The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume or “bean” family. The peanut was probably first domesticated and cultivated in the valleys of Paraguay. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (1.0 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), each leaflet 1 to 7 cm (⅜ to 2¾ in) long and 1 to 3 cm (⅜ to 1 inch) broad. The cultivated peanut or groundnut originated in South America (Bolivia and adjoining countries) and is now grown throughout the tropical an warm temperate regions of the, world.This crop was grown widely by native peoples of the New Wo
rld at the time of European expansion in the sixteenth century and was subsequently taken to Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Peanut was intro
duced to the present southeastern United States during colonial times. Peanut was grown primarily as a garden crop in the United States until 1870. As a field crop, peanut was used commonly for hog pasture until about 19
30. Peanut, an important oil and food crop is currently grown on approximately 42 million acres worldwide.
The groundnut belongs to the pea and bean family and is a legume. The groundnut is the only nut that grows below the earth. The
groundnut plant is a variable annual herb, which grows up to 50 cm. in height. The flowers of the plant develop a stalk which enters into the soil, forms a pod containing generally two seeds. Peanuts pack a serious nutritional punch and offer a variety of health benefits. Some of them have been discussed here:
Heart healthPeanuts benefits
Peanuts contain high levels of healthy fats, a moderate amount of low glycemic carbohydrates and a viable protein source for vegans and meat eaters alike. Whole peanuts contains high amount of protein, which makes it a preferred diet of those people engaged in body-building and those people who are weak and underweight. These are rich in energy and contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.
Regular nuts consumption is linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Peanuts are rich in heart-friendly monounsaturated fats and antioxidants such as oleic acid. They are especially, rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acids that help to lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol”. These are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids helps to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
Those who have an intake of the most niacin-rich foods like peanuts were 70% less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease. Peanuts are excellent source of resveratrol, another polyphenols antioxidant, which has been found to have protective function against degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and viral/fungal infections.
Nutrients found in peanuts, including folic acid, phytosterols, phytic acid and resveratrol, may have anti-cancer effects. Phytosterols present in peanuts not only protects against cardiovascular disease by interfering with the absorption of cholesterol, they also protect against cancer by inhibiting tumor growth.
Boosts memory power
This health benefit is due to their vitamin B3 or niacin content whose many health benefits include normal brain functioning and boosting memory power.
It may come as a surprise that peanuts can help prevent gallstones. But 20 years of studies have shown that eating 1 ounce of nuts, peanuts or peanut butter a week lowers the risk of developing gallstones by 25%.
You need fiber in order to properly digest food and regulate certain metabolic functions. Peanuts provide nearly 10% of your daily required fiber, offering at least 2 grams per every 1 ounce.
Healthy bones and blood cells
Peanuts contain iron which is essential for the correct functioning of red blood cells. These are rich in calcium which helps promotes healthy bones.