Are Peanuts Healthy?

By: Ron Lagerquist

It looks like a nut, it tastes like a nut and it's called a pea-nut, so we will talk about them as being nuts even though they are in the legume family. We have a bean with an identity crisis!”

Four out of five North Americans depend on the peanut and its byproducts as a main food source. One pound of peanuts contains more protein than a pound of meat and 2 ½ times the protein of a pound of eggs. In the vegetable kingdom, only soybeans and yeast contain more protein. Peanuts are rich in B complex vitamins, especially niacin. They are plentiful in phosphorus, iron and magnesium. Half the oil in peanuts is unsaturated and half of that again is the essential oil, linoleic acid. Peanut oil is preferable for cooking because of its greater stability. It can withstand high temperatures before transforming into trans-fatty acids.

Name-brand peanut butter is filled with salt, sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oils, artificial flavorings, chemical preservatives and synthetic coal tar dyes to give it a healthy color. Why couldn’t they just leave peanut butter alone? It tastes great by itself. Adding hydrogenated oil to a legume that is already over 50% oil is ludicrous.

Often a health food store will have a peanut butter maker, enabling you to make your own fresh peanut butter on the spot. This is the most nutritious way of having fresh peanut butter. Premade peanut butter should be purchased from the refrigerator of a health food store. Large amounts of oil separation show that the peanut butter is old.

Peanut butter from ground-up peanuts, even in its natural form, is inferior to our home-made nut butters because the peanuts have been heated to deepen the nutty taste. Here is a suggestion. If your children are nuts about peanut butter, slowly introduce raw nut butters, like almond butter, mixing them with peanut butter. Quietly increase the percentage of the natural nut butter each day. Before you know it, your children will have switched over to raw nut butter.

If you enjoy the flavor of raw peanuts, which is the best way to consume them, try mixing raw peanuts with raisins or dates, making them a delicious healthy snack. Never eat deep-fried, salted peanuts commonly sold in stores. Instead, look for peanuts in the shell. Yes, they have been dry roasted, but are better than deep fried peanuts, and un-shelling will force you to slow down eating this calorie-rich food.

Related Article: Three Top Raw Nuts

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