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It’s winter and also a time to munch on nature’s crunchiest snack, peanuts. Peanuts are the most satisfying substitute for processed snacks and chips. These mighty pockets of nutrients can stave off between-meal hunger pangs or be the best go-to munchies while you’re binge-watching your favourite show.
In general, peanuts or ‘moongfali’ as they are popularly known in India, are loaded with healthy fats and contain plenty of poly and monounsaturated fats. Peanuts are considered one of the highest sources of omega 6 fats that can help against a number of inflammatory diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. With their boastful nutrient value and lip-smacking taste, people tend to overdo it sometimes.
Arti Johari, a senior nutritionist, spoke to HealthShots about the side effects of overconsuming peanuts.
“Peanuts are not only rich in good fats, monounsaturated fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fatty acids but they are an excellent source of protein and magnesium. While peanuts may be undoubtedly great for your health, they tend to pose a few threats if over-consumed,” Johari said.
High-calorie content in peanuts, for example, can be a disadvantage when it comes to weight watchers. Even high amounts of unsaturated fats can lead to problems like stroke, heart attack, digestive troubles, clogged arteries and other health complications.
“People tend to overeat peanuts during the winter season but this practice must be replaced with mindful eating habits. Consuming a handful of peanuts is the recommended quantity that I’d suggest,” Johari added.
Since peanuts are a rich source of fat, their overconsumption may lead to unwanted weight gain. Research has proven that a handful of peanuts has 170 calories. According to the dietary guidelines, our body needs a daily intake of 1600 to 2400 calories. When snacking on peanuts, it’s easy to surpass the daily intake and it may lead to putting on some kilos.
Despite their contribution to your overall health, peanuts may block mineral absorption in your body. Phytic acid, a component in peanuts, is responsible for inhibiting the absorption of iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Over time, Phytates can contribute to mineral deficiencies, irritation in the intestinal tract, and allergies.
While peanuts are naturally low in sodium, eating salted peanuts at a bar or a peanut namkeen at home may alleviate blood pressure. Too much sodium may pull water and fluids into your bloodstream, thus, causing high blood pressure. So, opt for low sodium or unsalted peanuts before munching on them.
Considering peanuts contain a high amount of omega-6 but not omega-3, peanuts may weigh your omega-3 to 6 ratios towards omega-6. An imbalance in these essential unsaturated fatty acids may cause inflammation in your body.
As common as peanut allergies are, the number of allergic people who encounter peanuts in their various forms is huge. A reaction to peanuts is common due to its extracts used in food processing and cross-contamination of food exposed to peanuts during its preparation. Some symptoms of peanut allergy are skin itching, shortness of breath, and diarrhea.
As they say too much of anything is harmful, mindful consumption of peanuts is what you need to focus on. To eat peanuts in moderation is the key to reap benefits from this super snack which is low in carbs and high in protein. And surprisingly, peanuts have more protein when compared to other expensive nuts!