Peanuts a great choice for snacking, ramping up healthiness of myriad dishes

People with Type 2 diabetes who ate a low-carb diet which replaced part of a starchy carbohydrate food item with peanuts lowered their fasting blood glucose and blood sugar after a meal.

SHARE Peanuts a great choice for snacking, ramping up healthiness of myriad dishes
These days, every part of the peanut is put to good use.

Peanuts most commonly are eaten as the nuts themselves or as peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut flour and flakes.

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The peanut is not just an American tradition at baseball games, pubs and as part of the iconic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s also a global culinary superstar and nutrient powerhouse.

Native to South America, this dietary staple has been around for thousands of years. Aztecs also used peanuts medicinally to cure fever and soothe sore gums. Today, every part of the peanut is put to good use.

Nut-like, but not a nut, the peanut (Arachis hypogaea) is a legume from the same family as peas, lentils and beans. Each brown, veined pod or shell, houses two or three “nuts,” kernels encased in a reddish papery skin.

A one-ounce serving, about a handful, packs a filling 13% of the daily vailue (based on 2,000 calories a day) of protein, 29% of bone-building manganese, a healthy dose of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant plant compounds.

Tree nuts and peanuts are protein- and energy-rich and contain several health-enhancing plant compounds including resveratrol. They have been associated with improving risk factors related to age-related diseases due to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Peanuts also have shown potential in help manage Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes who ate a low-carb diet which replaced part of a starchy carbohydrate food item with peanuts lowered their fasting blood glucose and blood sugar after a meal.

Peanuts most commonly are eaten as the nuts themselves or as peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut flour and flakes.

Store whole in-shell peanuts in a cool, dry place or refrigerated for longer freshness. Shelled and raw peanuts should be refrigerated or frozen and will keep up to six months.

Snacking on peanuts out of the shell is hard to beat, but try tossing roughly chopped peanuts into a stir-fry, over roasted vegetables, onto salads or layered in a yogurt parfait. Blend them into a smooth butter that promises to make veggies, whole grain crackers, sauces and dressings even tastier.

Environmental Nutrition is a newsletter written by experts on health and nutrition.

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