Why Peanuts Deserve to Be on Your Must-Snack List

Did you know peanuts are NOT nuts?

Shraddha Varma

Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, there is absolutely no reason for you to shun this legume. This article will give you plenty of reasons to rethink that faux aversion to peanuts. Also known as groundnuts, the crunchy legumes are an excellent source of plant-based protein, fibre, and important vitamins and minerals. Owing to these nutrients, the tiny-but-mighty snack packs a healthy punch giving you multiple reasons to chow down on them.


Peanuts fights PMS

When PMS strikes, with it strikes the craving for unhealthy foods. But, rather than giving into the chips-and-chocolates hankerings, chomp on peanuts or better still, peanut butter! Celebrity nutrition expert and author Suman Agarwal believes both peanuts and peanut butter are mighty weapons against PMS angst. “The polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) in peanuts keep your hormones in check. Plus, these legumes are high in vitamin B6 and magnesium—the former helps combat depression and latter improves mood and affects water retention,” explains the expert while talking about the health benefits of peanuts.



Keep your heart-healthy

Peanuts have a bad rep because of their high fat content. But, in reality, research studies on and around the health benefits of peanuts indicate they contain a number of heart-healthy nutrients such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (including oleic acid), vitamins and minerals (copper, niacin, magnesium), and antioxidants. According to Delhi-based nutritionist Kavita Devgan, oleic acid cuts cholesterol in the body and helps fight inflammation that can be a cause for heart conditions.



Peanuts lower risk of weight gain

If eaten in the right amount, peanuts can help you maintain a healthy weight  (ideal weight, according to your BMI. The healthy fats, , carbohydrates, and protein in peanuts are known to increase satiety, shares Agarwal. Peanuts will keep you full for longer, helping you avoid cravings. She also mentions that peanuts boost metabolism, which is known to promote weight loss to an extent. A 2009 research study from US shows that people who ate nuts, including peanuts, at least twice a week had a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity than those who rarely ate these.


Healthy skin with peanut skin

The secret lies in the skin of raw peanut, which lies between the outer shell and the peanut It is high on cell-defending antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radical damage. But wait, it’s not just the antioxidants but also the unsaturated fatty acids–mainly, oelic acid and niacin–that give you a healthy skin by protecting it from sun damage. They even protect collagen-making cells called fibroblasts, which help reduce fine lines. 



Peanuts are diabetes-friendly 

Agarwal recommends peanuts to people suffering from diabetes. Being high on fibre and protein and low on carbohydrates, peanuts have a low glycemic index (GI). The GI is a measure of how quickly carbs enter your bloodstream after a meal. The protein takes longer to break down in the body, while the fibre slows down digestion as a result, peanuts do not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels.

How much to eat:

To enjoy the benefits, a fistful of groundnuts or a spoonful of peanut butter on a daily basis is more than enough, in case you are looking for a healthy snack. Any more than it will do you harm than help.  



How to eat:

Peanuts can be included in various forms to different meal courses or just eaten as a snack during the day. You can add peanut to your breakfast (think poha, upma, and more), use it as a salad dressing for lunch, or just dip a bunch of fruit or vegetable sticks in some peanut butter and eat while you binge-watch. So, are you ready to reap the health benefits of eating peanuts?


Image: Shutterstock.com

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