Healthy Winter Recipe InspirationJuly 4, 2017
Myth or Fact: Do nuts make you fat?July 27, 2017
The problem with eating peanuts
Nuts are little nutrition powerhouses that can be beneficial to our well-being when incorporated into a healthy balanced diet. All nut varieties contain protein, heart-healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. In this article, we'll take a closer look at a controversial nut (which isn't really a nut), namely the peanut. There is a lot of information and controversy on the internet regarding the health benefits of peanuts, which makes it worthwhile to explore the facts.comfort food while also providing you with heaps of nutrition. By adding nuts to your favourite winter dishes, you are adding another level of balanced nutrition to your diet.
To start with, peanuts are classified as legumes and not as nuts. Legumes are edible plants that grow in pods, like peas. What makes this important is that unlike tree nuts, that grow on trees, peanuts grow on the ground, which makes it a problematic food as we will discuss later. Peanuts are also one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops which makes it crucial to buy it organic when you do buy any peanut products.
Peanuts in themselves are in fact a balanced form of energy and similar in nutrition to tree nuts. A 100g portion of peanuts contains 20g of carbs, 25g of protein and 50g of fat. It also contains iron, potassium, zinc and selenium.
So, what is then the problem with eating peanuts, when they are a cheaper source of the same nutrition we find in tree nuts? There are two big problems that need to be considered before choosing peanuts or peanut butter as a staple food in your house.
1. Peanuts have too much Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Our modern diets are already filled with too many omega-6 fats, which may cause inflammation in the body, and not enough omega-3 fats, which help reduce inflammation. Too much omega-6 may also lead to asthma, obesity, type-2 diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome according to Dr. Josh Axe, a certified doctor of natural medicine and founder of one of the most visited natural medicine websites in the world. Peanuts have a less desirable fat ratio as they contain a lot of omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3 fats. Even naturally produced peanut butter and oil contain a very high amount of omega-6 fats, which should be avoided.
2. Peanuts grow on the ground where they are contaminated with mould
Most peanuts are grown in areas where they are colonised by a fungus called Aspergillus, which is an aflatoxin. Aflatoxins are poisonous, carcinogenic moulds that have been linked to various diseases like liver cancer. Some studies have linked repeated exposure to aflatoxins to stunted growth in children, depression and even mental retardation. Children are especially vulnerable to these toxins, and although adults have a better tolerance, no one is immune.
Unfortunately, aflatoxins are so difficult to eliminate that the FDA has declared in an "unavoidable contaminant", meaning that even organic bought peanuts and peanut butter will contain trace amounts of the toxin.
These two reasons give us "food" for thought before buying a big jar of peanut butter. Organic bought peanut butter may seem like a better option, but unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your peanuts are aflatoxin free. There are natural peanut butter brands that use peanuts from drier regions, which minimises the mould, but instead of worrying about where your peanuts are grown - why not try an easier alternative.
Tree nuts, like pecans, have a healthy ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fats and can be replaced in almost any recipe or meal that calls for peanuts. You can buy or make your own nut butter by blending nuts in a food processor to get a much healthier nut snack and avoid any carcinogenic toxins in the process. Pecan nuts make a delicious treat as a raw nut or as a nut butter which makes the transition away from peanuts much easier. So make smarter decisions in the future and avoid unnecessary toxins in your diet by choosing real nuts.
Kris Gunnars, B. (2017, May 30). Authority Nutrition. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from https://authoritynutrition.com/is-peanut-butter-bad-for-you/
Paleo Leap. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from https://paleoleap.com/beans-and-legumes/
Axe, D. J. (n.d.). Dr. Axe. Retrieved July 12, 2017, from https://draxe.com/peanut-butter-nutrition-facts/
Fox News. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2017, from Health.com: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/28/peanuts-or-pistachios-which-nuts-are-best-for-your-health.html