Peanuts nutrition facts

Delicious, crunchy, and nutty peanuts are one of the popular oil seeds known to humankind since ancient times. The nuts are enriched with many noteworthy health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health. They are actually legumes but have almost all the qualities that true nuts like almonds have. Botanically, the nuts are small size fruit pods of plant belonging to the Fabaceae family of the genus, Arachis. Some of the common names are groundnut, earthnuts, etc. Scientific name: Arachis hypogaea.

Health benefits of Peanuts
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Peanuts are rich in energy and contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. They compose sufficient levels of mono-unsaturated fatty acids especially oleic acid. It helps to lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increases HDL or "good cholesterol” level in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile. These nuts are a good source of dietary protein compose fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth and development. Research studies have shown that peanuts contain high concentrations of poly-phenolic antioxidants, primarily p-coumaric acid. This compound has been thought to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by limiting the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in the stomach. Peanuts are an excellent source of resveratrol, another polyphenolic antioxidant. Resveratrol has been found to have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease, and viral/fungal infections. Furthermore, studies suggest that resveratrol reduce stroke risk by altering molecular mechanisms in the blood vessels (reducing susceptibility to vascular damage through decreased activity of angiotensin, a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure), and by increasing production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide. Recent research studies suggest that boiling enhances antioxidant concentration in the peanuts. It has been found that boiled peanuts have two and four-fold increase in isoflavone antioxidants biochanin-A and genistein content, respectively. The nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E (a-tocopherol); containing about 8 g per100 g. vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant which helps maintain the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen free radicals. The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. 100 g of peanuts provide about 85% of RDI of niacin, which contribute to brain health and blood flow to brain. The nuts are rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.

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Just a hand full of peanuts per day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients: Groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea), All types, Nutritional value per 100 g.

(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base) Nutrient Value
567 Kcal

Principle

Percentage of RDA
29%

Energy

Carbohydrates

16.13 g

12%

Protein

25.80 g

46%

Total Fat

49.24 g

165%

Cholesterol

0 mg

0%

Dietary Fiber

8.5 g

22%

Vitamins
Folates 240 µg 60%

Niacin

12.066 mg

75%

Pantothenic acid

1.767 mg

35%

Pyridoxine

0.348 mg

27%

Riboflavin

0.135 mg

10%

Thiamin

0.640 mg

53%

Vitamin A

0 IU

0%

Vitamin C

0

0%

Vitamin E

8.33 mg

55.5%

Electrolytes
Sodium 18 mg 1%

Potassium

705 mg

15%

Minerals
Calcium 92 mg 9%

Copper

1.144 mg

127%

Iron

4.58 mg

57%

Magnesium

168 mg

42%

Manganese

1.934 mg

84%

Phosphorus

76 mg

54%

Selenium

7.2 µg

13%

Zinc

3.27 mg

30%

Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 0 µg --

Crypto-xanthin-ß

0 µg

--

Lutein-zeaxanthin

0 µg

--

Selection and storage
Peanuts are available in the markets year around. In the store, different forms; shelled, unshelled, salted, sweetened etc are available. Try to buy unshelled (intact outer cover) nuts instead of processed ones. They are generally available in the airtight packs as well as in bulk bins. The pods should feature compact, off white color, healthy-looking shell, uniform in size, and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mold, and spots and free of rancid smell. Unshelled groundnuts can be placed in cool dry place for many months, whereas shelled (without the shell) nuts should be placed inside airtight container and kept in the refrigerator to avoid them turn rancid.

Preparation and serving methods
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Peanut is usually eaten as it is, by cracking them with firm pressure between fingers or using clippers, or nutcracker machine. The nuts can also be enjoyed roasted, boiled, salted, or sweetened. They are nutty, yet pleasantly sweet in taste. Roasting enhances taste, augments antioxidants levels like p-coumaric acid, and helps remove toxic aflatoxin. Boiled peanuts possess unique flavor and taste. Boiling, in fact, enriches their nutritional and antioxidants profile. Peanut butter is a food paste made from ground-roasted nuts, with or without added oil. It is popular throughout the world and commonly used as spread. Peanut-milk is also a popular lactose-free milk like healthy drink. Peanut oil is another healthy source of edible cooking oil like soy or olive oils. It is widely used in cooking for its aromatic flavor, especially in many South Indian states and Sri Lanka. Roasted and crushed nuts often sprinkled over salads, desserts, particularly sundaes and other ice cream based preparations. Peanut “chutney” or paste, made from these nuts, chili peppers, salt, coriander leaves, garlic and mustard seeds, is a popular preparation among south Indian, Sri Lanka region. Roasted and split nuts are a great addition onto tossed salads.

Safety profile
Peanut allergy is a type of hypersensitivity response in some people to food substances prepared using these nuts. The resultant over-reaction of the immune system may lead to severe physical symptoms like vomiting, pain abdomen, swelling of lips and throat leading to breathing difficulty,

chest congestion, and death. It is therefore, advised to avoid any food preparations that contain peanut products in these individuals. Peanuts are one of the crops that are susceptible to fungal (mold) infection, especially by aflatoxin producing member aspergillus flavus. Aflatoxin is a very powerful and dangerous known carcinogen that may cause liver cirrhosis and cancer. Roasting helps to reduce the toxin levels in these nuts and thus offers some protection against aflatoxin.

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