Peanuts are in a league all their own. The benefits of eating peanuts has been well-documented for centuries, followed extensively in several cultures across the world up to our very modern day of Pay Day bars and paper bag lunches. What makes this nut so special, anyway? Is it the incredible flavor that breathes life into any dish or is it the plethora of health benefits enjoyed by people of different diets and interests? Whatever eating peanuts does for you, it’s certainly time well spent. Whether you want to improve your diet or store some fun facts in your back pocket, let’s go on a journey analyzing the nutritional value of nuts and the history of this wonderful creation.
Perhaps the most startling element about peanuts is in the title…as it’s not actually a nut! Belonging to a group called ‘legumes’, these are distinct from actual nuts by the fact they grow in the ground. Almonds and walnuts, on the other hand, are plucked from trees. Despite this, they’re referred to as nuts for convenience’s sake. Most countries use peanuts to a significant extent, with Thailand perhaps being the most popular for its regular use of refined and unrefined peanut oil in everyday recipes. Peanuts can come roasted, salted or in many of the everyday foods you come across.
There are more peanut products than you can shake a stick at. You have refined peanut oil for several delicious recipes that call for something a bit more flavorful than traditional vegetable or olive oil. Peanut butter comes in creamy or crunchy consistencies, ideal for a sandwich or straight from the spoon. Plenty of people, of course, just add peanuts to a bag of trail mix or eat it from hand and call it a day. It’s hard to find a candy in the grocery store aisle that doesn’t use peanuts as either the main draw or a supplementary addition. It’s always been easy to be a peanut fan!
Say you’re not a fan of candy bars and want to lose weight. The health benefits that come with a tablespoon of refined peanut oil or a handful of peanuts may surprise you. Nuts are commonly associated with a healthy amount of protein, but they have more than that to offer your diet. Peanuts not only have plenty of vitamin E, they also have manganese and a high concentration of potassium. Peanut butter is commonly used as an ‘appetite suppressant’ for its ability to make you feel less hungry while still providing a small amount of nutrition.
Any diet that wants to help you shed excess pounds while still giving you the vitamins and minerals you need to feel your best should cover as many food groups as possible. A bag of different nuts mixed with dried fruit can fill you up easily and be used as a great on-the-go addition when you’re going out on a jog. Nuts can be tossed onto a simple salad or mixed into a delicious stir fry. Quick recipes should be recorded in advance so you spend less time digging around in your cupboard and more time digging into some good grub.
What if you’re just not a fan of peanuts and won’t be reaching for the refined peanut oil any time soon? You’ll have plenty to love in the other nut families. Macadamia nut benefits include a host of fatty acids that are proven to be potent in encouraging good heart health. Next time you reach for that macadamia nut cookie, remember you’re doing yourself a service in more than just your mood! The benefits of cashew nuts are similar, as well. They have a significant amount of vitamin E as well as zinc, ideal for all sorts of diets.
From refined peanut oil to give your stir fry noodles a kick or peanut flour for a batch of cookies, peanuts will always hold a special place in our hearts.