I love peanuts, they’re an incredible edible which is actually native to the tropics. The legume most often misconstrued to be a nut is also extremely good for you! Peanuts, whilst being ubiquitously popular as a snack in the UK, are also featured in Asian cooking with satay and chikki (or peanut brittle) ranking amongst the most favourite recipes in the world. So, without further ado, find out what they can do for you with our Top 5 Health Benefits of Peanuts!
1. Great source of protein
Protein is a highly important area of your diet. According to a journal article published by Nova Science in 2014, “Proteins from peanuts have digestibility comparable to that of animal protein”, this means that peanuts are very beneficial when included in a vegan or vegetarian diet. Alongside this, a myriad of different essential amino acids have been discovered in peanuts including methionine, cysteine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, tyrosine, histidine, lysine, threonine, and tryptophan. Methionine, just one of the amazing amino acids in peanuts, has been proven to improve your capillary function.
2. Positive effect on diabetes
Fatty acids like oleic acid are present in peanuts but are perhaps best consumed in an oil form. Peanut oil is high in oleic acid which, according to the same article by Nova Science, ‘demonstrated a positive effect in enhancing insulin production’. This is important when considering the wide reaching impact of diabetes on the UK and US and other western populations. Glutamine is also an important amino acid found in peanuts that has shown positive effects on diabetes sufferers. According to a book published by Elsevier Science & Technology on the subject of diabetes, glutamine had positive effects on diabetes patients due to the effect it has on plasma production. This makes it a powerful antioxidant which can help those who suffer with the disease.
3. Contains Polyphenols
Peanut kernels, whilst having significant nutritional value, are surprisingly not the only source of nutrition within the nut. The skin is actually proven to have 55% of the antioxidant properties of peanuts. The polyphenols in peanut skins have been reported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects.
4. Good for your brain
According to a study published by the Nutritional Neuroscience journal, “Regular peanut consumption improved cerebrovascular and cognitive function” in men and women around the age of 65. The study showed positive effects on short-term memory, verbal fluency, and processing speed due to the high-oleic properties of the peanuts provided during the study. It was suggested that these same high-oleic properties ‘optimize circulatory function in the brain and enhance cognitive function’.
5. Reduces risk of throat cancer
Esophageal Cancer or EC is ranked as one of the most prevalent health malignancies in China making it a priority for research. Peanuts, in a study published by the Thoracic Cancer open source journal, were identified as a nutritional protector against EC to be ‘promoted in high-risk areas’ of China. This is because peanuts contain high amounts of beta-sitosterol which is a phytosterol, many of which have well-documented low-density lipoprotein cholesterol lowering effects.
So, if you’re like me and don’t have a peanut allergy, I’d encourage you to grab a bag of these little roasted legume powerhouses and tuck in for a healthy lunch! If you’re thinking about what to have for breakfast, maybe try a low sugar and salt peanut butter and if you’re stuck for ideas on what to have for dinner, treat yourself to some amazing Asian peanut noodles! Have something uncommon to share about this most common of nuts? Comment below, get nutty with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Get nut-powered with our other NUT-raceutical Top 5’s to help you Keep YOUR Fit ON!)