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Peanuts are grown all over the world. They have a characteristic woody, earthy flavor, which becomes stronger as the crop matures.
Peanuts are packaged as roasted, fried, seasoned, or candied snacks. They are also used as functional ingredients in a range of processed foods such as confectionaries, soups, and desserts and as meat extenders.
Peanuts can be consumed as whole nuts or their by-products, including peanut oil, peanut flour, and peanut butter.
Nearly half of all peanut consumption in the United States is in the form of peanut butter, (1) which points to the overwhelming demand for this food spread.
Benefits of Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Peanuts belong to the legume family, which implies they are sources of plant proteins. But there is more to their nutritional reserve than just that.
This popular nut contains a variety of bioactive compounds such as dietary fibers, healthy fatty acids, polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Peanuts also contain some amount of saturated fat but have a much larger share of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Thus, even though they do contain some saturated fat, they are still considered heart-healthy. As with other foods, the main point is to consume them in moderation to derive all their health benefits without overdoing your saturated fat intake.
Peanut butter is made by grinding dry, roasted peanuts into a paste and adding a few optional additional ingredients to it.
Much of the nutritional goodness of peanuts is retained in peanut butter, making it nutritionally superior to most breakfast spreads such as butter, cheese, jam, and mayonnaise.
Peanut butter can be considered a high-calorie food, so it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. One serving size of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons.
Peanut butter provides essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins E, B3, B6, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, and folate. It also provides about 558 mg of potassium while containing only 17 mg of sodium so long as the nuts are unsalted. This makes for an excellent potassium-to-sodium ratio, which is vital for maintaining a healthy electrolyte balance in the body. (2)
Peanuts and peanut butter may be rich in calories due to their inherent fat content, but they are still considered good for weight management. (4)
Peanuts and peanut butter are credited with multiple health virtues owing to their rich nutrient composition.
The combination of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, plant proteins, magnesium, potassium, fiber, and arginine along with several other bioactive components found in peanuts may play a role in reducing and managing hypertension. (3)
Peanuts are good sources of dietary fiber, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Moreover, these nuts contain other organic compounds such as tocopherols, phytochemicals, flavonoids, and resveratrol, all of which exhibit significant antioxidant activity that may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and decrease cardiovascular risk. (1)(5)
Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe
Store-bought peanut butter often contains added sugar and hydrogenated fats that take away from its overall nutritional value. The good news is you can make your own unadulterated peanut butter at home in just a couple of minutes.
This hassle-free recipe will provide you the best quality and nutritional value of peanut butter without compromising its taste.
- 2 cups of unsalted, roasted peanuts
- 2-3 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- Put 2 cups of roasted peanuts into a food processor.
- Grind them for a few seconds until they turn into a powder.
- Add 2-3 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil into the grinder.
- Process the peanut and oil mixture again to make a very smooth paste.
- Keep scraping down the sides of the grinding bowl from time to time to avoid wastage.
- Transfer the peanut butter into a storage container.
- If roasted peanuts are not available, you can take regular shelled peanuts and dry roast them yourself in an oven at a temperature setting of 160-180°C (325-350°F). The cooking duration may vary depending upon the oven wattage, but the process generally takes 15-20 minutes.
Alternatively, you can roast the peanuts on a stove for no more than 20 minutes, but do stir them occasionally so that they do not burn on one side. You can also cook them in a microwave for 10-12 minutes.
Since the cooking process continues even after you take the peanuts off the heat, it is all the more necessary not to overcook them. Once the nuts are cool enough to touch, rub them together in your palms to remove their papery brown skin.
- If you are out of olive oil, you can use peanut oil or any other vegetable oil in its place, but pure olive oil is the preferred option.
- You can add finely ground sea salt, cinnamon powder, cocoa powder, honey, or maple syrup to enhance the flavor of your homemade peanut butter.
- Refrigerating your homemade peanut butter can extend its shelf life and keep it from going bad for months.
- You can make peanut-almond butter in the same way by using equal parts of both the nuts rather than just peanuts.
- People with peanut allergies are strictly prohibited to consume peanut butter, as it can trigger potentially deadly reactions.
Disclaimer: Peanut allergies are not only extremely prevalent, but they can often result in severe anaphylactic shock. In fact, peanuts are the most commonly reported cause of anaphylaxis, a rapid allergic reaction that occurs within seconds or minutes of exposure to the allergen. (6)
Anaphylaxis occurs suddenly and can lead to unconsciousness or death if not treated immediately. Thus, people with a peanut allergy must exercise special precautions with regard to their food choices, when buying groceries, or when eating out.
Uses of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has a mild earthy flavor that goes well with a lot of things. You can enjoy this homemade spread with whole-grain bread, oatmeal, cut apples, banana slices, or celery sticks.
You can also use it for making a wide variety of sweet items such as cookies, muffins, crepes, and ice cream.
Another easy preparation to make with homemade unsalted peanut butter is adding it to a smoothie. Simply add a spoonful of peanut butter to a concoction of other nutritious ingredients such as banana, yogurt, and milk to fix yourself a peanut butter-flavored smoothie.
DIY Peanut Butter, Yogurt, and Banana Smoothie
Know the Ingredients
The sweet, appetizing flavor of banana sits well with people of all generations, which contributes to the overwhelming popularity of this fruit.
In the United States, the demand for bananas alone is greater than the combined demand for apples and oranges. This fruit is not only delicious but also replete with several nutrients that can give you a shot of energy and good health.
Banana is a good source of electrolytes, particularly potassium, which makes it helpful for treating diarrhea. Having the runs can drain your body of fluids and energy, and eating bananas can help replenish both. (7)
Bananas are also loaded with antioxidants, prebiotic fibers, and polyphenols, all of which can help improve your digestive function and overall health.
Yogurt is a nutritional powerhouse that contains ample amounts of dairy protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, conjugated linoleic acid among other healthy fatty acids, and active cultures of good bacteria or probiotics.
It is on account of this unique fermented nutrient matrix that yogurt is credited with significant therapeutic potential.
Regular intake of yogurt in moderate amounts can greatly improve your gastrointestinal health. The probiotics found in yogurt help break down the ingested food for better nutrient absorption and smoother digestion.
Besides, fermented foods such as yogurt can also help fight lactose intolerance and infectious diarrhea by virtue of their intrinsic probiotic content.
Moreover, the good bacteria supplied by yogurt can help strengthen the immune and anti-inflammatory response of the body. In fact, yogurt intake may help reduce the duration and incidence of respiratory infections. (8)
Thus, yogurt and bananas are both credited with their individual health benefits, which can be combined in the form of a smoothie.
You can derive a good dose of probiotics, prebiotics, high-quality protein, important fatty acids, and a mixture of vitamins and minerals from a tall glass of flavorsome smoothie of banana and yogurt. All these nutritional elements can eventually come together to enhance various aspects of your health. (9)
Note: Yogurt is likely to be well tolerated by most individuals when consumed in regular amounts, but it can cause digestive and other problems when taken in excess.
Overconsumption of yogurt by healthy individuals can result in diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and dermatitis. People who are allergic to yogurt are likely to suffer a more serious reaction even after consuming small amounts and so should avoid it completely.
Peanut Butter, Yogurt, and Banana Smoothie Recipe
Whip up this mouth-watering but healthy drink in a matter of minutes.
- ½ cup of low-fat milk
- 1 cup of plain, low-fat yogurt
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon of ground flaxseeds
- ½ teaspoon of raw honey or local honey
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
- Put all ingredients into the blender.
- Process the ingredients until they blend into a smoothie.
Your peanut butter and banana smoothie is best consumed right after blending. Enjoy!
Peanut butter serves as a heart-healthier alternative to regular butter, margarine, jams, marmalade, cheese, and other spreads. It packs quite a nutritional punch while offering a delectable taste that is palatable to kids and adults alike.
The smooth, nutty flavor of this paste makes it a flavorsome addition to a variety of dishes and drinks. You can derive the health benefits of homemade peanut butter by eating it alone as well. However, this versatile item is only healthy as long as it is consumed in moderation.
Peanut butter is a pretty common item that is available in every general or grocery store, but you can also make it at home. The advantage of making your own peanut butter is that you can exercise full control over product quality.
You can use only the best ingredients to make your peanut butter and avoid harmful additives that are often added to the mass-produced, commercial varieties. Moreover, you can add different nuts or adjust the ingredient proportions to make the peanut butter more flavorful and enjoyable.