The Health Benefits of Peanuts
Peanuts Offer a Variety of Health Benefits
The peanut, or Arachis hypogaea, belongs to the legume family and is sometimes referred to as a groundnut. It grows from a plant that reaches almost two feet tall and produces yellowish flowers that are pea-shaped. As these flowers continue to grow, they become too heavy for the plant. Therefore, the flower stalks bend to the ground. “Continued stalk growth then pushes the ovary underground where the mature fruit develops into a legume pod, the peanut” (Wikipedia). The peanut is not really a nut, but an underground bean. While they are not true nuts, they are just as healthy as nuts such as pistachios, cashews, almonds and walnuts.
The consumption of peanuts has been occurring for over 7000 years. This is a snack that is found in many households throughout the world. You can eat these bite-sized snacks right out of the jar, include them as a topping for ice cream, yogurt and other desserts, and use it as a spread for a quick and easy sandwich. It is a popular snack at many Super Bowl parties. You can practically find these in any grocery or convenience store. They are less expensive than the other variety of nuts. However, do not think of peanuts as junk food. These are considered to be one of the healthiest foods since they are loaded with numerous nutrients.
Peanuts Offer Good Fats
Peanuts are a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These are known as the healthy or good fats. You need healthy fats in your daily diet to lower LDL cholesterol, which is the bad cholesterol in your body. This good fat also reduces inflammation in your body and maintains the immune system so it can fight against diseases and infection. Finally, these unsaturated fats allow the phospholipids of your cell membranes to repair and grow cells. Eating peanuts is the way to go if you want a healthier body.
Peanuts Are Loaded With Minerals
Since peanuts are actually a plant food, they contain no cholesterol at all. While you want your body to have higher levels of good cholesterol so it can produce hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, at least when you eat these nuts, you do not get any additional bad cholesterol. When you have too much of this, your arteries become hardened and you become at risk of heart disease. Eating peanuts is good for your heart because it helps maintain and raise the level of good cholesterol and lowers the number of triglycerides found in your blood. Peanuts are loaded with minerals that provide your heart with further protection by lowering blood pressure. These minerals include:
Peanuts Offer Antioxidants
Antioxidants occur naturally in plants. When you eat peanuts, the antioxidants enter your body and help protect it against volatile chemicals which are known as free radicals. These start the process of oxidation of cells, causing them to be damaged. These damaged cells attack the healthy cells in your body. The antioxidants found in peanuts help fight against the damaged cells by slowing down and stopping the oxidation process, thus preventing any further damage.
Peanuts are a major source of the Vitamin B group, especially in Vitamin B3, which is also known as niacin. This vitamin is necessary for the proper function of cellular metabolism and helps repair cells and DNA. It is necessary for brain health and can prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's from developing and reducing the onset of dementia. Niacin also plays a role in stabilizing blood sugar in diabetics. Individuals with this disease will benefit from this healthy snack. Another reason this snack is heart friendly is the niacin helps reduce the amount of plaque build-up and also allows damaged blood vessels to heal.
Peanuts Offer Protein and Fiber
Peanuts have high protein content. If you are into lifting weights and building muscle mass, you need protein in your diet for maximum muscle growth. When you have larger muscles, the body burns more calories. Eating peanut is the way to go if you want to lose weight. Many types of meat and fish products are high in protein. However, vegetarians need to get their protein source from other sources, especially if they only eat plant food. Peanuts provide them with that protein.
If you want a healthy colon and want your large intestine to digest food properly, you need to have fiber in your diet. This is very important to have for good digestive health. Peanuts are high in fiber, with over 9 grams per cup.
Peanuts contain a trace amount of Vitamin D and calcium. Eating peanuts is an excellent way to promote healthy bones and teeth. When you eat healthy levels of both of these, you can prevent osteoporosis later on in life.
If you are pregnant, you will want to do anything to protect your baby from developing birth defects. One important mineral your body needs is folate. Peanuts are high in this.
There are many health benefits to eating peanuts. However, eat them in moderation so you do not gain weight. It is best to eat unsalted peanuts since the sodium found in salt can lead to high blood pressure. Combine them with a wide variety of healthy food, such as fruits, berries and yogurt and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
It is best to store peanuts in a dry area. If they get damp, they can develop a fungus, which can produce aflatoxin. This toxin is dangerous if consumed. If you see any mold on nuts, throw them away. While some people may suggest using nuts that are sold for bird consumption, do not buy them to eat. These nuts may have mold on them. Do not eat peanuts if you are allergic to nuts. This can cause a severe allergic reaction which triggers anaphylaxis and other life-threatening symptoms.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
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© 2017 Lois Ryan