The Incredible Peanut

peanutsThere are very few foods that have it all; taste, nutrition, and convenience. Peanuts are one of those few. Their sweet, nutty flavor is almost addictive. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and protein, making them one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world. They requires no refrigeration and can be eaten anywhere. These reasons and more make peanuts wildly popular.

They’re Healthy

Peanuts are high in protein, making them the perfect meat substitute for vegetarians. Peanuts also contain numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The rise in peanut allergies has made some parents nervous about feeding them to small children. However, children who are introduced to peanuts at an early age are actually less likely to develop allergies than those who are introduced to them later in life. And with their high nutrition content, they are a food that you want your kids to eat.

Since peanuts are rich in foliates, niacin, and other compounds that prevent birth defects, eating peanuts is a way for pregnant women to ensure that their babies are born healthy.

Peanuts are not low-fat, but they are high in the “good” fats that actually lower triglyceride levels. They have about the same number of calories per ounce as potato chips, but peanuts have way more nutrition. Plus, the high levels of protein and fiber in peanuts make people feel fuller longer, so replacing potato chips with peanuts will helps with weight loss.

They’re Portable

This is America – we eat on the go. Most natural, healthy foods have to be refrigerated, so Americans will instead reach for the highly processed, chemical-enriched foods that don’t spoil (like, ever). Peanuts, however, have a naturally long shelf life without the use of chemicals and preservatives. Their naturally-occurring peanut oil prevents the growth of mold and bacteria, allowing peanuts and peanut butter to easily last several months without refrigeration. Instead of rotting, peanuts will turn rancid. A rancid peanut will taste nasty, but it won’t hurt you if you choose to eat it anyway.

They’re versatile

Some people enjoy them plain, but you can get them roasted, shelled, salted, and boiled. Roasting or boiling them actually increases the antioxidant content, so peanuts are slightly healthier cooked versus raw. But not only are there various forms in which you can buy them, there are also many different ways you can prepare them. The unique flavor profile of peanuts makes them a welcome addition to both sweet and savory dishes. They pair nicely with chocolate and ice cream for dessert as well as with chicken in the main course. They can be sprinkled on salads, cereals, and pasta. The sky’s the limit for what you can make with peanuts.

Peanuts are like little nuggets of edible gold. While munching on their sweet, pea nutty goodness, it is hard to believe that something that tastes so good can be so good for you. Enjoy peanuts any way you like them and reap their bountiful health benefits.

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