BY DR. KHOOBSURAT NAJMA
Whether your goal is weight loss or better overall health, including peanuts in your diet on a regular basis can have rewarding benefits. Not only are peanuts inexpensive, accessible, easy to eat but they also taste awesome!
Peanuts are rich in energy (567 calories per 100 g). They are rich source of vitamin E and many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates. They are also rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
1 . Help maintain weight
People who eat peanuts or peanut butter at least twice a week are less likely to be susceptible to obesity than those who don’t. If you eat peanut butter every morning with bread slices, you have less chances of gaining weight. That is because it fills you up and you tend to binge less through the day.
2 . Lower Cholesterol
They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), especially oleic acid. MUFA helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” level in the blood. This in turn may help to prevent coronary artery disease and stroke risk by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
3 . Prevent ageing
Signs of ageing like wrinkles, discoloration and decreased elasticity are one of our biggest beauty concerns. Peanut contains significant amount of Vitamin C which is required for the production of collagen. Collagen is required to sustain tendons, skin and cartilage. It provides firmness and elasticity to the skin which keeps it young and supple.
4 . Prevent Cancer
Studies have shown that peanuts contain high concentrations of poly-phenolic antioxidants, primarily p-coumaric acid. This antioxidant is found to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by limiting formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach.
Peanuts are an excellent source of resveratrol, another polyphenolic antioxidant. Resveratrol has been found to have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/fungal infections.
5 . Reduce risk of stroke
Studies suggest that resveratrol found in peanuts may reduce risk of stroke by altering molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels and by increasing production of vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
6 . Regulate Blood Sugar
Peanuts have been shown to positively affect blood sugar control and help decrease the risk of diabetes and its complications. Just a small handful of peanuts a day is all that is needed to have an effect.
7 . Fight Depression
Low Serotonin levels lead to depression. Tryptophan in peanuts increases the release of this chemical and thus helps you fight depression.
Suggested Serving Size
Since peanuts are high in fat, moderation is the key (30-45gm a day). Carry a handful of peanuts to your work and have them as an afternoon snack over a cup of green tea.
Peanut kernels can be eaten as such or they can be enjoyed roasted or boiled. It has been found that boiled peanuts have two and four-fold increase in isoflavone antioxidants. Roasting enhances taste, augments antioxidants levels like p-coumaric acid, and helps remove toxic aflatoxin. You could sprinkle roasted and crushed kernels over salads, desserts, breakfast cereals or curd. Or, have them as Peanut chutney, made from these nuts, chili peppers, salt, coriander leaves, garlic and mustard seeds.