March is National Peanut Month – and what better time than the present to bone up on your peanut what’s-ups? First of all, you must know – peanuts are not nuts, they’re legumes.
Closely related to the dried beans and lentil families, peanuts are a killer source of some important nutrients: peanuts are a good source of folate, magnesium, vitamin E and phosphorus, and they are also high in niacin.
A one-ounce serving (28-30 large dry-roasted or 60 smaller ones) contains 170 calories, 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Don’t let their high fat content scare you off peanuts: the fat in peanuts is primarily from the heart-healthier unsaturated fatty acids, with only 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.
As far as snacks go, peanuts certainly keep you full: all of that good fat, protein and fiber promote satiety – the feeling of fullness that helps stave off hunger.
While the majority of peanuts in N. America are consumed as peanut butter – watch out for added sugar, salt and calories in some peanut butter brands. Read your labels carefully and choose your peanut butter wisely, opting for PB ingredient lists that say: Peanuts (and a little salt to spice things up!)
Here are some Peanut Fun Facts – courtesy of the National Peanut Board:
- It takes 540 peanuts to make a 12-oz jar of peanut butter
- Two peanut farmers have been elected US President: Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter
- By law, any peanut butter produced in the United States must be at least 90% peanuts – not so in Canada
- The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches before graduating from high school
Your last nugget of peanut propaganda? There is nothing special about “cholesterol-free” peanuts or peanut oil. Cholesterol is only found in animal foods and is made by the liver. Last time I checked: peanuts aren’t animals and they certainly don’t have livers.