Peanuts are almost indispensable in Vietnamese food, used as they are to make dishes of raw fish and vegetables, peanut butter, peanut candy, and even to decorate mixed vegetables. The main component of peanuts is fat (40 percent) while peanut oil has glycerides of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, according to Dr Le Thuy Tuoi.
Peanut oil contains vitamins, which dissolve in oil, especially Vitamin E - important for secreting testosterone and estrogen and fighting aging. Vitamin B1 in roasted peanuts, which is a part of the coenzyme thiamin pyrophosphate that is important in releasing energy from carbohydrates, fatty substances, and alcohol, makes up 0.23mg percent according to the doctor.
Research by Purdue University in the US has found that peanuts also contain vitamins B2 and B6, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, calcium, and folate, which fortifies the brain.
Consumption of a fourth of a bowl of peanuts every day helps stabilize blood sugar levels and supplies a fourth of the body's need for niacin, which lowers by 70 percent the risk of catching Alzheimer's. Peanut also decreases by 25 percent the risk of gall-stone development (if you eat 28.35g of peanuts or peanut butter a week), improves the state of mind, and reduces depression because of the abundance of tryptophan amino acid, which is necessary for serotonin production. Besides that, peanuts also help increase the memory for their abundance of Vitamin B3 and niacin substance. In addition, peanuts which are rich for unsaturated fatty substance, protect your heart if you eat a handful of them four times a week.
Peanuts are not only used in cooking but also help treat diseases. Herbalists Pham Nhu Ta, Vu Quoc Trung and Bang Cam list some dishes made from peanuts that can keep us healthy.
For treating high blood pressure:
- Place 500g of peanuts in a jar, cover them with enough vinegar, and soak for two weeks (the longer the better). Remember to stir them once every day. Chew 10 peanuts before going to bed every night.
- Wash and boil 20 peanut shells in enough water for drinking for a day.
- Wash and cook 30g of peanuts, mung beans, and red beans each until they are soft, and add a little rock sugar to eat.
- Wash 30g of peanuts and 30g of red beans that have been soaked in water for eight hours until they are soft to cook, 30g of ý dĩ (sorghum or Coix lacryma-jobi), and 30g of black jujubes. Cook all of them in a pot in three bowls of water for one hour until they are well done. Season with sugar and a little salt for taste. Enjoy the hot sweet soup once a day.
For treating anemia:
- Wash 30g of peanuts that have been soaked in water for eight hours, 30g of lotus seeds, 15g of cẩu khá»Ÿi (Chinese wolfberries), and five black jujubes. Put them in a large bowl, place it in a pot of water to steam for 30 minutes until the peanuts and lotus seeds are soft to eat. Eat twice a day.
For treating rhinitis:
- Wash 30g of peanuts that have been soaked in water for eight hours and cook in a pot of water with 20g of beaten rock sugar until soft to eat. Eat the sweet peanut soup every day for three consecutive weeks.
For easing chronic hepatitis:
- Wash 50g of peanuts that have been soaked in water for eight hours and 50g of red jujubes. Place the peanuts in a pot, cover with water, cook for one hour, and then add red jujubes and 50g of rock sugar and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Eat the dish before going to bed for one month.
High fat contract in their blood:
- Cook one sliced carrot and 30g of peanuts in enough water to eat twice a day or cook 30g of watermelon leaves and 30g of peanut peel in two bowls of water for 20 minutes to drink.
For patients with gastric cancer:
- Make a peanut and red jujube porridge with 20g of peanuts, 15g of red jujubes, and 50g of rice. Wash them and place in a pot with three bowls of water to cook until it becomes consistent. Season with one finely sliced tomato and eat twice a day.
For treating depression and anemia:
- Place 15g of dry longans, 20g of lotus seeds, 15g of red jujubes, 15g of peanuts and 50g of glutinous rice in a pot and cook in three bowls of water until it becomes a porridge. Season with sugar and salt. The dish should be eaten in the morning and evening.
However, peanuts can have the poisonous aflatoxin fungus, a cancer-causing substance, according to doctors Le Thuy Tuoi and Nguyen Xuan Mai. Therefore, the careful preservation of peanuts after plucking them is very important. You should choose peanuts carefully when buying them at any market or supermarket. You should throw away peanuts whose natural color has disappeared and do not buy expired peanuts. In case of processed peanuts, eat slowly and chew gradually and rinse your mouth carefully if you feel a strange taste, the doctors advise. Moldy peanuts that are yellow or dark blue are affected by aflatoxin, which is proved to cause liver cancer. Consuming 2.5mg of aflatoxin within a span of 89 days can cause liver cancer.