By Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Domoda is a type of groundnut stew found in The Gambia. Domoda is prepared using ground peanuts or peanut butter, meat, onion, tomato, garlic, seasonal vegetables, and spices. It has been described as one of the national dishes of The Gambia. Domoda is typically served over rice and is also sometimes served over findi, a grain that is similar to couscous in consistency. Domoda is similar to groundnut soup in Ghana and usually eaten with fufu. In this article, I examine the science behind Domoda consumption based on the main ingredient peanut.
Domoda, Supporting literature
Here are the nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw peanuts:
Protein: 25.8 grams
Carbs: 16.1 grams
Sugar: 4.7 grams
Fiber: 8.5 grams
Fat: 49.2 grams
Saturated: 6.28 grams
Monounsaturated: 24.43 grams
Polyunsaturated: 15.56 grams
Omega-3: 0 grams
Omega-6: 15.56 grams
Trans: 0 grams
Fat in Domoda
Peanuts are high in fat.
Four studies( Andersen et al. 1998; Rodrigues et al. 2011; Jonnala et al. 2006; B. McKevith, 2005) found that peanut has a fat content of 44–56%. However, the fat content consists mostly of mono- and polyunsaturated fat, the majority is made up of oleic and linoleic acids.
Protein in Peanuts
They are also a good source of protein and contain about 22–30% of their total calories, which put them in a category of a good source of plant-based protein (Andersen et al. 1998; Jonnala et al. 2006; B. McKevith, 2005). Arachin and conarachin are the major proteins in peanuts and could be allergic to some people, causing life-threatening reactions(Latif et al. 2013).
Peanuts are low in carbs.
B. McKevith(2005) carb ranges from 13–16% of the total weight. The University of Sydney reports due that due to the low carbs and high protein, fat, and fiber, peanuts have a very low glycemic index (GI), which shows how quickly carbs enter your bloodstream after a meal. One study conducted in Ghana by Yeboah et al. (2019) found that the GI index of groundnut soup with beef is 4 and with anchovies is 0.9. This is very very low on the GI scale. Thus Domoda is good for diabetics.
The US Department of Agriculture reports that Peanuts contain so many good sources of vitamins and minerals, such as:
Biotin- Two studies(Staggs et al. 2004; Pacheco-Alvarez et al. 2002) agreed that peanuts are loaded with biotin, significant for pregnancy.
Copper- Nath R(1997) is also found in peanuts which is good for heart health.
Peanuts also contain so many nutrients vital for our health. For instance, Niacin or vitamin B3, for heart disease reduction (Lavigne and Karas, 2013); Folate or vitamin B9 or folic acid, during pregnancy (Fekete et al. 2012); magnesium for heart (Guasch-Ferré et al. 2014) and many more.
Other plant compounds
Peanuts are also loaded with antioxidants. Most of these antioxidants are found in peanut skin, (Talcott et al. 2005; Lou et al. 2004).
This notwithstanding, peanut kernels also contain the following antioxidants:
p-Coumaric acid- is one of the major polyphenols in peanuts (Sebei et al. 2013; Talcott et al. 2005).
Resveratrol- reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease(Sales et al. 2014) and many others such as isoflavones, Phytosterols, and Phytic acid.
Treat Erectile dysfunction
It may sound funny but studies support that eating peanuts may help you treat your erectile dysfunction. This is the reason. Peanuts are rich in arginine, which is an essential amino acid(Aninbon et al. 2017). Though more studies are needed. In a recent meta-analysis, Rhim et al.(2019) found that arginine has been studied extensively as a possible treatment for erectile dysfunction . one clinical trial(Stanislavov and Nikolova, 2003) oral administration of this amino acid in combination with a herbal supplement (called pycnogenol) can treat erectile dysfunction.
More studies supported peanuts on male sexual functions. For instance, (Arya et al. 2016; Ghimire et al. 2017) found that nitric oxide converted is a compound that helps dilate the blood vessels to improve blood flow and circulation.
Two more studies (Davies KP, 2016; Rhim et al. 2019) found that arginine supplements may help treat mild to moderate erectile dysfunction.
Test-tube and animal studies(Chen et al. 2017; Jia et al. 2020; Yang et al. 2019; Abbaspour et al. 2019) have found that arginine could improve semen quality, enhance libido, and increase testosterone levels. A previous study(Arya et al. 2016) reported that resveratrol in peanuts, an antioxidant supports sexual health in men.
Finally, other animal and human studies(Bahmanzadeh et al. 2019; Illiano et al. 2020; Sener et al. 2018; Bai and An R, 2015) found that resveratrol could improve sperm quality and erectile function.
Hence, eating Domoda or groundnut could be helping you deal with your erectile and sexual functions. So men it appears Domoda or peanut soup is our friend to explore to keep our sex life in good health.
May Boost Energy
One study by Bonku and Yu, (2020) notes that Peanuts are a rich source of protein and fiber that assists in the conversion of carbohydrates into energy. An old study by (Jett C. 1953) established that the protein in peanuts is around 25% of the total calories. These combinations; of fiber and protein slow down the digestive process to facilitate a steady release of energy into the body. Eva De Angelis, Dietitian Nutritionist, says, “Likewise, their nutrient profile makes them superb pre-workout snacks, especially peanut butter with no added sugar, salt, or oils, which is easier to eat.”
Another study looks at the effect of peanuts on muscle(Carbone and Pasiakos, 2019) and found that it increases strength and supports muscle growth, especially when paired with resistance training.
Another randomized controlled trial(Lamb et al. 2020) report that taking a peanut powder supplement increased muscle mass and strength among older adults when combined with resistance training.
One major area of research is on weight loss though you would assume that being high in fat and calories, could contribute to weight gain. But this is not the case. It rather increases weight loss(Ogden et al. 2010). Four observational studies(Moreno et al. 2013; Mattes et al. 2008; Bes-Rastrollo et al. 2009; Hu and Stampfer, 1999) found that peanut consumption may help maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of obesity. It is however prudent to take note that, the studies are only observational, they cannot prove causation.
This notwithstanding, one small clinical trial in 16 women conducted in 6 months found that when other sources of fat in a low-fat diet were replaced with peanuts, they lost 6.6 pounds (3 kg) despite being told to maintain their initial weight(O’Byrne et al. 1997).
Another study found that when 3 ounces (89 grams) of peanuts were added to the daily diet of healthy adults for 8 weeks, they did not gain as much weight as expected(Alper and Mattes, 2002). Finally, Arya et al. (2016) study found that the consumption of peanuts and peanut butter can increase feelings of fullness. These could satisfy individuals better than carbohydrate-filled snacks in equal quantities.
The writer Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Some observational studies (Hu and Stampfer, 1999; Hu et al. 1998; Li et al. 2009) found that eating peanuts, as well as other types of nuts, may protect against heart disease.
These protective effects could be due to many reasons, (Kris-Etherton et al. 2008; Ros E. 2008; Alper and Mattes, 2003).
A recent study, by Hong et al.( 2018) conducted on rats also stated that polyphenol-rich peanut skin extract may reduce the inflammation that causes heart disease. A more recent study that seems to place peanuts on the scale with red wine attests that the resveratrol in peanuts has antioxidant properties that may help combat heart disease. That is why peanuts seem to have similar cardioprotective effects as other foods containing resveratrol (Dyck et al. 2019). Finally, a study on rats conducted by Marmara University (Turkey) found that peanuts increase the levels of good cholesterol(Emekli-Alturfan and Kasikci, 2007). Though more studies are needed.
Two observational studies(Tsai et al. 2004; Tsai et al. 2004) found that frequent peanut consumption may cut the risk of gallstones in both men and women.
Blood sugar control
Adding peanuts or peanut butter to a meal does not spike blood sugar levels. Having them along with a meal high in GL (like a bagel or a glass of juice) may stabilize your blood sugar levels. Peanuts have a GI (glycemic index) score of 14. While the GI of peanuts is 14 (on a 100-point scale), their GL (glycemic load, which tells what a particular food will do to your sugar levels) is just 1(Arya et al. 2016).
That is why the American Diabetes Association names peanuts as a diabetes superfood. What makes it a superfood is that in a soup form even when combined with beef has a GI of 7, and anchovies have a GI of 0.7(Yeboah et al. 2019). This is why we have to eat our local foods as Africans.
The fiber in peanuts also helps lower blood sugar levels. They also contain magnesium and other healthy oils that play a role in this aspect(Arya et al. 2016).
Another randomized controlled trial conducted by Reis et al. (2013) at the Federal University Of Vicoça (Brazil) on obese women found that consuming peanuts or peanut butter right in the morning may control blood sugar levels throughout the day.
A previous study by (Jiang et al. 2002) conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that a higher intake of peanuts and peanut butter can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. Finally, another randomized controlled trial by Wien et al.(2014)
Found that daily consumption of a diet enriched with peanuts over 24 weeks could improve health parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes. The rich nutritional profile of peanuts responsible for this, which includes monounsaturated fat, fiber, arginine, niacin, folate, and vitamin E. Is this not interesting for diabetics to eat Domoda or groundnut soup and its related product?
May Reduce Cancer Risk
Lee et al. (2018) study found that high consumption of peanuts (including other nuts) has been associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer. The isoflavonesi, resveratrol, and phenolic acid found in peanuts have anti-cancer properties which may help reduce the risk of cancer.
Another study conducted in The Netherlands by Brandt et al.(2018) found that peanut consumption is linked with a reduced risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Peanuts were also found to prevent gastric and esophageal cancers among older American adults. Hashemian et al. (2017) went further and compared those who take peanut butter and those who did not and found that those who did not consume any nuts or peanut butter were at the highest risk of developing these cancers.
Though some concerns have been raised concerning peanuts and cancer by the National Cancer Institute(2022) because Peanuts might be contaminated with aflatoxins, a family of toxins produced by certain fungi as they may increase the risk of liver cancer. However, a Sales et al.(2014) study conducted by the University of Georgia (USA) found that the resveratrol found in peanuts possesses potent antioxidant properties that help in reducing the risk of cancer.
Other emerging interests
First, Morris et al.(2004) study found that diets that are rich in niacin – like peanuts – may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Peanuts are an excellent source of niacin and vitamin E, both of which have been shown to protect against Alzheimer’sdisease. Another study by Arya et al.(2016) conducted on 4000 people aged 65 years and older found that niacin from food slows down the rate of cognitive decline.
Second, Douglas et al.(2006) report that anecdotal evidence suggests that peanuts may help treat Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) as they contain monounsaturated fats. Some research states that a diet high in these fats could help improve the metabolic profile of women with PCOS.
Third, as per anecdotal evidence(stylecraze.com), peanut consumption may protect your skin from sunburn and damage. The vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc found in peanuts may fight bacteria and make your skin glow. Beta-carotenei , an antioxidant available in peanuts, may help also improve skin health.
Finally, Goluch-Koniuszy(2016) found that peanuts contain all the amino acids and lots of protein, so they may be a good supplement to a diet for hair growth
Wild and Gong(2009) study found aflatoxins to be a major issue that can trigger liver cancer in peanuts. The aflatoxin concern is dependent on peanuts are stored. The risk increases with warm and humid conditions, especially in the tropics. The study however found that the aflatoxin contamination can be effectively prevented by properly drying peanuts after harvesting and keeping temperature and humidity low during storage.
Also, another concern is the phytic acid content in peanuts. Phytic acid (phytate) is found in all edible seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes. In peanuts, it ranges from 0.2–4.5% (Schlemmer et al. 2009). Phytic acid reduces the availability of iron and zinc in peanuts, lowering their nutritional value a little(Lopez et al. 2002). This notwithstanding, Atli Arnarson(2019) notes that this is usually not a concern in well-balanced diets and among those who eat meat regularly. He notes: “Nonetheless, it may be a problem in developing countries where the main food sources are grains or legumes.” Finally, some also experienced allergies to eating peanuts (Burks AW, 2008).
In conclusion, it appears men in particular stand to benefit more from eating peanuts related to diet in any form such as Domoda, groundnut soup, peanut paste, and many more. Some of the benefits are: promoting muscle growth, supporting heart health, improving sperm quality, and enhancing sexual function. I know the men will start advising their wives to prepare them Domoda or groundnut soup. Don’t you think Africa is blessed?
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, a Medical Journalist, and a science writer. President, Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/African Naturopathic Foundation, Ashaiman, Ghana. Currently BL Candidate at the Gambia Law School, Banjul. E. mail: email@example.com. + 2207452652(for more information)
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