Interesting Health Facts About Peanuts
- Peanuts and peanut butter became a stable source of protein during World War II, when meat was not readily available.
- Peanut is actually a legume and is related to peas, chickpeas and lentils.
- Peanuts are higher in protein than any other nut.
- Over 1/3 of the carbohydrates in peanuts are fiber.
- Peanuts have a relatively low glycemic index (GI) of 14, and can help stabilize blood sugar.
- The amount of antioxidants in peanuts can rival that of apples, beets or carrots.
- Peanuts are a great source for Resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory bioactive compound found in red wine.
Vitamins & Minerals in Peanuts
Other than being a great source of protein, healthy fats and dietary fiber, peanuts also have a myriad of vitamins and minerals that provides abundant amounts of antioxidants.
- Niacin: Vital in the skin, digestive and nervous systems, and research has shown that it may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, help convert food to energy, and promote skin repair.
- Vitamin E: A famous antioxidant, it regulates metabolic processes, strengthening the immune system, and keeping our skin smooth and supple. An ounce of peanuts provides a whopping 20 percent of the daily recommended values of the nutrient.
- Thiamin (B1): Protects of the heart, muscles and nervous system. Like niacin, it also helps convert food into energy.
- Riboflavin (B2): Metabolizes fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
- Pantothenic acid: Important in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Vitamin B6: Helps with the metabolism of protein and red blood cells, and may prevent heart diseases.
- Folate: A very important nutrient for pregnancy and infancy, helping in cell production and maintenance. Since doctors often recommend pregnant women to increase folate intake, peanuts are an excellent resource.
- Iron: Helps with oxygen transport in the body, and can provide energy when the body needs it most. Individuals with low amounts of iron tend to feel fatigue and exhaustion sooner, so peanuts can be a great picker-upper.
- Magnesium: Maintains a healthy immune system, normal blood pressure, and strong bones. Can also reduce inflammation and help prevent diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.
- Choline: Critical for normal membrane structure and function. Studies have shown that choline has also been linked to help prevent cancer.
- Phosphorus: Help synthesize protein for the maintenance of cells and tissues, and also plays a role in the formation of bones and teeth.
- Potassium: Vital in the monitoring of fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, as well as ensuring normal growth of muscles, nerve and the brain.
- Zinc: Supports the immune system and helps heal wounds.
- Copper: Helps produce collagen and hemoglobin, which aids in the transport of oxygen throughout the body.
- Manganese: Helps enzymes strengthen our body.
- Selenium: An effective antioxidant, it helps prevent cancer by repairing free radicals in the body. It also helps maintain normal thyroid functions and the immune system.
Adding Peanuts to Your Diet
Peanuts can be easily incorporated into your diet. Raw or roasted with a dash of salt, it makes a delicious snack on its own or as a healthful addition to a great trail mix. They can add a satisfying crunch to your salads, and give your favorite stir fry an exotic flare. Peanut oil, which is low in saturated fats, is wonderful for cooking, and many Asian-influenced cuisines use peanuts as a base for dipping sauces. If prepared southern-style, boiled peanuts also make a flavorful snack.
Then, no one can ever forget the loveable peanut butter, whether it's smooth or chunky. You can pair it with fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, apples, raisins or celery, or spread it on your favorite bread with honey. Of course, if you want to go the old-fashioned way, you can always scoop a simple spoonful of peanut butter, straight out of the jar, and wash it down with a satisfying glass of milk.