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The peanut or groundnut is scientifically known as “Arachis hypogea L”. The peanut plant belongs to an annual herbaceous plant of the botanical family Leguminosae.
The peanut is a legume, and as happens with all of this botanical family, the fruit is a pod within which seeds, the edible portion grow.
The peanuts are one of the most important oil-bearing nuts owing to their taste and nutritious properties.

The peanuts are a highly nutritious food whose nutrient contents exceed that of any animal-based food. The peanut exceeds meat, egg e.t.c in proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins C, E and also niacin. They are also superior in terms of minerals such as Potassium, Magnesium and calcium.
All these contents of the peanut contains no cholesterol or excess saturated fatty acids, this is a great advantage of the peanuts.

* FATS– Fat constitute almost half of the peanut’s weight. This fat is extracted as oil. They contain a significant amount of unsaturated linoleic and linolenic fatty acids that are essential to the body.
These fatty acids known as linoleic and linolenic cannot be synthesized by the body, thus, the peanut proves very important.

* PROTEINS– The peanut contains protein of about 26% of their weight, but are poor in the amino acids lysine, methionine, and threonine. Thus, in order to supply all necessary amino acids required to complete the proteins, peanuts should be eaten with other foods such as
¤ Legumes (rich in lysine and threonine)
¤ Whole grains (very rich in methionine)
¤ Brewer’s yeast (rich in methionine and threonine)
The meat protein content never passes 20%, thus, it shows that the peanuts are a good source of proteins.
Fatty acids present in the peanut plays a vital role in the formation and restoration of the skin, as well as brain tissue. The heart also “burns” fatty acids to obtain the energy necessary for its beat, in the same way it needs glucose to maintain its activity.

* CARBOHYDRATES– The peanuts contains significant amount of carbohydrates (about 10%) mainly starch and maltose. This is one of the main reasons why it is important to chew them properly, so that the ptyalin in the saliva can begin their digestion.

* VITAMINS– Peanut contains small amount of Vitamins A and C, and also certain amounts of vitamin B complex vitamins. They also contain significant amount of vitamin E.
Niacin, a very important coenzyme within the body, stands out in the peanut. It facilitates the numerous chemical essential to carbohydrate and fat metabolism, allowing these nutrient to provide energy to the cells. Lack of niacin shows up by dry and cracked red skin, as well as muscular weakness and dyspepsia (indigestion).
Serious niacin deficiency produces a disease known as pellagra.

* MINERALS– The peanuts are particularly rich in potassium, and low in sodium.They also contain significant of calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus.
They are also an excellent source of trace elements such as manganese, copper and zinc.

* VEGETABLE FIBER– Peanuts are relatively poor in cellulose carbohydrate (vegetable fiber), and as a result, when eaten in large amounts without being accompanied by whole grains or fruits, they can cause constipation.

Owing to the above nutrient compositions of the peanut, it paves way for the following INDICATIONS:

Regular consumption of peanut promotes good health for both the skin and the mucosa due to its high levels of niacin and unsaturated fatty acids. Both niacin and unsaturated fatty acids are essential for skin cell regeneration and health.

Due to the richness of peanuts in essential fatty acids, it is recommended for heart patients. These fatty acids are the essential energy source for the cells of the heart.
They also help lower cholesterol levels, thus improving blood circulation of the coronary arteries.
Peanuts are low in sodium, and high in potassium, which helps protects against hypertension and fluid retention in the tissues.

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Abbati is a student from the department of Biological sciences, Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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