Peanuts for weight loss

A lot has been said about the efficacy of nuts in the losing weight. Almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios top nutritionists’ recommendations as healthy weight loss snacks.

For the common man, peanuts are the most affordable nut and a healthy weight loss option too.

The season for peanuts is here – hot, boiled peanuts or roasted, peanuts are found everywhere – Indians, especially South Indians, love peanuts as a snack. Peanuts are included in South Indian chutneys and gravies.

But, are peanuts good for health? Do they cause weight gain? Do they increase blood pressure? Especially, when on a weight loss program peanuts are a cause for concern.

Peanuts are classified under legumes like beans, chick pea and lentils. They are a rich source of fats, 30g of peanuts contain 14g of mono unsaturated fatty acids,

which are heart-friendly fats, and polyunsaturated fats. In addition, peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, copper, Vitamin E, manganese and protein. Peanuts also contain a heart protective anti-oxidant namely Resveratrol which promotes anti-aging effects.

Though peanuts have a rich profile of nutrients, many avoid them for fear of weight gain.

Peanuts are high in calories say 30g of peanut gives 160kcals. Studies have shown that including nuts three to five times a week will not cause weight gain and significantly lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

A serving of peanuts as a mid morning or mid evening snack will suppress hunger and prevent weight gain by increasing satiety. A person will not feel hungry for a long time after eating a peanut salad or peanut gravies and this will help him lose weight and to avoid binge eating.

When a person is planning for a weight loss program, he should include only one serving (30g) in a day for 4 times in a week. This way, he will stick to his diet plan and enjoy the benefits of the food.

Boiled peanuts when eaten as a snack provide your body with protein, fibre and unsaturated fat that can help you lose weight and decrease your risk for serious diseases. A normal adult requires 25-30g of fibre per day and peanuts are a great source of fibre with every 30g providing 5g of fibre. The fibre improves satiety and suppresses hunger which helps a weight loss program succeed.

A word of caution is needed here – eating large quantities of peanuts will cause weight gain, so like any other food, peanuts should be eaten in moderation.

Here’s an easy, healthy recipe to make with peanuts:

Peanut Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup unroasted peanuts, shelled

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small tomato, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber deseeded, finely chopped

1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 small sprig mint leaves, finely chopped

1 green chilli, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely crushed

1/2 tsp sugar

1 tbsp lime juice

Salt to taste

Optional: Half cup boiled corn or boiled and sliced egg whites, 2 nos

Method:

· Pressure-cook peanuts and corn (optional) up to 2-3 whistles.

· Nuts should be cooked, but firm and not mushy.

· Drain, wash under running water.

· Allow all water to drain in colander for 10 minutes.

· Take in a large salad bowl, add all other ingredients.

· Toss well till flavours blend.

Making time: 30 minutes

Kalpana Prasad has served as consultant nutritionist with prestigious hospitals like the Chinmaya Mission Hospital, Bangalore. She was responsible for the nutrition assessment and formulation of individualized care plans.

Kalpana has assisted in developing corporate menus and in regulating nutrition standards and policies in the corporate world.

Kalpana is currently serving as a consultant for Qua Health Pvt Ltd and Health Care Magic Pvt Ltd.

Image: Flickr Creativecommons andrewmalone

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