The Various Health Benefits of Peanuts
Peanuts have a bad reputation, mostly because of their high fat and calorie content. However, over the years, scientists have proven that peanuts are actually good for the body, so long as they are consumed in the right amounts (just like any other food!).
So don’t dismiss the humble peanut just yet. These legumes are chock-full of nutritional benefits, which come with the added bonus of not being a huge contributor to weight gain. That’s because they are much more filling compared to other snacks, making you feel fuller for much longer.
You also have various alternatives if you don’t like snacking on peanuts, plain or otherwise. There is, of course, the ever-popular bread spread, peanut butter. If you’re a fan of milk, you might find that high-quality peanut milk is a creamy, tasty alternative. Peanuts are also wonderful additions to a great variety of dishes, including salads and desserts.
With the concern regarding the ways of consumption out of the way, let’s now delve deeper to the various health benefits of nuts.
Peanuts are Full of Monounsaturated Fats
As mentioned earlier, peanuts got their undeserved “unhealthy” tag because they contain high amounts of fat. However, what most people don’t consider is that a majority of the fat in peanuts are actually the heart-healthy ones. In fact, peanuts have a similar fat profile to olive oil — about 80 percent unsaturated fat and 20 percent saturated fat. Peanuts contain a huge amount of monounsaturated fats, sometimes called MUFAs, which have been scientifically linked to lower risks of cardiovascular disease. MUFAs also help clear the arteries, thus promoting better blood flow throughout the body.
Peanuts are Low in Carbohydrates
Based on total weight, peanuts contain around only 13 to 16 percent of carbohydrates. Coupled with their high fat, protein, and fiber content, peanuts have a low glycemic index. This is simply a way to measure how fast the carbohydrates in food or drinks enter the bloodstream after you consume them. So if you have diabetes, you can snack on peanuts without worrying about spiking blood sugar levels. Again, just remember to consume them in moderation — that’s about 1 to 2 ounces, or about 30 to 60 pieces of peanuts.
Peanuts are High in Protein
If you don’t have any allergies, peanuts are a good source of protein. They contain around 25 grams of protein per 100 grams, which is higher compared to most tree nuts. The protein from peanuts also come with the additional benefit of extra components like arginine, one of the building blocks of protein. Arginine plays a crucial role in wound healing, cell division, and immune function. This amino acid is also a precursor to nitric oxide, making arginine and important contributor to a healthier blood pressure.
Peanuts are High in Copper
Copper is a trace mineral, which is probably why people often overlook its importance. But copper is an essential micronutrient that plays a big role in various physiological processes. For one, copper is vital to the nervous system, so that neurons can continue to create healthy myelin sheaths. These “cases” for the nerves’ axons help increase the speed by which our nerves transmit signals. It is not surprising, therefore, that copper is believed to be crucial in protecting the body against neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, copper also helps govern the body’s energy production process.
So just how much copper do peanuts contain? One quarter cup of peanuts has about 0.42 micrograms of this nutrient, which is already 47 percent of the recommended daily value.
Peanut is Rich in Biotin
Peanuts contain a whopping 88 percent of the recommended daily value of biotin. You might have heard of this nutrient before, as an additional ingredient in shampoos to strengthen hair. But apart from making your locks healthier, biotin, which is part of the B-vitamins family, is also an important nutrient in gene expression. Gene expression, simply explained, is the process where the information from our genes is used to create functional gene products like new and younger skin cells.
Peanuts Have the Same Antioxidants as Red Wine
You read that right — peanuts actually contain resveratrol, the same antioxidant that red wine is well-known for. Resveratrol has been linked with increased blood flow to the brain, which decreases the risk of stroke and promotes overall brain health. This antioxidant is also under study due to its potential for lowering blood pressure.
The bottomline? Peanuts are healthier than you think. Snack on them, drink peanut milk, use them to garnish or add some crunch to your recipes — whatever way or form you eat or drink them, it’s about time to add more peanuts to your diet.