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Surprising Facts About Peanuts.
They’re not nuts. Yes, you’ve read this correctly. They are classed as ‘legumes’. They are part of the ‘Leguminosae’ family like soya beans, chickpeas, peas, clover, liquorice and lentils. They grow underground.
They are also known as ‘goobers’ and ‘groundnuts’.
They originate from South America where they were cultivated for at least 2000 years. As early as 1500 BCE, the Incans used them as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies.
The Aztecs used to mash up peanuts.
They were introduced to Africa and Europe via the slave trade.
There are 4 different types of peanuts.
The first peanut paste was invented by Marcellus Gilmore Edson in 1884. Then, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg (yes, that one!) patented a process for creating peanut butter from raw peanuts in 1895.
Did you know that Dr. George Washington Carver developed more than 300 uses for peanuts, in the early 1900s? In items like shoe polish, shaving cream, toothpaste, grease and ink.
Peanut shells can also be used to make cat litter, kindling, fireplace logs and compost.
There are a whopping 500 peanuts in every jar of peanut butter and it’s only classed as peanut butter if it has 90% of peanuts in its recipe.
Chocolate manufacturers use 20% of the world’s peanuts.
Finally, there is actually a word for the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. It’s ‘arachibutyrophobia!’
Are Peanuts good for your health?
Assuming you’re not allergic to the proteins called ‘arachin’ and ‘conarachin’ that are in them, peanuts are good for your health because their benefits include:-
Lowering the risk of heart disease. Peanuts contain a good source of monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats can improve cholesterol levels, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes.
An international team of researchers found in more than 200,000 people from Savannah to Shanghai, that those who regularly ate peanuts and other nuts were significantly less likely to have died of heart disease than those who rarely ate them.
Helping to reduce your risk of developing certain cancers. Research has shown that the risk of developing stomach cancer was lowered in older adults who ate peanut butter.
Possibly helping to prevent gallstones. A couple of studies suggest that consuming peanuts may cut the risk of developing gallstones in both men and women.
Helping to control your blood sugar levels because peanuts don’t cause big spikes in your blood sugar levels.
Helping with constipation. They are high in fibre.
The high protein levels of peanuts (25g per 100g serving) means that they can help with, among other functions, healing, forming cell structures, carrying oxygen, protecting against disease and providing energy for your body.
Helping to maintain a healthy weight. Studies have shown that women who ate nuts like peanuts twice a week had a lower risk of weight gain and obesity over 8 years than those who rarely ate nuts.
Helping to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers from the Chicago Health and Aging Project interviewed over 3,000 Chicago residents aged 65 and older about their diet, then tested their cognitive abilities over the following 6 years.
It was discovered that those participants who got the most vitamin B3 (niacin) from foods were 70% less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s Disease than those consuming the least. Their age-related cognitive decline was significantly less.
2 tbsp of peanut butter contains 4.3mg of niacin; which is approximately 25% of the Recommended Daily Allowance for men and 30% for women.
Recommended Amount to Eat
Peanuts do contain a small amount of saturated fat. Also, you need to avoid or rarely eat the salty ones.
To get the benefits of eating peanuts the amount you can eat is a handful a day with the skins on.
If you’re a peanut butter fan, like me, then you only need 2 tbsp daily to reap the benefits. But be aware of the sugar content in some brands.
I eat peanuts and I’m obsessed with peanut butter. I eat it on toast and in my porridge. If I’m honest, I prefer dry roasted or salted peanuts!
Do you like peanuts or peanut butter? If so, what do you eat them in? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.
Sources: mentalfloss.com, justfun facts.com, amazingfacts4u.com, peanut-institute.com, top-10-food.com, medical news today.com, healthline.com, webmd.com, health.harvard.edu, whfoods.com