The botanical name is Arachishypogaea, groundnut belongs to the pea family. Although small in size, the plant is a variable annual herb, which grows up to 50 cm in height. Some say it is the cheapest nut available, groundnut is available in major cities and towns in Nigeria; they are either sold in the markets or hawked on the streets.
We eat groundnut in many forms, boiled, fried, baked and many more. Groundnuts come in easy to crack shells and can only be consumed when the outer layer is removed. Groundnuts are a healthy snack; in fact, they are an important source of nutrition in underdeveloped countries. Some of the vast range of benefits includes:
- Helps to prevent Gallstones
Consumption of peanuts can help prevent gallstones. According to studies, eating an ounce of peanuts can lower the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
- Healthy food for Obesity
Groundnuts are considered beneficial for the treatment of obesity. Researches and experiments have shown that the regular and limit intake of boiled or roasted peanuts on daily bases reduces weight, and also decreases appetite.
- Treats Oral disorders
Chewing fresh groundnuts with a pinch of salt strengthens the gum and teeth as well. It also cures stomatitis, kills harmful bacteria and safeguards the enamel of the teeth.
· Fights against Cancer
Legumes like peanuts have a high concentration of a form of phytosterol called beta-sitosterol (SIT). These phytosterols protect against cancer by inhibiting tumour growth. A research conducted in the United States observed that men and women who consumed peanuts at least twice a week respectively had 27% and 58% lower risk of getting colon cancer.
· Improves Memory
Often called the “brain food” groundnuts contain Vitamin B3 or niacin which improves brain functioning and boosts memory. They also contain a flavonoid called resveratrol which helps in improving blood flow to the brain by 30%.
· Help Fight Depression
Serotonin is one of the key brain chemicals involved in mood regulation. Inadequate secretion of serotonin by the nerve cells in the brain is responsible for causing depression. Peanuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan which aids the release of serotonin, thus helping you fight depression. It can further raise serotonin anti-depressant effects when there is an increased serotonin formation in the blood.
· Prevents Diabetes
According to a recent study, a serving of peanut can lower the risk of diabetes by 21%. This can be attributed to the presence of manganese, a mineral that plays an important role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation.
· Eating groundnuts during pregnancy lowers risk of allergic disease
Certain studies have shown that women who consumed 400 grams of folic acid before or during early pregnancy had up to 70% lower risk of having a baby born with neural tube defect. Eating peanuts during pregnancy can also lower the risk of allergic diseases, like asthma, in children.
- Acts as a beauty aid
If you want a healthier and beautiful skin, then you should consider groundnuts in your diet. One can also apply pure groundnut oil, mixed with lime juice on your body for a bright and radiant skin.
Compiled by Gabriel Ifinnwa