Peanuts are groundnutsónot true nuts, but legumes. A New World plant, they are native to Central and South America, but they are now grown and eaten around the world. The Peopleís Republic of China is the greatest producer of peanuts. The United States is the fourth-largest producer, with production of about 1.7 million tons annually.
Peanuts, like other legumes, are a rich source of both protein and fiber. Although peanuts are relatively low in the amino acids cysteine and methionine, they are high in lysine, and they balance well with grains, which are high in methionine but low in lysine. A cup of peanuts provides 30 grams of protein. Nearly half of the carbohydrate in peanuts is dietary fiberó12.4 grams of fiber in one cup.
Peanuts are also a very good source of niacin and folate, and a significant source of pantothenic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Although peanuts are nearly half fat by weight, about half of that is monounsaturated, and only 13 percent is saturated fat.
Roasted peanuts may rival some berries for antioxidant content, including resveratrol and Coenzyme Q10.
The nutritional Benefits of peanut butter depend on how it is made. All-natural, fresh-ground peanut butters are the most like peanuts, though you have to remember that any peanut butter is much more calorie-dense than whole peanuts. Peanut butters tend to have more sugars and fats but less fiber than whole peanuts, though they are still a high-quality source of protein, fiber, energy, vitamins, and minerals.
Despite their many health Benefits and the longtime popularity of peanuts and peanut butter as staple foods for children, these days you are more likely to hear about peanuts causing allergies and being banned from schools. This is a serious issue, because for those who are allergic to peanuts, the reaction can be life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Research is ongoing, but it appears that roasting may increase the allergenic properties of peanuts. Most peanut butter is made from roasted peanuts. Itís still controversial whether introducing peanuts to children at a young age is more likely to prevent the allergy or cause it. Raw peanuts also sometimes carry a mold called Aspergillus that can be dangerous to health.Nutritional Facts
Two tablespoons of unsalted all-natural peanut butter provides 210 calories, 6 g carbohydrate, 8 g protein, 16 g fat, 2 g dietary fiber, and 0.36 mg iron.