I know this sounds like an odd title for a post, but I just wanted to get the word out there. The humble peanut, when consumed in moderation, has a lot of health benefits. I’m grateful for this, because, well, I love peanuts.
What are peanuts?
Did you know that peanuts are not considered part of the nut family? Yes, it’s true. Even though nut is a part of their name, Peanuts actually members of the legume family related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans.
Legumes are edible seeds enclosed in pods. As a group, they provide the best source of concentrated protein in the plant kingdom. Maybe that’s why I’m always pushing lentils on this blog 🙂 In comparison to similar foods, peanuts contain more protein than any other legume or nut. So, the question is: are peanuts good for you?
Although peanuts are known to have high fat content, they are mostly beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (“good” fats), which help lower cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.
One ounce of peanuts (a small handful) contains 2 grams of fiber, which is 9% of your daily fiber need. Also, one ounce of peanuts provides 16% of your daily need of vitamin E. Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant which may prevent heart disease and cancer.
Phytosterols in peanuts have been studied in regards to cancer. They are also known to reduce bad cholesterol, and more good health benefits are found showing that they may inhibit lung, stomach, ovarian, prostate, colon, and breast cancer. Phytosterols may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, their invasion into other parts of the body, and may cut off the blood flow to cancers.
Peanuts are also good sources of niacin, folate, magnesium, potassium and calcium for you. In addition, peanuts provide resveratrol, the phenolic antioxidant also found in red grapes and red wine.
So, the answer to the question is, yes! Peanuts, when consumed in moderation, are good for you.
The health benefits of peanuts are big. Eating a handful of peanuts a day has been found to be a good source of healthy vitamins and minerals that protect our body from many diseases including cancer. The numerous health benefits of peanuts include:
PEANUTS CAN HELP REDUCE HEART DISEASES – One of the health benefits of peanuts is that peanuts contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that keep the heart in good health. A good level of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats results in lowering blood cholesterol levels, and thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases.
PEANUTS CAN HELP PREVENT CANCER – Phytosterols in peanuts have been studied in regards to cancer. Phytosterols may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, their invasion into other parts of the body, and may cut off the blood flow to cancers. They are also known to reduce bad cholesterol. In addition, more health benefits are found showing that they may inhibit lung, stomach, ovarian, prostate, colon, and breast cancer.
PEANUTS ARE HIGH IN PROTEIN – Another of the health benefits of peanut is that it’s loaded in protein. Protein is essential to the health of our cells. The cells in our body are constantly being replaced and repaired. We need protein to ensure the health of the new cells, and repair the damaged ones. Peanuts are an extremely high source of plant protein. Peanuts should be regularly incorporated in diet for children, vegetarians and protein deficient people.
PEANUTS ARE HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANT – You know the benefits of antioxidants to our health. Peanuts contain high concentrations of the antioxidant polyphenols, primarily a compound called p-coumaric acid and oleic acid, which not only protect the heart but also inhibit the growth of free radicals, keeping infection at bay.
PEANUTS ARE A GOOD SOURCE OF MINERALS – Rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, calcium, and sodium. One of the health benefits of peanuts is that peanuts contain adequate supply of these minerals to ensure a healthy heart, and ensure minimized risk of mineral deficient diseases.
PEANUTS ARE GOOD SOURCE OF VITAMINS – Vitamins are important for overall growth and development of a healthy body. Vitamins ensure vital health for cells and tissues, and for fighting infections, etc, that in return ensure smooth functioning of our organs. Peanuts provide our body with essential vitamins, which also help in regulating metabolism, converting fat and carbohydrates into energy, and facilitating bone and tissue formation. A good source of folate, peanuts reduce the incidence of birth defects, and anemia related conditions.
PEANUTS PROMOTE HEALTHY BONES – One of the health benefits of peanuts is that it’s also rich in calcium which helps promotes healthy bones.
PEANUTS PROVIDE PROTECTION AGAINST ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – Peanuts’ high niacin content helps in the recovery of cell damage provides protection against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive problem.
PEANUTS CAN LOWER THE RISK OF COLON CANCER – Studies show that one of the health benefits of peanuts is lowering the risk of colon cancer. It was found that eating peanuts just 2 or more times each week was associated with a 58% lowered risk of colon cancer in women and a 27% lowered risk in men. An ounce of peanuts (a small handful) contains 2 grams of fiber, which is 9% of your daily fiber need.
PEANUTS CAN GREATLY REDUCE THE RISK OF STROKE – Another one of the many health benefits of peanuts is that peanuts contain bioflavonoid resveratrol. Peanuts have been found to have higher bioflavonoid resveratrol content than grapes. This bioflavonoid is believed to improve blood flow in the brain by as much as 30%, thus greatly reducing the risk of stroke.
I know, that’s a ton of information of the humble peanut. This member of the legume family is another reminder to us that good nutrition comes in a variety of sources, not all of which are expensive and/or hard to find. The key to staying healthy is to do everything in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be bad.