Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), which also goes by several other names such as peanuts, earthnuts, monkey nuts, pinders, etc. is actually a legume that grows in the ground. It is a common sight during the rainy season to see little children hawking boiled groundnuts on the streets. A lot of people may be reluctant to buy a cup or two from off the streets but that should change right after you know the benefits associated with these nuts.
Groundnuts along with peas and beans are among the best sources of protein in the plant kingdom and they are also super high in polyphenols; the chief of the antioxidant group. Although peanuts are high in fat, like avocados, they are high in the “good” kind of fat – monounsaturated fat. They also contain magnesium, foliate, vitamin E, copper, arginine, and fibre – all of which are known to lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease. The nuts are really rich with significant, beneficial nutrients that are essential for optimum health. Some of these benefits are:
- Reduces the risk of colon cancer: A number of studies have shown that nutrients found in groundnuts, including folic acid, phytosterols, phytic acid and resveratrol, may have anti-cancer effects. Eating groundnuts just 2 or more times each week has been associated with a 27% lowered risk of colon cancer in men and about twice that figure in women.
- They contain antioxidants: Groundnuts contain high concentrations of the antioxidant polyphenols, primarily a compound called p-coumaric acid and oleic acid, which not only protect the heart but impede the growth of free radicals, keeping infections at bay. They also lessen the risk of stomach cancer by preventing the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach.
- They contain Vitamin B3 which boosts memory and helps lower cholesterol: The same nutrient which gives groundnuts their memory boosting power also helps reduce and control cholesterol levels. Added to that is their copper content which aids in reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol levels.
- Cardiovascular advantages: Regular intake of groundnuts helps to lessen the effects of aging whilst preventing several cardiovascular challenges such as stroke, heart attack and hardened arteries.
- Helps to prevent blood related problems: Groundnuts and groundnut products are very beneficial in the treatment of haemophilia and other related blood disorders. People suffering from nose bleeding also gain from eating groundnuts and it is also helpful in reducing excessive menstruation bleeding in women.
- They help to combat depression: Peanuts are good sources of tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is important for the production of serotonin, one of the key brain chemicals involved in mood regulation. When depression occurs, a decreased amount of serotonin may be released from the nerve cells in the brain. Tryptophan may raise serotonin’s antidepressant effects when there is an increased amount of serotonin in the blood.
- They are generally rich in vitamins and minerals: Groundnuts are rich vitamins and contain at least 13 different types of vitamins that include Vitamin A, B, C and E. Added to this, groundnuts are also rich in 26 essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, boron, etc. The cocktail of all these vitamins and minerals will help in brain function and development, strengthening your bones and purifying your blood.
- Lowers Risk of Weight Gain: Eating nuts regularly is associated with a reduced risk of weight gain. Research has shown that people who eat nuts at least twice weekly are much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never eat them.
It is important to note that allergic reactions can occur with virtually any food and as such, it is best you know your system and what goes down well with you. Groundnuts can be enjoyed raw, roasted, boiled and fried, as additives to chocolates, gravy or cookies and in peanut butter spread. Whichever way you choose to prepare your groundnut, just make sure you savour every moment of it.