Groundnuts, part of the pea family and incredibly rich in protein, are a nutritional force to be reckoned with. These tasty nuts provide nourishment for not only humans but also animals. Furthermore, groundnuts are a great source of healthy fats, making them suitable for heart health.
Groundnuts are mainly grown in hot and humid climates, so the botanist Carl Linnaeus named them “hypogaea”, meaning “under the earth”.
Peanuts, the most popular type of groundnut, are frequently used in pantries and are a delightful roasted snack. Additionally, groundnuts are the main ingredient in peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut flour, and protein powder.
Groundnuts are tasty and full of protein, fibre, and other essential nutrients. But can they help reduce cholesterol levels?
To answer this question, this article will dive deeper into the study on groundnuts and cholesterol.
Nutritional Values of Groundnuts
Groundnuts come in three main varieties: Bambara, Peanut and Hausa. Indians typically consume Peanuts.
There are numerous ways to enjoy them, such as raw, roasted, peanut butter, or groundnut oil, and one can also add them to foods such as flour. Depending on the consumption method, the nutritional value of groundnuts varies.
According to USDA, one hundred grams of raw (unroasted) peanuts provide the following nutrients.
- Energy: 567kCal
- Protein: 25.8g
- Carbohydrates: 16.1g
- Total dietary fibre: 8.5g
- Fat: 49.2g
- Fatty acids, monounsaturated (MUFA): 24.4g
- Fatty acids, polyunsaturated (PUFA): 15.6g
Vitamins and Minerals
- Iron: 4.58mg
- Potassium: 705mg
- Sodium: 18mg
- Magnesium: 168 mg
- Calcium: 92 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.64mg
- Vitamin B2: 0.135mg
- Vitamin B3: 12.1mg
- Vitamin B5: 1.77mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.348mg
- Phosphorus: 376mg
The nutritional value of groundnuts can vary depending on how one eats them. Raw groundnuts are typically the most nutrient-dense, as they have not been heated or processed.
On the other hand, peanut butter is made by crushing groundnuts into a paste. Therefore, it usually contains more calories and fat than the whole groundnut.
It may also have added sugar and other chemicals, which could lower the amount of nutrients it contains.
Groundnut for Cholesterol – An Overview
Cholesterol is a type of fat in the bloodstream and our body’s cells. The body requires it for proper functioning. However, having too much cholesterol can result in health issues, such as heart disease. The two primary forms of cholesterol are LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and HDL, or “good” cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol helps to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol from the body, while LDL cholesterol can build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. So generally, having high HDL cholesterol and low LDL levels is beneficial.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that a 10% lower cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%. Hence, for those with high cholesterol levels, it is imperative to reduce their cholesterol levels.
Is Groundnut Good for Cholesterol?
Groundnuts are a source of healthy unsaturated fats, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. In addition, they contain protein, fibre, and minerals like magnesium, folate, thiamin, and vitamin B6.
These nutrients are all essential for maintaining heart health. Furthermore, research shows that monounsaturated fats, considered “good” fats, can help lower cholesterol levels, i.e. reduce LDL levels and increase HDL.
Groundnuts are rich in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant that protects against heart problems by reducing cellular damage and inflammation in the body. Furthermore, it inhibits the damage to blood vessels caused by angiotensin.
In addition, a meta-analysis showed that taking resveratrol supplements had a noticeable effect on decreasing total cholesterol levels.
Groundnuts are also a good source of plant sterols, compounds found in plants that are similar in structure to cholesterol. Research shows that plant sterols can help block cholesterol absorption from the digestive tract, lowering cholesterol levels.
Groundnuts also contain flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, luteolin, and apigenin. As per studies, dietary flavonoids can help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol levels significantly.
The HealthifyMe Note
Groundnut is an excellent addition to your diet due to its cholesterol-lowering prop. It is because of the presence of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (PUFA and MUFA). Furthermore, the flavonoids, plant sterols and antioxidants in groundnuts make them healthy for cholesterol management. However, it is essential to remember to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Ways to Consume Groundnuts for Healthy Cholesterol Management
There are many ways to enjoy groundnuts. These include:
- Eating raw or roasted groundnuts as a snack.
- Adding groundnut butter to oatmeal or smoothies for breakfast.
- Incorporating groundnuts into salads or main dishes as a healthy fat and protein source.
- Using groundnut oil for cooking or as a salad dressing.
- Consuming groundnut flour in baking or cooking as a gluten-free alternative.
- Adding groundnut protein powder to shakes or smoothies as a supplement.
It is essential to remember to consume groundnuts in moderation. That is because they are high in calories and fat. Hence, overconsumption can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Lowering cholesterol levels is essential to maintain healthy heart health. Therefore, eating healthy and being aware of portion sizes is vital. You should talk to a nutritionist to help modify your diet if you have high or borderline high cholesterol levels.
In addition, you can speak with a registered nutritionist at HealthifyMe to create a customised plan for you and suggest ways to reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels.
To summarise, groundnuts can be a wholesome snack for lowering cholesterol and providing other health benefits. However, it is essential to remember that groundnuts are high in calories and should be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Furthermore, it is best to opt for unsalted groundnuts, as added salt can raise blood pressure.
Nutrient-wise, groundnuts are a great source of protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These antioxidants can help protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of certain health conditions.
The Research Sources
1. The U S Department of Agriculture
2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
3. Jenkins DJ, Chiavaroli L, Wong JM, Kendall C, Lewis GF, Vidgen E, Connelly PW, Leiter LA, Josse RG, Lamarche B. Adding monounsaturated fatty acids to a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods in hypercholesterolemia. CMAJ. 2010 Dec 14;182(18):1961-7. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.092128. Epub 2010 Nov 1. PMID: 21041432; PMCID: PMC3001502.
4. Akbari M, Tamtaji OR, Lankarani KB, Tabrizi R, Dadgostar E, Haghighat N, Kolahdooz F, Ghaderi A, Mansournia MA, Asemi Z. The effects of resveratrol on lipid profiles and liver enzymes in patients with metabolic syndrome and related disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Lipids Health Dis. 2020 Feb 17;19(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s12944-020-1198-x. PMID: 32066446; PMCID: PMC7026982.
5. Trautwein EA, Vermeer MA, Hiemstra H, Ras RT. LDL-Cholesterol Lowering of Plant Sterols and Stanols-Which Factors Influence Their Efficacy? Nutrients. 2018 Sep 7;10(9):1262. doi: 10.3390/nu10091262. PMID: 30205492; PMCID: PMC6163911.
6. Zeka K, Ruparelia K, Arroo RRJ, Budriesi R, Micucci M. Flavonoids and Their Metabolites: Prevention in Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes. Diseases. 2017 Sep 5;5(3):19. doi: 10.3390/diseases5030019. PMID: 32962323; PMCID: PMC5622335.