Peanut or ground nut (Mungfali in Hindi) is a plant that belongs to the pea family with distinctive seeds that grow underground. Peanuts are a delicious and popular snack. Its an annual herb that can grow up to a height of 1.5 feet. It has leaves with four leaflets and clusters of orange veined yellow flowers arranged in spikes. It also has skin pods containing edible pink skinned nuts. Peanuts can be eaten raw, boiled, roasted or fried. They are used in many recipes, chutneys and sauces. Peanut oil and peanut butter is also extracted from the seeds. Peanuts are grown in India, China South East Asia, West Africa, U S, Sudan among other countries.
Chemical composition: Carbohydrate, protein, mono unsaturated fats (MUFA), fibre, Vitamin B, E and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Medical benefits: Peanuts are extremely good for digestion. They help reducing constipation, treating stomach problems such as IBS. They also reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
Peanuts contain high-quality proteins and amino acids and are beneficial for general body growth and development. Boiled peanuts are even more nutritious because boiling increases antioxidant levels.
Peanuts also contain Vitamin E, which controls cell damage by free radicals, reduces cholesterol, improves blood circulation, strengthens the heart, prevents stroke, keeps the brain healthy and prevent blood clot formation in brain. It also helps delay the aging process and keeps skin healthy. Antioxidants help prevents Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, heart diseases, viral infections, nerve problems and other such aging problems.
Peanut butter is also a very popular. It is quite healthy because it is extracted from the skin of nuts, hence contains minerals and fiber. It reduces constipation, controls blood sugar levels, lowers cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis and colon cancer. Peanut butter also contains iron which helps in anemia and calcium for strengthening bones.
Peanut oil is used in cooking. It has a good shelf life and does not get rancid quickly. It contains useful proteins, amino acids, unsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E which makes it very nutritious. It protects the heart and lowers cholesterol (LDL) without lowering (HDL). Lemon juice added to peanut oil helps reduces acne. Peanut oil also improves insulin sensitivity in diabetes.
Contraindications: Some people may suffer from peanut allergy which causes stomach-ache, swelling of lips, skin surrounding eyes, diarrhoea and other allergic symptoms.