Peanuts are a type of groundnut that is similar to beans and belongs to the legume family. Peanuts are easy, crunchy and satisfying, contain protein and many other nutrients. Yet eating too many nuts can have negative health effects. Too much intake, due to the high calorie and fat content, contaminants and anti-nutrients can cause some side effects of peanuts.
Contributes to Weight Gain
One of the drawbacks of peanuts is their high-calorie content given their contribution to your overall health. When you are trying to manage your weight, calories can make a difference. A 1-unce serving of roasted peanuts, equal to about a handful of peanuts or 39, contains 170 calories.
The Dietary Guidelines suggest a daily intake of 1,600 to 2,400 calories for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories for adult men, based on age and physical activity level. If you adopt a 2,000-calorie diet, that would mean a handful of peanuts account for 9 percent of your daily calorie allowance.
If you eat more than one ounce it is easy to quickly exceed your calorie allotment by snacking on a bag of peanuts. Just three handfuls of peanuts, for example, that amount to 510 calories, will rack up more than a fourth of your daily quota.
If you're thinking about your weight, another downside to eating groundnuts is that they're high in fat too. Even though you require fat in your diet, fat contains twice the protein calories. Fortunately, the type of total fat in peanuts is mostly healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, 15 grams per ounce. Some of that fat, however, is saturated and accounts in that ounce for 12 percent of your daily weight.
A healthier option is to cut out saturated fat and replace it with the "good" fats. Saturated fat can raise total cholesterol and tip the scale towards more unhealthy LDL cholesterol, which can cause blockages to develop in your arteries, the American Heart Association says. The Dietary Guidelines, therefore, recommend limiting your saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of your daily calories.
Inhibits Mineral Absorption
Peanuts are a good phosphorus source, at 113 milligrams per ounce. Phosphorus in peanuts is however in a form of storage called phytic acid or phytate. Phytates are often referred to as anti-nutrients because other minerals are chelated, preventing the ability of your body to use them.
The phytates bind with other nutrients when you eat peanuts and reduce their absorption. Minerals that are most vulnerable are iron, zinc, calcium, and manganese. Furthermore, phytates reduce protein digestibility, and, according to Humane Living, this can lead to mineral shortages, allergies, and intestinal tract inflammation over time. Phytates can contribute to deficiencies in minerals, especially in young children or those with poor diets.
Eating a healthy diet that includes all the food groups will reduce the risk. However, if you have a mineral deficiency, such as zinc or iron, GI Society recommends you to restrict the consumption of high phytic-acid products.
Allergic Side Effects of Peanuts
Peanuts are one of the most common allergens and can cause serious, life-threatening reactions. Even with very small quantities, a reaction to peanuts can be unpredictable. This results from the immune system in your body which recognizes the peanut protein as harmful and causes symptoms.
Casual skin contact typically does not pose an issue unless the region involved hits your eyes, nose, or mouth. Unintentional cross-contamination may occur as a result of exposure of the food to peanuts during preparation.
Symptoms and signs of peanut allergies include:
Skin reactions, such as itching, hives, redness or swelling
Tingling in the mouth and throat
Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting or nausea
Tightening of the throat
Shortness of breath or wheezing
Anaphylaxis may result in a severe allergic reaction that needs epinephrine treatment or an immediate trip to a hospital. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:
Constriction of airways or throat
Severe drop in blood pressure
Loss of consciousness
Too Much Sodium
Consider sodium content before digging into that bowl of free peanuts at the bar. Many types of peanuts have added salt and flavoring which can affect your blood pressure. One unce of salted Valencia peanuts, for example, contains 219 milligrams of sodium. The USDA suggests restricting the daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams. That is 1 teaspoon.
Though you need sodium to balance your body's fluids and help with muscle contractions and nerve impulses, too much sodium can harm your health. The American Heart Association states that excess sodium is pushing salt into the blood vessels in the bloodstream. The extra volume contributes to an increase in blood pressure which can place an extra burden on your heart.
Naturally, raw peanuts are low in sodium and contain only 5 milligrams per ounce. So make sure to read the labels and look for peanut types that are unsalted or low sodium.
Danger of Mold Contamination
Aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain peanut fungi. This form of mold is abundant in the world's warm humid regions where peanuts are grown, harvested, and processed. Because peanuts have a soft, permeable pod and grow underground as part of the plant's root system, they risk damage from conditions of temperature and humidity.
People may be exposed to aflatoxins by eating infected peanuts, or even by inhaling the dust generated by their handling. The National Cancers Institute warns that aflatoxin is cancer which may increase your risk of liver cancer if peanuts are consumed for a long time.
Aflatoxins are not destroyed entirely by processing or roasting peanuts, and even refined goods, including peanut butter, maybe a problem. Rub, sprout, or ferment peanuts can contribute to lowering mold presence. Just purchase famous trademarks of moldy, discolored, and shriveled peanuts and discards.
The testing by the United States minimizes any danger to Americans. Aflatoxin in peanuts and peanut butter for food and medications. But make sure you buy peanut from sources abroad, since not every country is rigorously monitored.
Incorrect Omega Fatty Acid Balance
Peanuts with 4.361 milligrams per ounce are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is a polyunsaturated essential fatty acid that is used primarily in your body to generate energy. However, omega-6 and omega-3 should be mixed and balanced to ensure that your wellbeing is beneficial. There are no omega-3 fatty acids in peanuts.
High omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids may boost inflammation through dietary imbalances. According to GB HealthWatch, this may lead to obesity, cardiac illness, arthritis, and other chronic illnesses.
The results of the study, published in 2016 in Nutrients, showed an important role for obesity in the omega-6 to omega-3 proportion. Researchers have shown that a high level of omega-6 has increased insulin resistance and weight gain. The conclusion was that weight management recommended a balance from omega-6 to omega-3 at a ratio of 1-1 to 2-1.
Peanuts can be a balanced snack so long as you include other omega-3 items in your regular diet to balance fats.
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