Add gnuts to your diet

Monday October 7 2019

Daily intake of peanuts lowers the risk of

Daily intake of peanuts lowers the risk of gallstones and other diseases such as diabetes, gallbladder disease and colorectal cancer. PHOTO by Edgar Batte 

By BEATRICE NAKIBUUKA

Lilian Nyanzi, a nutritionist at Neulife Medical Centre, Bweyogerere says peanuts which are a type of groundnut contain biotin and eating enough is essential for pregnant women because even a mild biotin deficiency can significantly increase risk of congenital birth defects.
Biotin is an eseential nutrient for one’s physiological well-being. Biotin is involved in dozens of enzyme reactions in the body, including processes that regulate the expression of your genes.
Peanuts contain copper which forms a crucial part of enzymes that govern energy production and neural activity in the body.
She says, “In the nervous system, copper is needed for neurons to create the myelin sheath that covers their axons and increases the speed of neural transmission. Copper fights neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease yet a deficiency contributes to higher risks of cardiovascular disease.”
People over 40 years of age and over weight people are at higher risk of gallstones. Daily intake of peanuts lowers the risk of gallstones and other diseases such as diabetes, gallbladder disease and colorectal cancer.

Body-building
Nyanzi says, “Peanuts contain proteins that are body building and are recommendable for children to enhance their growth. They also help in the repair of worn out cells and helps in wound healing.” Also, protein is a component of many digestive enzymes and an intake of the protein in the peas improves digestion because they also contain fibre.

Anti-aging
Nyanzi says, “Peanuts are a good source of resveratrol, an antioxidant mineral associated with increased brain blood flow, which decreases risk of stroke. Routinely eating peanuts or peanut butter can boost your resveratrol consumption, potentially harnessing its beneficial antioxidant power.”
The same antioxidant also found in grapes can fight the explosion of fat cells and improve the uptake of sugar from the blood. The resveratrol in peanuts is found in the seed itself and the skin.

Sperm count and fertility
“Peanuts contain high levels of zinc, which is associated with an increase in sperm count and fertility in men. They also contain the amino acid L-arginine is helpful for improving erectile dysfunction,” says Nyanzi.
Also, eating plenty of monounsaturated fats as contained in peanuts promotes the artery-clearing process that keeps your blood flowing well and lowers your risk of heart attack or stroke.
According to Fautsa Akech, a nutritionist at Healthy U, the paste or butter from groundnuts is good if it is made without refining and processing the peanuts or groundnuts. Groundnut paste or peanut butter when homemade is a good substance to use as a spread on your healthy bread or for cooking.
“Many of the commercial peanut butter products however, are high in trans fats that have been banned in some countries. When buying peanut butter always check the ingredient label and if you see any of the following terms, ‘transfat’, ‘hydrogenated fat’ or ‘partially hydrogenated fat’, please do not buy it,” she warns.
Akech also affirms that groundnuts do not have cholesterol.
“Many people believe that groundnuts are high in cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is only found in animal foods because it is only made by animals.”
The cons
When you eat roasted groundnuts, avoid eating them if they get burnt. This is because the charred material contains chemicals that are known to cause cancer. Avoid charred foods as much as you can. Rather, eat lightly roasted nuts and sometimes eat raw nuts.
“Peanuts and groundnuts can cause allergies in some people especially children. This allergy can be lethal. It can also cause food sensitivities in some people leading to symptoms such as gas, bloating and heartburn,” says Akech.
If you experience any of these after eating groundnuts it may be a sign that you are sensitive to them and need to avoid them.
Don’t ignore this, it could save you from ulcers, and more serious gut problems in the future.

Down side
According to Prof. Archileo Kaaya, Head of Department of food Technology and Nutrition, Makerere University, groundnuts can be affected by a fungus called Aflatoxin that can cause serious liver problems as well as cancer.
“Groundnuts that are stored in hot, wet and stuffy environments with a little aeration easily get infected with this fungus. Fungi thrive in hot, humid and low oxygen areas. Do not buy groundnuts that are wet, wrinkled, or seem to have moulds,” he warns.
Only buy groundnuts that have been recently removed from the pod or are still in the pod. These are the safest groundnuts. .

Suffering from indisgestion? Try Mint
Mint is the name for over a dozen plant species, including peppermint and spearmint, that belong to the genus Mentha.
These plants are particularly known for the cooling sensation they impart. They can be added to foods in both fresh and dried forms.
Mint is a popular ingredient in several foods and beverages, ranging from teas and alcoholic drinks to sauces, salads and desserts.
While eating the plant offers some health benefits, research shows that several of mint’s health benefits come from applying it to the skin, inhaling its aroma or taking it as a capsule.
While not typically consumed in large quantities, mint does contain a fair amount of nutrients such as fiber, Vitamin A, Iron, Manganese and foliate.
Although treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome often includes dietary changes and taking medications, research shows that taking peppermint oil as an herbal remedy might also be helpful.
Peppermint oil contains a compound called menthol, which is thought to help alleviate IBS symptoms through its relaxing effects on the muscles of the digestive tract. Mint may also be effective at relieving other digestive problems such as upset stomach and indigestion.
Indigestion may occur when food sits in the stomach for too long before passing into the rest of the digestive tract.
Multiple studies have shown that food passes through the stomach quicker when people take peppermint oil with meals, which could relieve symptoms from this type of indigestion
In addition to ingesting mint, there are claims that inhaling the aroma of essential oils from the plant could provide health benefits, including improved brain function.
One study including 144 young adults demonstrated that smelling the aroma of peppermint oil for five minutes prior to testing produced significant improvements in memory.

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Compiled from www.healthline.com

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