Eating peanuts often has a bad reputation for a doubtful aperitif. Peanut is the seed contained in the pod of a plant grown in the tropics. In nutrition, peanuts are among the dried fruits, also called oleaginous. In this article, we are presenting the nutritional characteristics and health benefits of peanuts.

1. Peanuts: nutritional characteristics

Peanuts are legumes, each fruit (pod or shell) usually contains two seeds (peanuts). Other legumes include lentils, dry beans, and chickpeas, for example.Peanuts have interesting nutritional characteristics. They are rich in:

  • Vegetable proteins;
  • Fibers;
  • Vitamins: B1 (aneurine), B3 (niacin) also called vitamin PP, B9 (folic acid), vitamin E;
  • Minerals and trace elements, especially copper, zinc and manganese;
  • Lipids (monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids).

Peanuts are free from gluten.The following table shows the nutritional composition per 100 grams of raw peanuts:

2. The benefits of eating peanuts

2.1 High in protein content: Eating peanuts is very common and popular for vegetarians and sportspeople, as they represent a very interesting source of vegetable protein. Peanuts, for example, contain around 22.8% protein, making them one of the most protein-rich foods.For comparison, eating peanuts gives a protein intake similar to that of a turkey cutlet (24.6%) and is even higher than that of a chicken leg (19.3%). Another example: eating peanuts of about 15 grams provides 3.4 grams of protein or as much as a piece of camembert cheese of the same weight (which provides 3.15 grams).2.2 Good quality of lipids: Peanuts are mostly made up of fat (49.1 g / 100 g), which explains their high caloric intake. However, their fats are mainly of unsaturated origin, known for their more favorable action on cardiovascular health.2.3 Lowering blood pressure: The rate of some hormones in the body, such as Angiotensin, may affect the walls of the veins and arteries, which affects blood pressure in them. The resveratrol in peanuts neutralizes hormone levels in the body, which helps lower blood pressure.2.4 Reduces blood cholesterol; eating peanuts keeps the heart healthy.2.5 Protecting and maintaining the skin, as it contains vitamin E.2.6 It works to make the skin more youthful and radiance.2.7 Losing weight: Eating peanuts helps in losing weight by taking a little bit of it as a sub-meal.2.8 Mighty brain work and mental abilities: Eating peanuts with their antioxidants and beneficial fats helps to protect the nerves from damage with age.Numerous studies have found a role for eating peanuts in preventing the risk of developing Alzheimer's, dementia, and other disorders.2.9 Reducing the risk of diabetes: Eating peanuts and peanuts butter can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because it contains high amounts of unsaturated fats and other nutrients that increase the body's ability to regulate insulin action.2.10 Peanuts for a pregnant woman: eating peanuts during pregnancy works to form the spinal cord and prevents birth defects from occurring.

3. Advice and tips for eating peanuts

3.1 Eating peanuts, natural peanuts (unsalted, and not roasted)

Eating natural, unsalted and unroasted peanuts are good for your health, it’s important to remember that salted and roasted peanuts have a composition which makes them less interesting from a nutritional point of view:

  • Salted peanuts are very rich in salt: they can display a content between 0.8 and 2.8 g of salt per 100 grams depending on the brand. A small handful of 15 g can, therefore, bring on its own almost 0.5 g of salt (or 10% of the daily intake). Imagine if you let yourself go on the whole package ... Remember that our food is already very high in salt and that too much salt is associated with health problems such as hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
  • Grilled peanuts: means that they contain carcinogenic particles (just like barbecue food). It's okay if you consume it once in a while, but avoid it for regular consumption.

Advice: Choose natural, unsalted, and unroasted peanuts.

3.2 Be careful of the quantities

Despite their benefits, remember that peanuts are very high in calories. If you pay attention to your weight, make sure you limit yourself to a small handful per day (the equivalent of 15 grams).In addition, contrary to what we hear on the internet, peanuts are not an interesting source of omega-3. They mainly contain omega-6, already present in excess in our food, and which promote inflammation. Even if you are not careful with your weight, avoid eating peanuts excessively. And if we consume it often, we do not forget to balance this intake with sources of omega-3.

3.3 Beware of the risk of allergy

It is already known that the protein intake while eating peanuts can trigger allergies. Peanut allergy is one of the most common (and most severe) food allergies.Advice: Be careful if you already know about an allergy to nuts (nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios).

3.4 Advice to vegetarians

Peanut proteins are not "complete," unlike animal proteins. They don’t contain enough threonine, lysine or methionine. Like all legumes, peanuts must, therefore, be combined with other vegetable protein sources to guarantee sufficient intakes for all amino acids:To cover threonine intake: flax seeds, rapeseed, soybeans, potatoes ...For the lysine intake: chickpeas, mung peas, beans, soybeans ...Covering the methionine intake: sunflower, flax, sesame seeds ...Advice: Protein association doesn’t have to be done during the same meal. It can be carried out without a problem on the following day or meals.Related: Does a vegetable diet reduce the risk of diabetes and heart diseases?4. Peanuts side effectsEating peanuts has multiple benefits, yet its intake may be related to many side effects, such as:

  • Runny nose.
  • Skin reactions, such as redness or swelling.
  • Itching and tingling in the mouth and throat.
  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, or vomiting.
  • Narrowing of the throat.
  • Shortness of breath or wheezing.
  • Anaphylaxis causes constriction of the respiratory airways, a sharp drop in blood pressure, an acceleration of the heartbeat, dizziness, or loss of consciousness.

We wish that this article helped you to well understand the advantages and dangers of eating peanuts. Come back soon for more!!

Originally published on Live Positively.