Studies have shown that consuming a handful of nuts a day can improve the quality of sperm in men, but eating nuts with aflatoxin can be fatal. Yes, groundnut, which contains zinc that helps improve sperm quality is also highly susceptible to aflatoxins. Studies indicate that “about 37per cent of infertile men in Nigeria had high aflatoxin levels in their blood and semen above permissible limits.”
Daily Sun writes that groundnut is a legume that has similar nutrients and composition like normal nuts. It also has protein, healthy fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that provide the body with important nutrients for proper functions. It helps the body control metabolism, converting healthy fat and carbohydrates into energy for the body to use. It is also said that groundnut is a good source of energy for the brain.
Aflatoxins are actually “a group of secondary metabolites produced by some species of fungal genus Aspergillus.” They are molds that cannot be completely destroyed by boiling or roasting groundnuts. These toxic fungi can start growing in crops during farming, or as they are moved from the farm to buyers or from sellers to consumers. It has been confirmed by The IARC that aflatoxin B1 is carcinogenic to humans and has been linked to liver cancer in sub-Saharan Africa. Their presence in our body affects the metabolism and elimination of any other food we consume.
Contaminated groundnuts, when consumed, also affect the way cells replicate and specifically affect the liver. The risk increases with the level of exposure to the contaminated nuts, the level of immunity of the consumer and the quality of the food consumed daily. The presence of the toxins in our bodies increased cancer risks. This contamination takes place slowly when small quantities of the affected nuts are consumed regularly over time or when large portions are consumed at once.
According to Professor Mrs. Nwadiuto, Akani, a consultant pediatric Oncologist with the University of Port Harcourt Teaching hospital, “storing groundnuts in bottles for a long time also exposes one to the dangers of aflatoxins, which can cause trouble to the liver. As harmless as groundnut is, if it is not properly cleaned and stored, it can expose one to aflatoxins, which can be the root of many health issues.”
At micro level they may not be very dangerous, but when consumed regularly, they can become dangerous.
Groundnuts are said to be the moldiest legumes as these fungi grow comfortable within its crevices and among the broken pieces. The smaller pieces are said to have higher level of aflatoxins.