Groundnuts, You can give some nuts?
An important New World food source, groundnuts were a staple Native American food which they taught the colonists how to use. Never heard of a groundnut? Well, first off, it’s not a nut. So what are groundnuts and how do you grow groundnuts? Are Groundnuts Legumes? We have established that groundnuts aren’t, as their name would lead us to believe, nuts at all. So what are groundnuts then? Are groundnuts legumes?
Groundnuts can be eaten raw but are usually boiled or roasted and then added to soups and stews. Mild in flavor, they are used much like a potato, though more nutritious. They contain three times the protein of a potato. They can also be stored much like potatoes in a cool, dry area for a lengthy period of time. Growing groundnuts as a cultivated crop has been attempted in Europe twice, first during the Great Potato Famine, with failed results. The reason? The tubers require 2-3 years to maturity, whereas potatoes only need one growing season. For this reason, they were important food sources to the new colonies. The pilgrims of Plymouth survived on groundnuts when they exhausted their corn supply. The tubers are perennial and harvested at any time of the year, a boon to the first colonists.
Groundnuts, also known as peanuts, are considered a very healthy snack. Although small in size it plays a vital nutritional role and contains amazing health benefits.
The health benefits includes:
1. Helps Promote Fertility (Folate) Peanuts contain a good amount of folate. Repeated studies have shown that women who had a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during early pregnancy reduced their risk of having a baby born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.
2. Helps Fight Depression (Tryptophan) Peanuts are good sources of tryptophan, an essential amino acid which is important for the production of serotonin, one of the key brain chemicals involved in mood regulation. When depression occurs, a decreased amount of serotonin may be released from the nerve cells in the brain. Tryptophan may raise serotonin’s antidepressant effects when there is an increased amount of serotonin in the blood.
3. Boosts Memory Power (Vitamin B3) Do you know what can be found in peanuts that gave them the “brain food” tag? This is due to their vitamin B3 or niacin content whose many health benefits include normal brain functioning and boosting memory power.
4. Aids in Blood Sugar Regulation (Manganese) One fourth cup of peanuts can supply the body with 35% of the DV of manganese, a mineral which plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation.
5. Cancer Protection A form of phytosterol called beta-sitoserol (SIT) is found in high concentrations in some plant oils, seeds, and legumes including peanuts. Phytosterols not only protects against cardiovascular disease by interfering with the absorption of cholesterol, they also protect against cancer by inhibiting tumor growth.