The Inner Beauty of the Ugly Peanut
A Healthy Alternative to Sugary Snacks
Nobody is going to argue that the peanut is a pretty food. In its in-shell state, it is obscure and rough – reminiscent of the dirt in which it grows. With the shell removed it is a mere blob of condensed protein. They are good for you, but not all that exciting to look at.
But the peanut has an inner beauty that far surpasses its outer ambiance. When considered for its health benefits, the peanut is actually very much a thing of beauty.
SOMETIMES YOU FEEL LIKE A NUT
Would you believe that the peanut, perhaps the most widely known nut, is not actually a nut?
By definition, a nut is "a fruit whose ovary wall becomes hard at maturity". By this definition, a peanut is not a nut.
A peanut is actually a legume, which is cultivated for its nutritious, edible seed. However, having the word nut in its name is a pretty good indicator of how widely accepted it is to refer to this particular legume as a nut. So, we’ll refer to it here as a nut.
There is no questioning the popularity of peanuts in the United States. We buy them in the shell to crack open and eat at baseball games. We cherish them when they come shelled and salted -the perfect snacking alternative to high-calorie candy. We cook with peanut oil. And, as a nation we are heavily addicted to peanut butter.
According to the American Peanut Council, annual world peanut production was at 47 million metric tons in 2020. China ranks as the world’s largest peanut producer. The United States is fourth on the list at 3 million tons annually. The US exports about 25-35% of its annual yield.
The US produces four types of peanuts: Runner, Virginia, Spanish, and Valencia. In the US, the dominant peanut grown and utilized is the runner variety.
GOOD FOR YOU
So, what makes the peanut so special?
A healthy human liver produces all the cholesterol a body needs. Any additional cholesterol comes from the foods we eat. Unlike fats, you can’t exercise it away.
Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free. Anyone watching their cholesterol knows there are limited options for a good earthy flavor that doesn’t pack a devastating cholesterol punch. Peanuts are the delicious exception to the rule. You get great taste, and they are naturally cholesterol-free.
Just as there are fats to avoid when eating, there are also good fats called unsaturated fats. Peanuts contain 80% of this good plant fat that can help lower cholesterol.
Peanuts are an excellent source of protein. In fact, they are so packed with protein they can be an effective substitute for eating meat. Research also shows that a diet rich in peanuts can offer protection from developing diabetes.
Among the antioxidants found in peanuts is resveratrol, which protects against heart disease and several types of cancer. Similarly, the polyphenol P-coumaric acid found in peanuts has also shown potential for fending against cancer. And, peanuts have a high level of phytosterols (up to 43% more than olive oil) which have shown in studies to be associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
You may ask yourself, how popular are peanuts and their related products?
Peanuts are the nation’s #1 snack nut. In fact, peanuts are so popular as a snack nut, they account for a whopping 2/3 of the market. Almonds are the second most consumed nut, at 1.19 million metric tons per year.
One reason that peanuts are a great alternative to candy is that most candy lovers already exhibit a hankering for the legumes. Five out of the top ten selling candy bars in the US contain peanuts or peanut butter.
Snickers? Peanuts. Reece’s? Peanut butter. M&Ms? Your choice – peanut or peanut butter. The list of peanut and peanut butter candy is as infinite as the imagination.
Peanut butter is a staple in most homes growing up. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is always easy and satisfying. Peanut butter is also a favorite in ice cream. Moose tracks anyone? That world famous ice cream flavor is just one to prominently feature the allure of peanut butter cups or peanut butter ribbon.
In fact, peanut butter is more popular than just plain, salted peanuts. Roughly 56% of peanuts produced each year are earmarked for peanut butter. By law, peanut butter must contain at least 90% peanuts.
Peanut butter is also a useful staple to have on hand because it has a long life. It can be stored for months without refrigeration.
IN THE KITCHEN
Another popular derivative of the peanut is peanut oil. Peanut oil is regarded as one of the most preferred cooking oils by chefs around the world. The reason is that unlike other oils, peanut oil does not transfer food flavors. It is simply tasteless and odorless – unless made with roasted peanuts.
Peanut oil is a premium selection for the preparation of many ethnic foods including Chinese, African, Indian, and American cuisine. It has a high smoke point, making it ideal for frying foods.
In the US, 1.5-3% of the population has a peanut allergy. Interestingly, the majority of highly refined peanut oils have been shown to be safe for a large percentage of those afflicted with a normal peanut allergy.
Because of their long shelf life, it can be beneficial to buy peanuts in bulk. You would be surprised how quickly you go through them once you make them a part of your normal snack routine. Plus, you save money when you buy in bulk.
BULK offers a wide variety of premium bulk nuts, including three types of peanuts: All Natural Peanuts with Extra Fine Sea Salt, Cajun Flavored Japanese Peanuts, and Sweet & Salty Chocolate Covered Peanuts.
As with all BULK products, we live by a commitment to delivering premium quality snack options. All three of our peanut offerings are all-natural, gluten-free, MSG-free, GMO-free, and made in the USA.
Peanuts may not be the prettiest food you’ve ever eaten, but they are both delicious and nutritious. A true “Super Food”, peanuts have an inner beatify and hearty taste that will have you instantly addicted. Try adding them to your daily routine. Your body will thank you!