oxal amine phosphate, and these two forms carry out many significant biochemical reactions in the body especially those associated with amino acid metabolism. It is highly essential to supplement this vitamin through the diet into the human body, and roasted peanuts will provide B6 to the human body to the extent of 0.256 mg*.

Vitamin B9, more commonly known as folate or folic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the B vitamin family. Folate occurs naturally in foods, while folic acid is the synthetic form of folate. Vitamin B9 is useful for human growth and helps the mechanism of normal nerve and brain functioning [32]. B9 is also credited with controlling blood-levels of the amino acid homocysteine, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Folate present in peanuts to an extent of 145 µg* may also help protect against cancers of the lung, colon, and cervix.

8. Minerals in Peanuts

Magnesium is an essential mineral for the human body for several useful functions [33]. Magnesium is needed to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions and a healthy immune system. Magnesium promotes normal blood pressure, keeps bones strong, and helps to regulate blood sugar levels. People who consume peanuts have shown higher levels of magnesium. Peanuts are a good source of magnesium containing 176 mg* (Table 1).

A mineral that is primarily associated with strengthening of bones, gums and teeth is calcium. Calcium plays an important role in the normal functioning of the visual cycle, and in the mechanism of blood coagulation. It is also associated with normal muscle physiology, helping in contraction and relaxation of muscles. Though, mainly present in milk, it is also present to a notable extent in peanuts containing 54 mg* (Table 1).

A mineral that aids primarily in the formation of bones and teeth along with calcium is phosphorous. Phosphorous helps to synthesize protein for the growth, maintenance and repair of cells, and tissues. With 358 mg* (Table 1) of phosphorous, peanuts are a good source of phosphorous providing about 50% of our daily needs.

One has to eat the right amount of foods that contain potassium to keep the blood levels in a healthy range. Maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance is a critical function in the human body and this function is taken care of by potassium. In association with sodium ions, potassium plays an important role in the brain and nerve functions, and for muscle development. Peanuts containing 658 mg* of potassium are a good source of this vital mineral (Table 1).

Zinc is a cofactor for most of the dehydrogenases that require the coenzymes NAD and NADP. This mineral also supports our immune systems, helps in wound healing, and is involved in building proteins. Zinc is an essential mineral for normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. Zinc also helps the cells in human body communicate by functioning as a neurotransmitter. Deficiency of zinc can lead to stunted growth, diarrhea, impotence, hair loss, eye and skin lesions, impaired appetite, and depressed immunity. Peanuts are a great source of zinc. One hundred grams of roasted peanuts will provide 3.31 mg* of zinc (Table 1).

Peanuts contain 2.26 mg* of iron (Table 1). Iron is an essential metal ion that acts as the chelating agent, and chelates with heme to form hemoglobin. It is an integral part of many enzymes that participate in biochemical reactions such as peroxidase, catalase and ferro chelatase. It is involved in oxygen transport and helps regulate cell growth and differentiation. It is known that the deficiency of iron leads to anemia which is prevalent in many parts of the world [34].

Copper plays a role in the production of key proteins in our body such as collagen and hemoglobin, which transport oxygen. A serving of one hundred grams of roasted peanuts provide 0.671 mg* (Table 1), and thus peanuts are an excellent source of copper providing over 70% of our daily needs [35].

Selenium is an essential mineral but needed in small amounts for the human body. Selenium is naturally found in plants, seafood, meat and meat products. Selenium is a micronutrient and antioxidant, and a component of several essential enzymes. Selenium is believed to delay or prevent the onset of cancer and also has anti-aging effects [36]. Selenium is found in peanuts to the extent of 7.5 µg* (Table 1) giving about 14% of our daily needs.

9. Raw and Roasted Peanuts

Though unroasted peanuts are fit for consumption, they do not have the same flavor as the roasted ones. However, a significant risk in eating raw peanuts is the possible presence of aflatoxin [37], a poison produced by a fungus, though it may occur rarely. Roasting peanuts usually removes this fungus. Eating contaminated peanuts can cause liver diseases.

It was found in 0.4% to 0.6% of persons, particularly in children, consumption of peanuts in any form lead to allergic reactions, some severe. These may develop in the childhood or could be due to a family history of peanut allergy [38]. The symptoms associated with peanut allergy may range from oozing and skin rashes, to shortness of breath or wheezing.

Consumption of nuts has a positive effect on coronary heart diseases. It has been observed that the risk of coronary heart diseases and related cardiovascular diseases [39] is 37% lower for those consuming nuts more than 4 times per week, than in those people who don’t consume nuts at all.

Peanuts play a crucial role in weight management [40]. Epidemiological studies have provided useful information on beneficial effects of nuts which also includes peanuts. Even though peanuts are rich in fats, they can still be included in diet for weight loss.

10. Conclusion

Peanuts are an excellent and affordable source of nutriation, supplementing vital nutrients to the human body such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Peanuts are often referred as poor man’s protein but, when taken in adequate amounts in any form, will supplement rich nutrients to the body that can provide growth and energy, and play a vital role in the prevention of diseases. Metal ions which are cofactors for many enzymes, vitamins that are not synthesized in the body, poly unsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, whose consumption can increase the levels of HDL cholesterol which is good for the heart, are present in peanuts. Essential amino acids that are not synthesized in the body, but are essential as building blocks of proteins and carbohydrates, which are the principle source of energy in the body, can be provided by peanuts. A diet including peanuts could provide all these vital nutrients, and play a critical role in preventing disease and promoting good health.

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