peanuts

Benefits of peanuts

peanutsCrunchy, delicious and nutty is how one would commonly describe peanuts. Peanuts are being consumed by many societies all over the world for many centuries. Peanuts are a source of health-benefiting nutrients which are essential for human wellness and health. This article will address the history of peanuts, the benefits they provide with regards to weight loss and provide tips on how to store peanuts so they remain nice and crunchy.

Description

Peanuts can be found all over the world and are consumed for all kinds of different occasions. Peanuts are often to be found on tables at parties, you can buy them at baseball games or they serve as snacks during the day. Also, peanut butter and jelly sandwich are also familiar concepts for most people living in Europe and the United States. While peanuts are almost always categorized as nuts, they actually do not belong to a nut family. Technically they are legumes and belong to other foods which also belong to the legume family. For example, products which are part of the legume family are lentils, chickpeas, peas and many other beans. An interesting fact about peanuts it the way they grow. They grow in a particularly unique way compared to other nuts. When they grow, they first are a flower that which you can see above the ground. However, due to the weight of the nut, the that bends towards the ground. The that then burrows under the ground and that is also where the nut eventually matures. Peanuts are found in a brown shell. This brown shell usually contains two or three peanuts. It is also possible for the brown shell to contain less or more peanuts, depending on its size. The peanut is comprised of two lobes which are covered by a brown skin. The color of the lobes is off-white and they taste hard and a bit buttery. While “peanuts” are the most common use named to refer to the nuts, they can also be called “goober”. This term is derived from the word “nguba”. “Nguba” is a word which comes from the Bantu language which is spoken in many parts of the African continent. There are many different types of peanuts. However, the ones which are most commonly sold are those called Valencia, Spanish and Virginia peanuts. Since peanuts are also known for their high protein content, they are processed in the forms of flour, oil and butter.

History

Peanuts were first found in South America. It is said that peanuts have been present in the continent for over thousands of years. Peanuts played a very important role in the diet of Native Indians, the Aztecs and many other communities in South America. Since peanuts are particularly high in protein, the nuts were used for different purposes among the different communities. Peanuts were introduced in Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers. The explorers found the peanuts in South America, brought them back to Europe and took the nuts with them when they went to Africa. Since peanuts had been introduced in Africa, they have been incorporated in many traditional food cultures. For a long period of time, peanuts were considered to be a sacred food. It is for this reason that they were put on boats leaving to North America during the beginning of slave trade. It was this practice which led to the introduction of peanuts to the United States. During the 19th century, peanuts became increasingly popular in the United States. Two specific people played an important role in the increased popularity of peanuts in the US. George Washington Carver was the first person who suggested that farmers plant peanuts. He said that peanuts should be planted instead of cotton since cotton fields were destroyed during the Civil War. George Washington Carver was also the one who found over 300 different ways how peanuts could be used. The second person playing an important role in the use of peanuts today is a physician from Missouri. This physician was the first person to make peanut butter. He prescribed it to this patients since it was a low carbohydrate and high protein paste which would provide multiple health benefits. Peanuts butter nowadays remains to be one of the most popular uses of peanuts. The leading producers of peanuts are China, Nigeria, India, Indonesia and the United States.

Weight loss

One of the health benefits of peanuts is that it can help to lose weight. Various studies have been conducted on peanuts and their role with regards to weight maintenance. While peanuts are high in calories and high in fat, they do not contribute to weight gain. This holds, of course, when peanuts are consumed in normal and regular quantities. Different studies have concluded that peanuts can actually contribute to reduce the risk of obesity. These studies are, however, observational. This implies that these studies have not proven a direct causational relationship. Thus, in order to fully verify these results, further research is needed. One study did, however, show that healthy women were given peanuts as a substitute for other sources of fat for a period of six months. These women all lost an additional three kilograms, while they were expected to maintain their weight. As mentioned, it is not clear whether peanuts play a direct role in weight loss but there could a link between the two. There are various reasons for why peanuts make up a food which is weight loss friendly. When eating peanuts, you have an increased feeling of satiety compared to other foods. Thus, for example it is better to eat a handful of peanuts instead of rice crackers when trying to lose weight. When eating peanuts you will not feel hungry as soon as when you would eat rice crackers. Also, since peanuts is a source of protein and monounsaturated fats in increased the energy levels in the human body. Thus, peanuts are a perfect pre-workout snack. Peanuts are also a source of fiber. Fiber is considered to be one of the contributing factors to reduced risk of weight gain.


Peanut allergy

Many people are allergic to peanuts. Having an allergy to peanuts and tree nuts is actually the most common food allergy amongst both adults and children. While peanuts are usually not one of the first foods children eat, nut allergies usually present later in life. Also, most children grow out of other allergies such as an allergy to milk or eggs. However, this is not the case for a peanut allergy. Only twenty percent of children overcome a peanut allergy. The majority of children continue to have a peanut allergy for the rest of their lives. Moreover, it about twenty percent of the cases, peanut allergies become worse over time. While one might expect that peanut allergies become less common over time, the opposite is happening. Peanut allergies are becoming more and more common. Studies have actually shown that the rate of peanut allergies has doubled over a 5 year period. This is the case in both the United States and Europe. Peanut allergies are now estimated to occur in 1 in 50 young infants in the regions mentioned. While various studies have been conducted to explore the reasons why these allergies are more common, no study could indicate one clear cause. However, the increase of allergies is in line with the increased rate of allergies such as eczema, hay-fever and asthma. The reactions to peanuts and tree nuts are usually not severe. The symptoms which are most common amongst children are vomiting, rash and eczema. Nevertheless, some reactions can be severe. For example, a sudden drop in blood pressure, throat swelling and asthma.

How to select and store

Peanuts which are shelled are usually prepackaged in supermarkets. Peanuts can usually be bought in small plastic containers, but some supermarkets will also sell peanuts in bulk. Peanuts are usually one of the cheaper types of nuts in the supermarket. This is due to the fact that peanuts are more widely available in the world, compared to other types of nuts. Similar to buying other products, there are a few things you should pay attention to when buying peanuts. For example, make sure that the bins in which the peanuts are sold are completely covered. Also, check the date mentioned on the container so that you have some indication whether the peanuts are fresh. Furthermore, check the package for any damage. It is important to make sure that there is no evidence of moisture or insect damage. If it is possible to smell the peanuts, try to do so. This is important because of peanuts smell musty they are probably not very tasty and they might have been in the store for a long period of time and lots their fresh taste. Whole peanuts can usually also be bought in the supermarket. When buying whole peanuts, you can check two things. First of all, check the weight of the peanut. The whole peanut should feel heavy in size. Second, the peanut kernels should not be rattling on the inside. If they do, this usually means that the kernel have dried out. Also, make sure that the whole peanuts do not have any cracks or dark spots. It is recommended to store shelled peanuts in the freezer or in the refrigerator. Furthermore, a sealed container would be best. It is not recommended to expose peanuts to heat or humidity because peanuts will go bad rather quickly. Peanuts which are still whole can be kept in a dry and cool place. However, keeping them in the refrigerator can extend their lifetime up to nine months in total.

Preparation and serving

While some nuts require the use of a nutcracker machine, this is not necessary for whole peanuts. This is due to the fact that peanuts are not very hard. You can crack them by pressing them between your fingers. Peanuts can also be boiled, sweetened, salted or roasted. When peanuts are roasted, you do not only enhance taste, but you also augment the antioxidant levels. Furthermore, roasting peanuts also helps to remove toxic nutrients such as aflatoxin. Besides being served as a snack, roasted peanuts are also often sprinkled over a salad or over a dessert. Similarly to roasting peanuts, boiling peanuts can also enhance the nutritional and antioxidant levels in peanuts.  Another common use of peanuts is peanut or sate sauce. This sauce is often served in South East Asia, but can also be found in supermarkets in Europe and the United States. Peanut oil is another use of peanuts. It is not commonly used in the Western world, but is mostly used in South Indian countries. It is also the most commonly type of oil used in Sri Lanka. Peanuts in Sri Lanka are also combined with coriander, salt, garlic, mustard seeds and chili peppers. This dip is often served with various Sri Lankan dishes.





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 867x
Added: 22-10-2016 17:09
Last modified: 06-11-2016 14:28

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