Deliciously crunchy and nutty, peanuts make for an amazing snack any time of the year. In winters though, nuts become even more sought after, we love how a handful of nuts can add a delectable crunch to just about anything. Did you know that groundnuts, also know as earthnut, monkey nut or goober peas, do not belong to the Nut family? They are, in fact, a member of the legume family, just like peas and beans. Most Indian households enjoy peanuts in chutneys, desserts like chikki, and snacks like sabudana khichdi and poha among others.
These nuts cum legumes have various health promoting properties that are often lesser known. Peanuts like legumes have loads of protein content, healthy fat and are low in carbohydrates. They are also a rich source of minerals including copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium, all of which are essential to maintain a healthy body.
Health benefits of Peanuts1. Heart-friendly The presence of high levels of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts help to keep the heart healthy. Oleic acid in peanuts also helps to lower the bad cholesterol and in turn increase the good cholesterol levels in the blood, only to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by promoting healthy blood lipid profile. 2. Brain food It is due to the presence of vitamin B3 or niacin that helps improve the functioning of the brain and further boosts memory. They also contain a flavonoid known as resveratrol that helps in improving blood flow to the brain. 3. Aids weight loss The combination of fiber, fat and protein in peanuts helps keep you full for longer and lowers your appetite. This way, you skip the unnecessary hunger pangs and crave less for junk food that further leads to weight loss. Peanuts are also a good source of energy that help increase the metabolic rate. 4. Helps deal with stress and anxiety Stress and anxiety are two symptoms of depression; thanks to the amino acid known as tryptophan present in peanuts, which helps in releasing serotonin, a brain chemical that is involved in mood regulation. This compound further helps in keeping you calm and mentally aware. 5. One of the best snacks for diabetics Peanuts make a great snack option for diabetics due to the presence of manganese, a mineral that plays an important role in metabolizing fat and carbohydrate, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. They are known to have a low glycemic index that makes it a perfect go-to snack for diabetics. 6. Good for skin and hair The monounsaturated fats and vitamins present in peanuts make them beneficial for the skin. It is also known to contain vitamin C and E that help delay visible signs of ageing. It also contains resveratrol that acts as a potent anti-ageing phytochemical, which also gives you clear and glowing skin. On the other hand, peanuts are good sources of B-vitamins that convert in to biotin only to induce hair growth.
While peanuts are healthy, they should be accompanied with other nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashew nuts so as to balance the amount of nutrients going in to the body. A handful of all these nuts, in addition to a balanced diet, is what you need lead a healthy life. Also, check for any peanut allergy which is a very common condition. So add them in your salads, savouries, sweets, or eat them as it is; make them a part of your daily diet and get the best out of them!
Considering peanut chikki when made with jaggery an best option for an healthy snack given to a child to an elderly member of the family
5 benefits of Jaggery
- It prevents constipation by aiding digestion. It activates the digestive enzymes in our body, thus helps in proper digestion of food. That’s why many people prefer eating jaggery after a meal.
- It acts as a detox, as it helps cleanse the liver by flushing out nasty toxins from the body.
- Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals like zinc and selenium, which help prevent free-radicals (responsible for early ageing). It helps boost resistance against infections, hence building stronger immunity.
- Eating a piece of jaggery daily can help women combat PMS symptoms including mood swings, menstrual cramps and abdominal pain.
- Jaggery acts as a natural sweetener and provides energy over an extended period of time.