition doom articles. What is wrong with eating groundnuts again this time?

What are they going to talk about groundnuts today? Well I’d just say that it is not what you think and I’d like you to read this in full because it has got some real meat for you.

Just calm down. This article isn’t going to condemn groundnuts which maybe, is one of your favorite nuts and which you have read to be very healthy. I like groundnuts too and I enjoy it.

 

I am going to show you the super benefits of this food. Benefits I think you may not have heard before. But, before ending this article, I will also tell you about the type of groundnut you should NOT eat. Yes. The type that can actually cause problems.And not just a small problem but a very big one-CANCER. Now that was scary, huh?

Read on to find out which one and what to do.

Groundnut, also known as peanuts is a wonderful food and one of my favorite nuts. It is also for millions of people around the world and can be eaten in different ways.

Although appearing as and referred to as a nut, it is actually the underground pod of a legume, rather than a true nut.

Peanuts, which are high in protein and vitamin B and E, as well as magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus, are eaten raw or boiled and roasted (and often salted) as a snack, and they are cooked in a wide variety of southeast Asian, African, and South American dishes (ranging from soups, stews, and curries to the peanut sauces typical of Indonesian satay and various Asian noodle dishes), as well as used in confections.

They are frequently ground into peanut butter (groundnut paste that we use to eat garden eggs), or pressed for the oil, which is used in cooking (Kuli-kuli is made from this), salad dressings, margarine, and mayonnaise, as well as in the manufacture of soaps and cosmetics.

Not only do peanuts taste good, they are also rich in protein, fat, and various healthy nutrients.

Studies show that peanuts may be useful for weight loss, and are linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Nutritional Contents of Groundnuts

Vitamins and Minerals

Peanuts are an excellent source of various vitamins and minerals. The following vitamins and minerals are in particularly high amounts in peanuts

Biotin: Peanuts are one of the richest dietary sources of biotin, which is particularly important during pregnancy.

  • Copper: A dietary trace mineral that is often low in the Western diet. Copper deficiency may have adverse effects on heart health.
  • Niacin: Also known as vitamin B3, niacin has various important functions in the body. Niacin has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Folate: Also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid, folate has many essential functions and is especially important in pregnancy.
  • Manganese: A trace element found in drinking water and most foods.
  • Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant, often found in high amounts in fatty foods.
  • Thiamin: One of the B-vitamins, also known as vitamin B1. It helps the body’s cells convert carbs into energy, and is essential for the function of the heart, muscles, and nervous system.
  • Phosphorus: Peanuts are a good source of phosphorus, a mineral that plays an essential role in the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
  • Magnesium: An essential dietary mineral with various important functions. Magnesium intake is believed to protect against heart disease.

Bottom Line: Peanuts are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. These include biotin, copper, niacin, folate, manganese, vitamin E, thiamin, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Peanut Proteinsgroundnuts-and-its-health-benefits

Peanuts are a good source of protein.

The protein content ranges from 22-30% of calories, making peanuts a rich plant-based protein source.

The most abundant proteins in peanuts, arachin and conarachin, can be severely allergenic to some people, causing life-threatening reactions.

Bottom Line: For a plant food, peanuts are an exceptionally good source of protein.

Weight Loss

Obesity is on the increase around the world, especially in developed countries. African countries, including Nigeria now have a lot of obese people with the attendant problems.

Peanuts have been widely studied with regard to weight maintenance.

Despite being high in fat and calories, peanuts do not appear to contribute to weight gain.

In fact, observational studies have shown that peanut consumption may help maintain a healthy weight status and reduce the risk of obesity.

These studies are all observational, which means that they cannot prove causation. In fact, it is well possible that the consumption of peanuts may be a marker of other healthful behaviors, which contribute to reduced weight gain.

However, one small study in healthy women showed that when peanuts were given as a substitute for other sources of fat in a low-fat diet, the women lost 3 kg over a 6-month period, despite being told to maintain their initial weight.

Another study found that when 89 g (500 kcal) of peanuts were added to the daily diet of healthy adults for 8 weeks, they did not gain as much weight as expected.

Various factors make peanuts a weight loss friendly food:

  • Peanuts may reduce food intake by promoting satiety to a greater extent than other common snacks, such as rice cakes.
  • Because of how satiating peanuts are, people appear to compensate for increased peanut consumption by eating less of other foods.
  • When whole peanuts are not chewed well enough, a portion of them may pass through the digestive system without being absorbed.
  • The high content of protein and monounsaturated fat in peanuts may increase energy expenditure.
  • Peanuts are a source of insoluble dietary fiber, which is linked with reduced risk of weight gain.

Bottom Line: Peanuts are very filling, and can be considered an effective component of a weight loss diet.

Heart Health

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

Observational studies indicate that consuming peanuts (and other types of nuts) may protect against heart disease.

Various mechanisms have been discussed as a potential explanation for these effects, which are likely the result of many different factors.

One thing is clear, peanuts contain a number of heart-healthy nutrients. These include magnesium, niacin, copper, oleic acid, and various antioxidants, such as resveratrol.

Bottom Line: As a source of many heart-healthy nutrients, peanuts may help prevent heart disease.

Gallstone Prevention

 

Two observational studies suggest that frequent peanut consumption may cut the risk of gallstones in both men and women.

Most gallstones are largely composed of cholesterol. Therefore, the cholesterol-lowering effect of peanuts has been suggested to be a possible explanation.

Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.

Bottom Line: Peanut consumption may cut the risk of gallstones.

Adverse Effects and Individual Concerns

Aside from allergies, eating peanuts has not been linked with many adverse effects.

However, peanuts can sometimes become contaminated with aflatoxin, a toxic substance produced by molds.

Aflatoxin Poisoning

Peanuts can sometimes be contaminated with a species of mold (Aspergillus flavus), which produces a toxic substance called aflatoxin.

The main symptoms of aflatoxin poisoning include loss of appetite and yellow discoloration of the eyes (jaundice), typical signs of liver problems.

Serious aflatoxin poisoning can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

The risk of aflatoxin contamination depends on how peanuts are stored, being more common under warm and humid conditions, especially in the tropics.

Aflatoxin contamination can be effectively prevented by proper drying of peanuts after harvest and keeping temperature and humidity low during storage.

Bottom Line: If stored under warm and humid conditions, peanuts can become contaminated with aflatoxin, which may cause liver problems.

NOTE: Do not eat bad/spoiled groundnuts.Always remove them from any pack or wrap you buy and eat only the good ones.This toxins can also be found in other seeds and nuts likes melon seeds(Egusi) ,hence make sure you pick them well before using.

Antinutrients

Peanuts contain a number of so-called antinutrients, substances that impair the absorption of nutrients and reduce nutritional value.

Of the antinutrients in peanuts, phytic acid is particularly noteworthy.

Phytic acid (phytate) is found in all edible seeds, nuts, grains and legumes. In peanuts, it ranges from 0.2-4.5%.

Phytic acid impairs the absorption of iron and zinc from the digestive tract.

Therefore, heavy consumption of peanuts may contribute to deficiencies in these minerals over time.

Phytic acid is usually not a concern in well-balanced diets and among those who eat meat regularly. On the other hand, it may be a problem in developing countries where the main food sources are grains or legumes.

Bottom Line: Peanuts contain phytic acid, which impairs the absorption of iron and zinc.

Peanut Allergy

Peanuts are one of the 8 most common food allergens.

Allergy to peanuts is estimated to affect approximately 1% of Americans.

Peanut allergies may be severe, potentially life-threatening, and peanuts are sometimes considered to be the most severe allergen.

People with peanut allergy should avoid peanuts and peanut products.

Bottom Line: Many people are allergic to peanuts and need to avoid them. Peanut allergy can be life-threatening in severe cases.

Summary

Peanuts are as popular as they are healthy.

They are an excellent plant-based source of protein, and are high in various vitamins, minerals and plant compounds.

They can be useful as a part of a weight loss diet, and may reduce the risk of both heart disease and gallstones.

However, being high in fat, peanuts are a high-calorie food and should not be eaten in excess.

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What do you think about this article and groundnuts? Say your mind in the comments box below

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18456104

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