Why peanuts make a healthy snack

Peanuts have a distinct taste that makes them a favourite with all age groups.

Peanuts can be eaten at any stage – starting from the raw, just harvested one. Can anyone not relish the soft texture and the sweet, milky taste of raw groundnuts, just shelled? They can be boiled with the shell or without the shell. Both of these are popular snacks in urban and rural India.

The groundnut, in it’s boiled and roasted forms, runs a close second in popularity to the pop-corn which has stolen the top slot. It is used in cooked dishes to enhance their taste, texture, appearance, and nutritive value.

Peanuts are a favourite snack due their convenience, easy availability, and affordable cost as compared to other nuts. They are used in mixtures, fried snacks and in sweets like chikki, toffee balls and so on.

Let us look at the nutritive supremacy of peanuts.

NUTRITIVE VALUE OF NUTS for 100g

Food stuff

Protein
(g)

Fat
(g)

Fibre
(g)

Carbs
(g)

Energy (cal)

Calcium

(mg)

Iron
(mg)

Almond

20.8

58.9

1.7

10.5

655

230

5.09

Cashew

21.2

46.9

1.3

22.3

596

50

1.5

Copra

6.8

62.3

6.6

18.4

662

400

7.8

Pista

19.8

53.5

2.1

16.2

626

140

7.7

Walnut

15.6

64.5

2.6

11.0

687

100

2.64

Betel nut

4.9

4.4

11.2

47.2

249

50

1.5

Ground nut

25.3

40.1

3.1

26.1

567

90

2.5

Gr.nut roasted

26.2

39.8

3.1

26.7

570

77

3.1

Gr.nut meal

40.9

7.4

3.2

38.8

386

213

Source: Nutritive Value of Indian Foods, Gopalan et.al

When we look at the nutritive values, groundnut stands it’s own ground! It has a higher protein value and a lower fat value than most other nuts. Its total calories are also slightly lower and its fibre content is better than that of other nuts, excepting copra and betel nuts. However, these cannot be compared to the common nuts like almond, pista and walnut, as their consumption is not similar.

In minerals like calcium and iron, groundnut scores lower.

Groundnut meal is the solids remaining after the extraction of groundnut oil. You can see that the fat value has naturally reduced and so also the calories but the protein, carbs and calcium values have increased while the fibre remains the same.

This protein rich meal was generally used as animal feed, but now it is used in some supplementary foods. Don’t you think that our cattle should be healthier with such oil seed meals!

The cost of groundnuts as compared to that of other commonly used nuts will vary from place to place, but common sense will prove that the value for cost is highest with our lowly groundnut.

So, please do not underrate peanuts.

All of us know that peanut butter is very popular, especially in western countries as it is a preferred alternative for butter. How would you your’s spicy? This would resemble the desi thokku/thogayal and match the sauces and dips of the West.

Recipe for GROUNDNUT THOKKU OR SAVOURY PEANUT BUTTER
Groundnuts roasted —100g.; dry red chillies —-2 or 3 nos.; asafoetida powder –1/2 tsp.; sugar/jaggery —1tsp.; cumin —1 tsp.; gingelly (til) oil —2 tbsp.; salt — ¾ to 1 tsp.(to taste); tamarind — 1tsp.; coconut grated or chopped —2 tbsp (optional)

Roast all ingredients excepting salt and sugar, in a part of the oil till the aroma is pleasant and the ingredients are slightly red. Grind to a soft paste with slightly less than ¼ cup water. Add salt and sugar. Check the taste and correct if necessary. Heat the remaining oil and add the ground paste and cook for two mins, on low fire.

Use as a spread for sandwiches, idli/dosa, chapathi and savoury pizza.

Addition of a little ghee improves the taste.

Malathi Mohan

The author is a retired professor of WCC, Chennai; retired Dean, Academy of Fitness Management, Chennai and Past President, Indian Dietetic Association

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Food stuff

Protein

Fat

Fibre

Carbs

Energy (cal)

Calcium

(mg)

Iron
(mg)

Almond

20.8

58.9

1.7

10.5

655

230

5.09

Cashew

21.2

46.9

1.3

22.3

596

50

1.5

Copra

6.8

62.3

6.6

18.4

662

400

7.8

Pista

19.8

53.5

2.1

16.2

626

140

7.7

Walnut

15.6

64.5

2.6

11.0

687

100

2.64

Betel nut

4.9

4.4

11.2

47.2

249

50

1.5

Ground nut

25.3

40.1

3.1

26.1

567

90

2.5

Gr.nut roasted

26.2

39.8

3.1

26.7

570

77

3.1

Gr.nut meal

40.9

7.4

3.2

38.8

386

213

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