9 Essential Facts to Know About Peanuts

9 Essential Facts to Know About Peanuts

Peanuts are a popular food choice for many, and it’s easy to understand why. They are not only delicious but also packed full of essential nutrients such as proteins, fats, and important vitamins. Contrary to popular belief, peanuts are not nuts but belong to the legume family. Despite their many benefits, it is important to note that there are also dangers associated with consuming them.

The peanuts are highly allergenic: One of the most significant concerns about peanuts is that they are highly allergenic. In Israel, a country with a relatively low percentage of peanut allergies, this is managed through early exposure to peanuts and peanut-containing snacks. It is recommended that children are exposed to organic peanut butter with no additives as a healthier option. However, it is crucial to remember that peanut products should not be brought into public spaces like playgrounds, schools, movie theaters, and certainly not airplanes, as the allergens can evaporate into the air and potentially cause life-threatening allergic reactions.

May affect the thyroid gland: Peanuts also belong to the group of goitrogenic foods – foods that can affect the thyroid gland. If you suffer from glandular irregularities, it would be best to avoid eating them. Additionally, those who suffer from gout (arthritis) are also advised to steer clear of peanuts.

Nutritious, but fattening: Peanuts are highly nutritious, but they are also high in calories. If you’re watching your weight, it’s best to consume them in moderation. However, for those who need to gain weight, peanut butter can be a great addition to your diet. It can be added to smoothies, sandwiches, salad dressings, stir-fries, and of course, the classic peanut butter and jam sandwich.

They have a low glycemic value: Peanuts, like nuts, are low in glycemic value. This means they do not cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels after consumption. They make a great snack when combined with fruit. Have you tried the Tik Tok trend of eating flattened dates with a sprinkling of peanut butter? It’s a delicious and healthy snack!

Have a cold? You should avoid peanuts: According to Chinese medicine, peanuts encourage moisture and phlegm. So, during the winter months or when you have a cold or cough, it is best to avoid them.

Essential for the skin: Peanuts are a great source of vitamin E, which is essential for skin health. However, eating them excessively due to their high fat content may exacerbate acne, and consuming salted peanuts can also harm the appearance and health of the skin. It is important to consume peanuts in moderation and within a balanced diet.

Reduce the risk of diseases: A study found that people who consume nuts and peanuts daily reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and degenerative diseases by about 23% compared to those who do not. However, the average consumption in the study was only 10-15 grams per day.

On the other hand – may be dangerous: Peanuts can carry a specific mold that produces the carcinogenic toxin aflatoxin. In developed countries, including Israel, all peanut shipments are thoroughly checked and immediately destroyed if they are found to be contaminated with the toxin.

Final tip: Consuming peanuts that have been heated for a long time at high temperatures can cause lipid oxidation, which can be harmful to health. It is recommended to consume peanuts in their natural state, without roasting, sweetening, or salting them. Alternatively, you can buy them fresh and roast them at home at low heat for about 5 minutes.

About the author: The author of this content is Ortel Robin Chen, a naturopath (N.D) and coordinator of the field of general naturopathy and complementary medicine.