Delicious, crunchy, and nutty peanuts are one of the popular oilseeds known to humankind since centuries. The kernels enriched with many noteworthy health-benefiting nutrients essential for optimum health and wellness. They are actually legumes but carry almost all the qualities of other popular edible nuts such as pistachio, almonds, etc.
Botanically, they are small sized, underground fruit pods of a plant belonging to the Fabaceae family, in the genus, Arachis. Some of the common names are groundnut, earthnuts, etc.
Scientific name: Arachis hypogaea.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||49.24 g||165%|
|Dietary Fiber||8.5 g||22%|
|Pantothenic acid||1.767 mg||35%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin E||8.33 mg||55.5%|
|Peanut kernels in a bowl.||Peanut butter.|
Peanuts can be available in the markets year around. In the stores, different forms; shelled, unshelled, salted, and sweetened can be found for purchase. Try to buy unshelled (intact outer shell) nuts instead of processed ones. They are generally available in airtight packs and 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 a 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.
Peanut kernels usually eaten as 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.
Roasted and crushed kernels often sprinkled over salads, desserts, particularly sundaes and other dairy-based preparations.
Boiled peanuts possess unique flavor and taste. Boiling, in fact, enriches their nutritional and antioxidants profile.
Bumbu kacang (peanut sauce) is a well-known preparation that employs fried peanuts, palm sugar, shallot, galangal, garlic, tamarind, lemon juice, lemongrass, salt, chilli, pepper, sweet soy sauce, ground together and mixed with water to semi-solid texture.
Peanut butter is a food paste prepared from roasted nuts, with or without the addition of oil. It is popular throughout the world and commonly used as dip/spread. Peanut milk is also a favorite lactose-free healthy drink.
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 manifest as severe physical symptoms like vomiting, stomach pain, swelling of lips and throat leading to breathing difficulty, chest congestion, and sometimes death. It is, therefore, advised to avoid any food preparations that contain peanut products in these individuals.
Peanuts are one of the crops that easily susceptible to fungal (mold) infection, especially by Aspergillus flavus which produces aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a potent and dangerous known carcinogen that may cause liver cirrhosis and cancer. Roasting helps reduce toxin levels in these nuts and thus offers some protection against aflatoxin. (Medical disclaimer).
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Refer Stanford Medicine cancer center information page-Nutrition to reduce cancer risk.