Recent research on peanuts indicates they contain antioxidants that can rival the antioxidant content of many fruits. Roasted peanuts rival the antioxidant content of blackberries and strawberries, and are far richer in antioxidants than carrots or beets.
Peanuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acids that help to lower LDL or "bad cholesterol" and increase HDL or "good cholesterol". They are also a good source of dietary protein composed of fine quality amino acids that are essential for growth and development.
Research conducted by a team of University of Florida scientists, published in the journal Food Chemistry, shows that peanuts contain high concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols, primarily a compound called p-coumaric acid, and that roasting can increase peanuts' p-coumaric acid levels, boosting their overall antioxidant content by as much as 22%. P-coumaric acid is believed to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by reducing the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines
Peanuts are excellent source of resveratrol, another polyphenol antioxidant, which has been found to have protective function against heart disease, degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease, cancer and viral/fungal infections.
Studies suggests that resveratrol reduces stroke risk by alteration of molecular mechanisms in blood vessels (reducing susceptibility to vascular damage through decreased activity of angiotensin, a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would elevate blood pressure) and by increasing production of the vasodilator hormone, nitric oxide.
Moreover, another study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that boiling peanuts enhances their antioxidant concentration. It has been found that boiled peanuts have two and four fold increase in isoflavone antioxidants biochanin A and genistein content, respectively.
Peanuts are an excellent source of vitamin E (a-tocopherol); containing about 8 g per100 g. vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant which helps maintain the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen free radicals.
Peanuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. 100 g of peanuts provide about 85% of RDI of niacin, which contribute to brain health and blood flow to brain.
Peanuts are rich source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Just a hand full of peanuts per day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.
Peanuts are also a source of coenzyme Q10, as are oily fish, beef, soybeans and spinach.
Peanuts are delicious, crunchy, and their oil seeds have been known to humankind since ancient times. They are actually legumes, but they contain almost all the qualities that true nuts like almonds have.
Scientific name: Arachis hypogaea.
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