Why have we been told so little about the nutritional properties of peanuts for decades? This food, also known as ‘peanuts’, is a nut that belongs to the family of legumes.
This type of legume is the best source of protein among vegetables. Currently, the food industry has introduced peanuts into a wide variety of products that can be found in any supermarket: you can buy salted, raw, boiled and dried peanuts. But they are also present in countless recipes, sauces and creams, in nougat, butter, sweets and in nut cocktails served to us in any bar or restaurant.
For every 100 grams of peanuts, their nutritional intake is as follows:
- Calories: 567
- Fat: 49 g
- Protein: 25 g
- Carbohydrates: 17 g
Nutritional properties and benefits of peanuts
The bad name of peanuts is due not to their nutritional properties, which are many and valuable, but to the fact that they have been introduced in food products of little reputation, with excess of salt and saturated fats.
However, this nut, if consumed without additives, is a natural source of health . In this article we will review its benefits and properties.
1. Controls blood sugar
A handful of peanuts provides us with 35% of the recommended amount of manganese , a very important mineral that helps us to metabolize carbohydrates and fats. In addition, manganese is involved in the absorption of calcium and helps us regulate blood sugar levels.
2. Prevents complications during pregnancy
You have surely heard about the vital importance of folic acid during pregnancy . Many scientific studies have shown that women who ingest at least 500 milligrams of folic acid during pregnancy reduce the chances of the fetus having serious alterations in the neural tube. The differences, according to these studies, were more than 70% in favor of those who took this amount of folic acid. Well, peanuts are rich in this nutrient.
3. Prevents the appearance of gallstones
It may seem strange to us that a food with the bad reputation of being especially rich in fat has this magnificent property . But it is true: the moderate consumption of peanuts helps our organism to reduce the possibility of suffering from gallstones by up to 30%. Eating between 70 and 100 grams of peanuts gives us an extra dose of immunity against this disorder.
4. Power the memory
Our mental and cognitive health also benefits from eating peanuts . Peanuts have key nutrients, vitamin 3 and niacin, that provide better health for our neurons, which ultimately enhances the ability to retain data.
5. Regulates cholesterol levels
The same nutrients that protect our brain are those that help us, in turn, to regulate and maintain optimal cholesterol levels . In addition, the copper content of the peanuts prevents the levels of bad cholesterol from skyrocketing and at the same time increases the levels of good cholesterol.
6. Prevents and combats symptoms of depression
We have talked many times about depression, its causes and its common symptoms. One of the nutrients that help enormously to avoid or overcome this psychological picture is tryptophan, an essential amino acid that regulates the production of serotonin, a hormone that, among other things, improves our state of mind and brings us well-being.
People suffering from depression have lower than normal levels of serotonin. Thanks to tryptophan we can get our brain to produce more of this hormone .
7. Protects heart health
Research in the field of cardiology has shown that eating peanuts is often associated with a lower incidence of heart disorders . The antioxidants and good fats contained in these nuts, in addition to monounsaturated oleic acid, which is one of the main nutrients that protect the heart.
8. Improves cognitive health and prevents dementia
Niacin, present in peanuts, is one of the most important nutrients for the health of our neural connections . People who consume this nutrient are up to 65% less likely to suffer from cognitive disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. A small handful of peanuts a day provides up to 30% of the recommended daily value of niacin.
9. Protects against some types of cancer
Have you heard of phytosterols? One of them, beta-sitoserol, can be found in many vegetable oils, legumes, seeds and other types of vegetables, and also in peanuts. This substance is directly related to the prevention of oncological diseases, since it inhibits the development of certain tumours.
10. Helps to lose weight
Surely it may come as a surprise that a particularly fatty food can help us to lose weight . However, several studies have found that people who eat nuts a couple of times a week tend to have a lower propensity to gain weight, compared to those who rarely or never eat them.
A delicious ingredient to keep in mind
As we have seen, among the properties of the peanut we find several that refer to the fact that it is a source of healthy fats, but it is also easy to use this ingredient in many dishes. Whether in its original form or through peanut butter, we can use it as a complement in snacks, desserts and first courses.
- Bao, Y.; Han, J.; Hu, F. B.; Giovannucci, E. L.; Stampfer, M. J.; Willett, W. C.; Fuchs, C. S. (2013). Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. New England Journal of Medicine. 369 (21): 2001–2011.
- Martinez-Carter, K. (2014). As American as peanut butter. Pacific Standard.