Many people grew up eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch or as a snack. They believed that peanut butter was a nutritious food item.
But, are all peanut butters the same? It turns out that not all peanuts are created equal. For peanut butter to be healthful, the peanuts it is made from must be, also.
Peanuts are technically not nuts; they’re legumes – the same plant family as beans and lentils. However, they do share many common qualities with tree nuts (such as almonds) and are often studied alongside other nuts.
Though still considered a low-sodium food, peanuts naturally contain more sodium than other nuts, giving them a subtle, salty flavor.
Eating peanuts and peanut products has been shown to decrease the risk for coronary heart disease, as well as type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer in women.
When buying peanuts or peanut products, it’s a good idea to select organic. Organic farming practices are designed to be sustainable, reduce pollution, and improve the quality of the earth. It more closely resembles pre-industrial agricultural traditions.
While some prefer the taste of roasted nuts over raw, roasting may alter and damage the polyunsaturated fats in the nuts. It also makes them more prone to oxidation and can become rancid more quickly than whole raw peanuts. Not only do rancid oils ruin the smell and taste, they are also pro-inflammatory and carcinogenic.
Many nuts, legumes, and grains can be sprouted by soaking them in water for a length of time, until they begin to germinate. This provides several benefits over their un-sprouted counterparts.
Legumes such as peanuts and soybeans contain lectins, anti-nutrients which disturb the gastrointestinal lining and can contribute to GI upset, leaky gut syndrome, and autoimmune disorders. The anti-nutrients are a biological adaptation for the plants to defend themselves against predators, but soaking them simulates a “safe” environment for them to sprout. This process drastically reduces the levels of anti-nutrients (by an average of 50%) and carcinogens.
In addition, sprouting peanuts increases nutrient absorption, especially for calcium, iron, and zinc.
There are four major groups of peanuts (Spanish, Runner, Virginia, Valencia). Most peanuts are grown on the ground in moist conditions, making them susceptible to a type of mold (aspergillus flavus) that produces aflatoxin, a known carcinogen.
Valencia peanuts, on the other hand, are grown in dry climates (such as New Mexico) above the ground, and do not contain this mold.
Valencia peanuts are also the sweetest variety of peanuts.
In a nutshell...
Peanuts and peanut-derived products can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet, depending on the types of peanuts you choose. Whenever possible, it’s best to select organic, raw, sprouted, Valencia peanuts for the best flavor, food safety, and health-enhancing properties.
So yes, you can have your peanut butter, and eat it, too!
Shop Coconut Peanut Butter:
8 Remarkable Health Benefits of Valencia Peanuts (2018, Jan 27). Retrieved from https://niftybenefits.com/benefits-valencia-peanuts/.
Axe, Josh (2015, Jan 27). Peanut Butter Nutrition Facts: Is It Bad for You? Retrieved from https://draxe.com/peanut-butter-nutrition-facts/.
Axe, Josh (2015, Feb). Sprout Guide: How to Sprout Grains, Nuts, and Beans. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/sprout/.
Foster, KerryAnn (2013, May 3). Friday Food Fight: Organic vs. Natural Peanut Butter. Retrieved from http://www.intentionallydomestic.com/friday-food-fight-organic-vs-natural-peanut-butter/.
Mayo Clinic Staff (2018, April 4). Organic foods: Are they safer? More nutritious? Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/organic-food/art-20043880.
Mingionne, Tarynne. What are the Benefits of Sprouted Nuts? Retrieved from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-sprouted-nuts-10273.html.
Ros, Emilio (2010, Jun 24). Health Benefits of Nut Consumption. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/.
Weil, Andrew (2011, May 24). Are Roasted Nuts Unhealthy? Retrieved from https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/are-roasted-nuts-unhealthy/.