Peanuts – they’re as American as apple pie and even more popular. They accompany every ballgame, every circus and every southern-style steakhouse in the country. They appear in our homes raw and unshelled, honey-roasted, wrapped in chocolate, as peanut butter and mixed into a variety of snack foods. We eat them with a relish reserved only for the rare items that can both tantalize our taste buds and satisfy our stomachs. We love them. In fact, we might very well be obsessed with them. And fortunately, we have good reason.
As far as nuts go, well, they aren’t one, but as far as legumes go, my God, they’re healthy. Peanuts are packed with protein, fiber, vitamin E, folate, niacin and manganese. They have more antioxidants than some fruits and offer you a delicious amount of “good” fats. They’re a regularly prescribed part of a balanced diet, filling the consumer with a soon-to-arrive yet long-to-leave satisfaction. They are low on the Glycemic Index, allowing you to maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels, and they can help fight cancer, heart disease and diabetes. You can eat them in almost any form and reap the benefits, but certain ones are better than others.
Scientists in Alabama recently tested the antioxidant levels of peanuts after being cooked in one of four ways: not at all, boiled, oven-roasted or oil-roasted. The boiled peanuts proved to have antioxidant levels up to four times higher than any of the others. They were the significantly better choice but only when boiled in the shell. By remaining in their natural casing, the kernel absorbed the shell’s and the skin’s antioxidants, something it couldn’t have done if stripped bare. So, the next time you need a peanut-fix, opt for the type with the highest level of health. Buy boiled (or buy raw and boil them yourself). Then, savor your and America’s most beloved salty snack.