peanuts

What Are The Health Benefits Of Peanuts?

Numerous advantages of peanuts might convince you to incorporate them into your diet. Peanuts, scientifically known as Arachis hypogea, are rich in vital nutrients. They’re commonly consumed either raw or roasted and are referred to by various names like goobers, groundnuts, and earth nuts. If you’re curious about the benefits of peanuts, they offer the body all 20 amino acids, with arginine being the predominant one, which bolsters the immune system. Moreover, they’re abundant in minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds that promote overall health. A diet abundant in peanuts may enhance heart health, aid in weight loss, prevent gallstones, and regulate blood sugar levels.

Benefits

May Enhance Sperm Quantity

Recent research sheds light on the potential advantages of peanuts in enhancing male reproductive health. In a comprehensive 14-week investigation known as the FERTINUTS trial, 119 healthy men aged 18-35 were divided into two groups: one followed a Western-style diet supplemented with 60 g of nuts daily, while the other adhered to the same diet but excluded nuts. The findings revealed that the group incorporating nuts experienced notable improvements in various conventional semen parameters, such as total sperm count, vitality, motility, and sperm morphology. Although further research is necessary to validate these results, it underscores the significance of a balanced diet, where peanuts could potentially contribute to supporting male reproductive health.

Potential Enhancement of Hair Health

While there’s limited scientific evidence directly linking peanuts to hair growth, their rich amino acid profile and abundant protein content suggest they could serve as a beneficial addition to a diet aimed at promoting healthy hair growth.

Potential Support for Skin Health

According to anecdotal evidence, including peanuts in your diet might offer protection against sunburn and skin damage. Peanuts contain vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc, which could combat bacteria and enhance skin radiance. Additionally, beta-carotene, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in peanuts, may contribute to improved skin health. Nonetheless, scientific research on this topic remains limited.

Potential Defense Against Alzheimer’s Disease

Niacin-rich foods, such as peanuts, may offer protection against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Peanuts are a notable source of niacin and vitamin E, both of which have demonstrated protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease. A study involving 4,000 individuals aged 65 years and older revealed that niacin obtained from food can decelerate the rate of cognitive decline.

Possess Antioxidant Qualities

Peanuts are abundant in various plant compounds and antioxidants, with many of these compounds concentrated in the peanut skin. To fully reap their benefits, it’s recommended to consume peanuts with their skin intact. Among the plant compounds present in peanuts are resveratrol, coumaric acid, and phytosterols, which can help hinder cholesterol absorption. Additionally, peanuts contain isoflavones and phytic acid commonly found in plant seeds.

Potential Alleviation of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Research in this area is limited. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that peanuts might have a positive impact on treating PCOS due to their content of monounsaturated fats. Some studies indicate that a diet rich in these fats may contribute to enhancing the metabolic profile of women diagnosed with PCOS.

Potential Energy Enhancement

Peanuts provide a substantial amount of protein and fiber, which aids in converting carbohydrates into energy. Approximately 25% of the total calories in peanuts come from protein. The combination of fiber and protein in peanuts slows down digestion, promoting a steady release of energy throughout the body. Dietitian Nutritionist Eva De Angelis notes, “Their nutrient composition also makes them excellent pre-workout snacks, particularly peanut butter without added sugar, salt, or oils, which is more convenient to consume.” However, further research is necessary to fully comprehend this potential benefit of peanuts.

Potential Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction

Peanuts contain a significant amount of arginine, an essential amino acid. Arginine has been extensively researched as a potential remedy for erectile dysfunction.

Further investigation is needed to determine whether arginine alone can effectively treat erectile dysfunction. However, studies have shown that combining oral administration of this amino acid with a herbal supplement called pycnogenol can be effective in treating erectile dysfunction.

Potential Cancer Risk Reduction

Consuming peanuts, along with other nuts, has been linked to a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. The presence of isoflavones, resveratrol, and phenolic acid in peanuts suggests they possess anticancer properties that may contribute to lowering cancer risk.

A study carried out in The Netherlands revealed that peanut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Additionally, peanuts have shown potential in preventing gastric and esophageal cancers among older adults in the United States. Comparatively, individuals who abstained from consuming any nuts or peanut butter were found to have the highest risk of developing these cancers.

However, there is a cancer-related concern regarding peanuts. They may contain aflatoxins, toxins produced by certain fungi, which could elevate the risk of liver cancer. A study by the University of Georgia in the USA discovered that the resveratrol present in peanuts exhibits potent antioxidant properties that aid in reducing cancer risk.

Potential Assistance in Blood Sugar Regulation

Incorporating peanuts or peanut butter into a meal is known not to cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. When consumed alongside a meal with a high glycemic load (GL), such as a bagel or a glass of juice, peanuts can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Peanuts have a glycemic index (GI) score of 14, indicating their minimal impact on blood sugar levels. Despite their low GI, peanuts have a glycemic load (GL) of only 1, which signifies how a particular food affects blood sugar levels. This is why the American Diabetes Association recognizes peanuts as a superfood for diabetes management. The presence of fiber in peanuts aids in lowering blood sugar levels, while their content of magnesium and other healthy oils also contribute to this effect.

Potential Gallstone Prevention

Including peanuts in your diet has been associated with a decreased risk of developing gallstones. A study carried out by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston revealed that consuming peanuts may reduce the likelihood of gallstone formation. Men who consume five or more servings of nuts, including peanuts, per week, exhibit a lower risk of gallstone disease.

Similarly, women who consume five or more servings of nuts per week have a reduced risk of undergoing cholecystectomy, which is the surgical removal of the gallbladder. However, further long-term studies are necessary to fully comprehend this potential benefit of peanuts.

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Potential Support for Weight Loss

Despite being calorie-dense, peanuts have been linked to weight loss rather than weight gain. As energy-dense foods, consuming peanuts as a snack may lead to a reduction in calorie intake later in the day. Snacking on peanuts has been found to evoke greater feelings of fullness compared to consuming them with a meal, potentially contributing to weight loss. Several studies have indicated that higher consumption of nuts, including peanuts, is not associated with increased body weight gain and may even assist in weight management.

Incorporating peanuts into your diet is a means of boosting nutrient intake without promoting weight gain. Additionally, research suggests that consuming peanuts and peanut butter can enhance feelings of satiety, potentially satisfying individuals more effectively than carbohydrate-rich snacks in equivalent quantities.

Potential Heart Health Benefits

Incorporating peanuts into your diet could potentially contribute to the prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). Research conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that peanuts may have a cholesterol-lowering effect, particularly on LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels are associated with plaque formation in blood vessels, a precursor to heart disease, which peanuts may help prevent. Additionally, studies on rats have indicated that peanut skin extract, rich in polyphenols, could mitigate the inflammation implicated in heart disease.

The presence of resveratrol in peanuts offers antioxidant properties that may combat heart disease. Consequently, peanuts appear to share similar cardioprotective effects as other resveratrol-containing foods.

Varieties of Peanuts

As per the National Peanuts Board, there are four primary types of peanuts: runner peanuts, Virginia peanuts, Spanish peanuts, and Valencia peanuts. These varieties come in different forms such as raw, in-shell, shelled, dry-roasted, and oil-roasted. Among these, raw peanuts are considered the healthiest, offering numerous health benefits.

Peanut butter is available in various forms, including salted or unsalted, chunky or creamy. Opting for raw peanuts is advisable if sourced from a trusted seller, although it’s important to exercise caution.

Bottom Line

Peanuts offer a variety of health advantages. These flavorful nuts serve as a nutritious supplement to your diet, boasting a wealth of valuable minerals, vitamins, and plant-based compounds. When enjoyed in moderation, peanuts can support cardiovascular health, skin and hair vitality, weight management, gallstone prevention, cognitive function enhancement, and reduction of harmful cholesterol levels and cancer risk. However, excessive consumption may lead to allergic responses, aflatoxin exposure, and hindered iron absorption. Therefore, it’s advisable to exercise caution when incorporating peanuts into your diet.

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