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Eating Peanuts Good or Bad?

Peanuts are the most widely consumed nut in the United States. They are a rich source of nutrients, such as monosaturated fatty acids, magnesium and folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine and fiber. They are also a good source of resveratrol - an antioxidant and key cancer and heart disease fighter.

The biggest obstacle in peanut consumption, however, is that peanuts, which are actually legumes, are often viewed as unhealthy because they are high in fat and low in protein (they have about the same amount of protein as soy).

As far as triglycerides are concerned, a study showed that peanut consumption can lower triglyceride levels significantly - by as much as 24 percent (Peanut Consumption Improves Indices of Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Healthy Adults, Journal of American College of Nutrition 2003: August).

Good and Bad!

Although it may seem that peanuts and peanut butter are a health food, eating peanuts is not, in fact, the healthiest option.

There are some potential problems with commercially available peanuts:

  • Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops
  • Peanuts are loaded with omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio (a much better choice would be eating walnuts - rich in beneficial omega-3 fats)
  • Peanuts are often contaminated with aflatoxin, a group of poisonous chemical compounds produced by carcinogenic mold.

There are some relatively simple guidelines to reduce peanuts' negative effects, so they can be eaten occasionally and in moderation only.

First, look for organic, pesticide-free peanut butter made from one particular kind of peanuts - called Valencia - which are grown in New Mexico. Due to the dry weather conditions, aflatoxin has not been reported to be a problem in that state.

Additionally, you can pour off the oil that settles on the top of the peanut butter jar rather than stirring it into the peanut butter, as this will lower the omega-6 content. If this makes it too dry for your taste you can stir in some olive oil or macadamia nut oil (but not canola oil, which is fraught with other potential problems), both of which are very low in omega-6 fats and far higher in safe monounsaturated fats.

Peanut also display strong satiety properties - meaning a person feels full after eating peanuts; therefore, according to some researchers, they do not pose a threat of weight gain.

If, despite the suggestions described above, you are still wary about eating peanuts, you can turn to other nuts such as pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Peanut Allergy

Peanuts are a common allergen causing severe, potentially life-threatening reactions. As legumes, they are ubiquitous and often added to foods with nuts as extenders.

Exposure to peanuts is thought to cause approximately 100 deaths each year, making it the number one cause of death from food allergy in the United States.

Unfortunately, allergy to peanuts and tree nuts appears to be rarely outgrown and remains an important cause of food-allergic reactions in adults. While there are no data describing the incidence of nut allergies, estimates range between 1 - 2 percent of the population.

Restaurant foods, especially in Asian restaurants that tend to use peanuts in many dishes - are also risky, because of cross contamination, where peanut-free foods can inadvertently come into contact with peanut-containing foods.

Because of cross contamination, people with peanut allergies probably ought to avoid nuts of all kinds.

A Deadly Kiss

It should be noted that people with nut allergies can have reactions if they kiss someone who has recently eaten the offending substance. The kisser can be your spouse or a relative. It can be grandchild kissed by a grandparent who had eaten peanut butter.

The allergen can be present in the mouth of the kissing person for a long time delay after eating the reactive foods. Unfortunately, brushing teeth and using mouthwash have proved to be ineffective against preventing an allergic reaction.

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Although not a very common problem, this is a mode of exposure that people with nut allergies need to know about. They need to make sure family and friends know that they can be exposed to an allergenic substance by kissing someone who has eaten this substance. Even the social greeting kiss may need to be modified.

If you know someone with a nut problem, please let them know and make sure they fully understand how serious this can be.

The only solution is no nuts in the home.

Speak to Andrzej J. Mierzejewski, RHN on lowering high triglycerides naturally with Triglyceride Reduction TGs Formula

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