Peanuts, probably to be cultivated in the lands of Paraguay first, are not at all nuts but belong from the legume or pea or bean family. They are harvested from underground unlike other nuts which are formed on tree like almonds, and cashew. Also known as groundnuts, they are a healthy source of proteins, vitamins and minerals. Though they have proven to be a health hazard to some people as number of people being allergic to peanuts have risen since past.
This article focuses on some of the major ways in which peanuts are being used; extending to the topic of benefits of peanuts.
Uses of peanuts
Peanut butter is sure to top the list while discussing the uses of peanuts as it is one of the most widely ways in which peanuts has secured a safe place in many of our kitchens. Made directly from creaming of peanuts it is considered to be a healthy food item and is widely preferred in the diet of children. It is a very common breakfast item in countries like United States even though they have an alarming rate of people being allergic to peanuts.
Roasted peanut is a common snack item in countries like India, China, South America, and West Africa.
These countries also at times grab some bites of boiled peanuts, another preferred snack item made of peanuts.
Crunchy coated peanuts known as Kabukim in Hebrew language is a popular snack item in Israel. Kabukim is made by wrapping the peanuts in a coating of flour, salt, starch, lecithin, and at times sesame seeds.
Peanuts are being used to make spicy sauces in places like Ghana, and Nigeria. It is done by combining the peanuts with onion, garlic, peanut butter or peanut paste, along with seasonal vegetables. In parts of West Africa it has been adopted as a staple crop and is used as a thickening agent while cooking any gravy to be eaten with rice.
Countries like India are quite popular for using peanut oil in their cooking range. Peanuts is said to have been introduced to India from the Philippines (Peanut, Wikipedia).
Use in bars
Being high in carbohydrates and proteins peanuts are often used in food bars, energy bars, and protein bars. These bars are consumed either as snacks or as supplements in order to provide high level of nutritional values.
Use in sweet dishes
Candies often contain nuts. In United States peanut is a common ingredient in cakes, cookies and other sweet dishes and desserts like pastries and ice creams.
Eating candies containing peanuts is considered to be a healthier option rather consuming candies without it, as it is high in protein and boost the energy level in body.
For four hundred years recipe for peanut soup is present in southern parts of US, Virginia in particular (Peanut, Wikipedia).
Use in main course dishes
Peanut is often being used in the preparation of pesto sauce, a main ingredient of pasta in Italy. They constitute as an important ingredient in delicacies of Malawi region, and in eastern part of Zambia. In Uganda thick peanut sauce is made and is consumed in dinner/lunch meals with rice. In parts of South America peanuts are being used in many sauces of meat dishes, especially in the dishes constituting rabbits.
Benefits of Peanuts
Rich in monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, niacin, and manganese, peanuts are considered to be extremely good for heart. Consumption of peanuts thus reduces the risk of any cardiovascular disease.
Rich Source of Antioxidants
Now you don’t have to be genius to understand the importance of antioxidants in our body. Fruits are considered to be rich in antioxidants, but receive an arch rivalry from the peanuts as they are just an abode to all the antioxidants required for a good health. Antioxidants help the body to fight form the disease causing bacteria and viruses helping in a strong immune system. Peanuts, being a rich source of antioxidants are therefore a must have for everyone, exception be the people allergic to them.
Reduces Risk of Stroke
Resveratrol, a flavonoid first studied to be found in red grapes, are also being discovered to be present in the peanuts. The presence of resveratrol is said to be able of improving the blood flow in the brain as much as by 30%, thus potentially reducing the risk of stroke.
Due to the presence of nutrients like folic acid, and resveratrol peanuts are said to have anti-cancer effects. Because of this fact recently studied and analyzed by a private health institution in US, it is being considered to include peanuts in the list of anti-colon cancer preventive food.
Help prevent gallstones
A recent study in US has come out with the result that people, especially women consuming at least 1 ounce of peanuts, or peanut butter each week have a 30% lower risk of developing gallstones.
Apart from the above mentioned benefits peanuts are highly beneficial in protecting Alzheimer and age relative cognitive decline in senior citizens; also lowers the risk of weight gain.