Possible benefits of eating peanuts in young people

The benefits of peanut consumption in young people are not well studied. However, there are novel works in this regard that we tell you about here.

Last update: 24 January, 2022

Peanuts or groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea L.) They are one of the nuts preferred by many.. However, their increased consumption is limited by the belief that they can cause weight gain, due to the 48% fat they contain. Do you really know the quality of that fat? We tell you about the benefits of eating peanuts.

Until now, most of the effects of peanuts have been investigated in the elderly and adults with obesity, overweight, metabolic syndrome or at risk of suffering from a chronic disease. However, it was recently reported that peanut consumption could also be beneficial for healthy young people.

What kind of fruit is the peanut and where does it come from?

To the peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is also known as peanut or peanut. It is a family of legumes, since it is wrapped in a pod and has at least 2 seeds inside.

It is native to South America, especially Argentina and Bolivia. It was the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors who introduced it to Africa and Europe. From Africa it became a staple food in many countries.

The peanut is a raw material for the oil industry, being peanut oil a valuable product. In fact, it is the best value after olive oil.

In what ways can it be consumed?

Peanuts have different forms of consumption:

  • Oil: it is excellent for cooking, as it is tasteless and can withstand high temperatures without burning. According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Value Tables, 1 cup provides 216 grams of total fat, 36.5 grams of saturated fat, 99.8 grams of monounsaturated fat, and 69 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
  • Peanut butter: It has a similar pattern in fat to oil and a total of 51 grams per 100 grams of product. It also contains 23 grams of protein.
  • Peanut flour: It is the product that remains after extracting the oil. It is used for animal feed.
  • Milk and by-products: you get fake milk, cheese and sherbet with high protein value.
  • snacks: from processed and defatted peanuts. A flour is obtained to prepare protein shakes and other meals.
  • Roasted peanuts with or without the red shell: it can be sweetened, in nougats, pralines, candied or covered in chocolate, fried without the shell, with or without salt. It is a main component of the picadas served in restaurants.
Peanut butter can be purchased commercially, but it is also possible to make it at home.

Nutritional characteristics of peanuts

The nutritional properties of peanuts are interesting. When roasted without salt for consumption, 100 grams provide the following nutrients:

  • calories: 593.
  • protein: 25 grams.
  • fats: 50 grams.
  • Saturated fat: 7.14 grams.
  • carbohydrates: 21.42 grams.
  • monounsaturated fat: 25 grams.
  • polyunsaturated fat: 15.7 grams.
  • Fiber: 8.21 grams.
  • Calcium: 53.5 milligrams.
  • Iron: 2.14 milligrams.
  • Potassium: 667 milligrams.
  • niacin: 13.57 milligrams.
  • B1 or thiamin: 0.42 milligrams.

Peanuts stand out for their high caloric value from their monounsaturated fats. In addition, they have a high value in insoluble fiber, potassium and are one of the seeds with the highest niacin content, which would help prevent Alzheimer’s in adults over 65 years of age.

Peanuts contain as many antioxidants as red fruits. These are chemicals that block the effect of free radicals that are formed from metabolism.

Peanuts are also rich in vitamin E, which is a natural antioxidant. Science confirms that the most prevalent bioactive compound in peanuts is resveratrol, which prevents nerve degeneration, and p-coumaric acid, which regulates neurotransmitters.

On the other hand, it was found that Peanut consumption manages to reduce total cholesterol by 85.7% and cholesterol bad or LDL by 64%. In addition, roasting can increase antioxidant levels, especially flavonoids.

Benefits of eating peanuts in young people

The bioactive compounds present in nuts abound in research on improving health during old age. These studies highlight that oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are two factors that contribute to cellular aging.

The consumption of tree nuts and peanuts as antioxidants manages to prevent diseases in middle-aged adults and in the elderly over 55 years of age. In this way, the service life can be extended.

It has also been worked on in overweight middle-aged adults. Peanuts contain bioactive nutrients that improve circulatory function. Inshell peanut consumption improves cerebrovascular circulation and cognitive performance.

But until now, the literature had not considered the effect of peanuts on healthy young people. This is why in 2021, Dr. Rosa María Lamuela from the University of Barcelona investigated a group of 63 healthy people between 18 and 33 years old.

Participants ate a typical 25-gram serving of skin-on peanuts and 32 grams of peanut butter daily for 6 months. A control group ate peanut butter without polyphenols and without fiber.

What was the results?

Participants who ate roasted peanuts in the shell or peanut butter had a significant reduction in anxiety and memory improved immediately. This is one of the main benefits of eating peanuts.

The research concluded that regular consumption of peanuts and peanut butter in the amounts indicated can improve memory and response to stress in young and healthy people. This result is considered remarkable, since it is a population group in which it is difficult to notice any change regarding the state of health.

An increase in short-chain fatty acids in feces was also found, produced by the intestinal microbiota. Peanut-specific compounds appeared, such as polyphenols.

Young people usually consume significant amounts of peanuts, but there was not much research that analyzed the effect of this food in this population group.

Were peanuts able to improve the intestinal microbiota?

Peanut polyphenols can affect cognition and mood, as they act as prebiotics of the intestinal microbiota and improve the microbiota-gut-brain axis. Polyphenols, like fiber, reach the colon intact to be transformed by intestinal bacteria.

The main compounds that bacteria form are short-chain fatty acids or SCFAs, which appear to have effects against some neurodegenerative diseases and against depression.

These results show promise for improving cognition and degenerative disorders of the cells of the body, including the brain. But larger and more numerous studies are required to properly establish the benefits of peanut consumption.

Eat peanuts and enjoy its benefits

There is no doubt that the peanut, in addition to having an addictive palatability due to its aroma and flavor, contains nutrients and bioactive compounds that improve the health of young people and the elderly. Especially, acts against neurodegenerative diseases and depression. Take advantage of the benefits of eating peanuts.

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