Peanuts - Health Benefits
Peanuts are native to South America where a host of wild varieties of the plant grows. According to studies carried out, the crop is said to have been domesticated in Argentina and Bolivia. Archeologists have found pods of peanuts from sites in Peru with an estimated age of 7600 years.
Today, Peanuts are grown widely in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and is the main stay in Asia. China followed by India are the largest producers of Peanuts. Duration of cultivation of Peanuts ranges from 90-150 days depending upon the type of sub species grown.
Peanuts find use in Indian culinary in many forms. Peanut oil is still one of the preferred cooking oils in India. Peanuts cooked in salted water or sand roasted with salt serves as a nutritious evening snack. Crunchy squares or balls (Chikki/Barfi) made of ground or split peanuts with jaggery as the binder is another favorite sweet across India. Peanuts are also ground into a chutney to accompany South Indian breakfast recipes. And not only in India, but also around the world peanuts are savored for its taste, flavor and the nutrients it provides.
The World Health Organization as part of its Doctor Without Borders program used Peanut based pastes and butter to improve health among malnourished children in developing countries. It provides as much as 95% DV of Manganese, 20% DV of several B Vitamins (Notably Vitamin B1, B3 and B9 in abundance), 9g of Fiber and 25g of Protein. Manganese is vital for metabolism and antioxidant system in the body. Nevertheless, excessive intake of Manganese may lead to Neurodegenerative disorders.