Health Benefits of Nuts: Peanuts

I visited my mum recently and i needed some tea on a cold morning. Tetrapleura tetraptera (Aridan), pineapple peels, ginger and garlic were available and I gave instructions for them to be cooked. That was the tea we had that day. I like to look for safer substitutes in nature instead of using store bought edibles all the time.

In 1997, while observing the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps program in Garkawa, Plateau State, I saw some strange species of peanuts. Some even had scratches on them! At some point I took advantage of the fact that the nut was in abundance and started experimenting with cooking it with beans and it turned out tasty. In the house where I lived, they made kulikuli and groundnut oil, which are some of its by-products. This week I decided to “come home” after discussing two non-native nuts while talking about groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea), commonly known as groundnut.

Peanuts and peanut products are extremely healthy. They are packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and antioxidants. They are an excellent source of compounds such as resveratrol, phenolic acids, flavonoids and phytosterols. They are also a good source of coenzyme Q10 and contain all 20 amino acids, with arginine being the highest. They are an excellent source of biotin, copper, niacin, folate, manganese, vitamin E, thiamin, phosphorus and magnesium. The skins are considered a low economic value by-product of the peanut industry. However, they contain high levels of bioactive compounds, including catechins and procyanidins, known for their health-promoting properties.

Some of the by-products are peanut oil, peanut flour, peanut soup, and peanut cake (kulikuli). The oil is one of the most commonly used edible oils in the world. It is often used in cooking, making margarines, salad oils, etc. It is sometimes applied directly to the skin for arthritis, joint pain, dry skin, eczema, crusting and flaking of the scalp without hair loss, and other skin disorders that cause flaking. Rectally, it is used in ointments and medicinal oils to treat constipation. It is used in many ways, including in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, soaps, cold creams, ointments, lubricants, paints, emulsions for insect control, and fuel for diesel engines.

They are processed into flour (peanut flour). Flour contains a good amount of protein and has been used to replace animal protein in a variety of products. It mixes well with cereal flour to produce products with excellent flavor, texture and color. Another by-product is peanut butter. It is a paste or food spread made from ground and dry-roasted peanuts. It is usually served as a spread on bread, toast or crackers and used to make sandwiches. There is also a cake from oil extraction which is known as kulikuli. Peanuts are also used for cooking soups.

Let’s see some of its advantages

High in protein: Protein is important for growth and development as well as wound healing, tissue repair, immune function and more. It is also crucial for increasing strength and supporting muscle growth,

Peanuts are an excellent source of protein. According to one study, taking peanut powder supplements increased muscle mass and strength in older adults when combined with resistance training.

Improves sexual function: Peanuts are loaded with arginine; an amino acid that is converted into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a compound that helps dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow and circulation. Studies show that arginine supplements can help treat mild to moderate erectile dysfunction. Other test-tube and animal studies have shown that arginine can improve sperm quality, increase libido, and increase testosterone levels. Peanuts are also a good source of resveratrol, an antioxidant that also promotes sexual health in men. According to some human and animal studies, resveratrol may also improve sperm quality and erectile function. In one research, 83 healthy men followed either a traditional Western-style nut-free diet or a Western-style diet that also included 60 grams (about 360 calories) of a nut mix made from almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts every day.

A questionnaire assessed their current sexual function. After 14 weeks, men in the nut group reported improved sexual function like sex drive and quality of orgasms.

Weightloss: Peanuts have been extensively studied for weight maintenance. In fact, observational studies have shown that eating peanuts can help maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of obesity. A study found that when 89 grams of peanuts were added to the daily diet of healthy adults for eight weeks, they did not gain as much weight as expected. Another study in 65 overweight men found that eating peanuts as part of a calorie-restricted diet increased fat burning and decreased body fat.

Supports heart health: Diet plays a key role in heart health and certain foods, including peanuts, have been shown to lower several risk factors for heart disease. Studies show that replacing carbohydrates or saturated fats in your diet with polyunsaturated fats can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. One study found that eating peanuts and tree nuts at least twice a week was associated with a 13% lower risk of heart disease. Other studies show that eating peanuts may increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which may also benefit heart health. In more than 30,000 postmenopausal women studied, those who ate nuts and seeds, including peanuts more than four times a week, had a 40% lower risk of death from coronary heart disease. This shows that adding a small serving of peanuts to your diet can have a big impact.

Healthier cholesterol levels: In one study, postmenopausal women with high cholesterol who followed a low-fat diet that included healthy fats from peanuts ended up improving their cholesterol levels. They also contain phytosterols which also reduce cholesterol levels.

Protects cells and reduces inflammation: Peanuts (especially the skins) contain resveratrol, a bioactive nutrient with anti-aging properties that protects cells from damage. And the fats in peanuts can help relieve joint pain caused by inflammation and wear and tear over the years.

Reduces the risk of diabetes: Peanuts are a low glycemic index food, which means that eating them will not cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Studies have shown that eating peanuts can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.

Cancer prevention: Resveratrol shows evidence of protection against cancer. Research has shown that for older adults, eating peanut butter may help reduce the risk of developing a certain type of stomach cancer.

Scientific studies

In a study titled “Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Peanut Skin Extracts”, by Lewis et al, this study showed that peanut skin extracts contain high levels of procyanidins and other phenolic compounds, whether extracted with acetone or ethanol. Due to their low cost, peanut skins have great potential to serve as an economical source of natural antioxidants for the food and nutraceutical industries.

Other than boiling and roasting, my favorite way to eat it is to cook it with fresh corn instead of beans. Its good.

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