The seeds of peanut, or Arachis hypogaea, which is a plant of the Fabaceae family, are also called groundnut or goober. They are used to extract peanut oil, a very light oil that is used to prepare mayonnaise, or can be consumed as a delicious snack or in the form of food paste, the famous peanut butter. Peanuts are rich in mineral salts such as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and manganese, vitamins such as B, E and J, fibers, folate and proteins. Peanuts are very energetic and therefore can be eaten by sporty people or people who have to go through very busy days or in case of tiredness. Peanuts have a good content of monounsaturated fats with a protective role on the cardiovascular system by helping to control cholesterol levels. Eating peanuts would also be able to reduce the risk of developing gallstones, as also proved by scientific studies. Thanks to vitamin B3 and the antioxidants contained therein, peanuts also play a role in cancer prevention. In fact, in 2006, a study performed by a team of the University of Taiwan and published on the World Journal of Gastroenterology reports that the weekly consumption of Peanuts would play a role in reducing the risk of colon cancer. Thanks to the niacin, vitamin B3, peanuts would help prevent Alzheimer's disease, as demonstrated by the 2004 study carried out by a group of scientists of Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Atlanta, USA and published on Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. Peanut antioxidants also help counteract free radicals and aging processes. As for peanut consumption, always try to choose products of high quality because this food can be contaminated by aflatoxins, which are toxins that can cause serious liver problems. Do not eat salted peanut butter, in fact too much salt in the diet increases the risk of developing hypertension. Finally, peanuts should not be eaten in case of allergy. For what concerns the use of peanuts during pregnancy, all the studies about the topic are conflicting, some say that this would help protect the child from future allergies, other say that this would instead predispose to the development of such allergies. Further studies will have to clarify this aspect.