What are the health benefits of peanut butter? It’s a favorite childhood treat of many. But for others, it’s on the naughty list for being full of calories and fat.
Some people are trying to find alternatives. Almond butter, sunflower seed butter, soy butter... But if you don’t have a nut allergy, peanut butter is still a great option. It actually comes with many scientifically-backed health benefits.
- What’s in peanut butter?
- Why people avoid peanut butter
- 1. Peanut butter can help with weight loss
- 2. Peanut butter can lower blood triacylglycerols
- 3. Peanut butter can prevent gallstones
- 4. Peanut butter can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s
- 5. Peanut butter can reduce risk of stroke
- 6. Peanut butter can increase heart health
- 7. Peanut butter can lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- 8. Peanut butter can protect against colon cancer
- 9. Peanut butter is anti-inflammatory
- 10. Peanut butter can boost your energy
- 11. Peanut butter helps you build muscle
- 12. Peanut butter can regulate bodily fluids
- 13. Peanut butter is full of antioxidants
- Amazing peanut butter recipes
- Lunch and dinner
- Desserts and snacks
- Other nutty and buttery ideas
- Some nutty things to be careful of
- Oxalate in peanuts
- Aflatoxin and peanuts
- Peanut allergies
What’s in peanut butter?
The health benefits of a food comes from its components. And peanut butter gives you a healthy dose of almost everything. Here’s a short list of smooth, unsalted peanut butter’s nutrition facts:
Protein: 129% of DV
Dietary fiber: 62% of DV
Vitamin E: 116% of DV
Niacin: 173% of DV
Vitamin B6: 76% of DV
Magnesium: 99% of DV
Phosphorus: 82% of DV
Manganese: 189% of DV
Why people avoid peanut butter
In addition to all those great vitamins and minerals, peanut butter is full of fat. In fact, one serving gives you 130 grams of total fat. That’s 200% of the daily value! And in it, 133% DV for saturated fat!
But before you give up on the butter, the huge fear and hatred of saturated fat isn’t that justified. It is needed for healthy bones, immune system, cell production and more. (Just don’t eat too much of it!)
And peanut butter includes more “good” fats too. One serving comes with 61.2 grams of monounsaturated fat and 35.8 grams of polyunsaturated fat. These fats help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They also reduce heart disease and may lower risk for metabolic syndrome.
Plus, low-fat peanut butter usually gives you more calories, thanks to the extra ingredients (sugar) to make up for the absence of fat.
1. Peanut butter can help with weight loss
Yes, peanut butter is full of fat but has been found to help with weight loss.
Peanuts are high calorie and energy dense. But a 30 week study showed that peanuts make you feel full for longer periods. After 19 weeks of regular peanut munching, resting energy expenditure was increased by 11% too.
The weight loss benefit is supported by a study published in the Obesity journal. Of the 8,865 adults in the 28 month study, those who ate nuts at least twice a week were less likely to become overweight or obese.
Nut-eaters had a 31% lower chance of weight gain. Those who never ate nuts and gained weight gained an average of 424 g or more. The researchers concluded that regular nut consumption is associated with lower risk of weight gain. The difference is around 5 kg or more!
For snacks, try spreading peanut butter over celery sticks. You’ll get crucial dietary fiber and maybe even cancel out the calorie intake.
2. Peanut butter can lower blood triacylglycerols
Triacylglycerides are a type of fat stored in our bodies. Level of triacylglycerides are influenced by your fat and alcohol intake. A high level can lead to hardening of arteries. This is associated with high blood cholesterol levels and other heart diseases.
Low fat diets actually increase triacylglycerol levels in your blood. High monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) diets, on the other hand, lower cholesterol. As we know, peanuts are a great source of MUFAs.
One study looked at the cardiovascular disease risk profile of 4 cholesterol lowering diets. Three were high MUFA diets:
American Heart Association Education Program Step II diet
Peanuts and peanut butter
The high MUFA diets had 13% lower triacylglycerol concentrations than the Step II diet.
Olive oil was able to decrease cardiovascular disease risk by 25%. Peanut butter came in second place overall with 21%. However, PB wasn’t as effective at increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Although, it was still beneficial.
The researchers concluded that a high MUFA diet is more heart healthy than a low fat diet. So it’s true that you shouldn’t cut all fats from your diet!
3. Peanut butter can prevent gallstones
Gallstones are quite common. Some people develop one gallstone, while others develop multiple at the same time.
There usually aren’t any signs or symptoms. But when there are, you experience sudden and intense pain in the upper right of your abdomen area. You can also feel pain below your breastbone, between shoulder blades and in your right shoulder.
Doctors aren’t sure yet why gallstones form. It could be due to excess cholesterol or bilirubin. But regardless the cause, peanut butter seems to help!
Researchers looked over twenty years worth of dietary data from the Nurses’ Health Study. They saw that women who ate at least 1 ounce of peanut butter (or nuts and peanuts) each week had a 25% lower risk of gallstones.
One ounce (2 tablespoons) is the perfect amount of peanut butter.
Another research team reinforced the fact that nuts are rich in compounds that protect against gallstones. Nut consumption leads to a lower chance of cholecystectomy, or gallbladder removal, too.
So, pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich once per week and you’ll be good to go. Just make sure you use whole wheat bread and natural jelly. And if you’d like some more, munch on some peanuts when you’re bored.
4. Peanut butter can lower the risk of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Along with other age-related cognitive decline, many experience memory loss and worsens over time.
As of now, there is still no true cure. However, there are treatments for the symptoms that can slow the worsening of the disease. There are also multiple foods that claim to help prevent Alzheimer’s. They range from caffeine to vinegar.
Researchers from the Chicago Health and Aging Project looked at diets of 3,000 people over age 65 years old. Their cognitive abilities were also tested over a span of 6 years.
The research, published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, showed that those with the highest niacin intake (22 mg per day) had a 70% lower chance of developing Alzheimer’s.
Peanuts are a great source of niacin, also known as Vitamin B3. Eating around a quarter cup per day reaches the daily recommended intake (16 mg for men and 14 mg for non-breastfeeding women).
5. Peanut butter can reduce risk of stroke
Many people drink red wine because it can help lower brain damage due to stroke. This is due to a flavonoid called resveratrol. It increases levels of an enzyme that protects nerve cells.
Studies have also determined resveratrol to improve blood flow to the brain. This greatly reduces risk of stroke, according to a study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The lead researcher hypothesized that resveratrol stimulates the production of nitric oxide. This molecule signals muscles surrounding blood vessels to relax, thus increasing blood flow.
Resveratrol has also been found in peanuts! Unfortunately, it’s not much. One ounce of red wine provides at least 75 micrograms of resveratrol. But one ounce of peanut butter only has around 50 micrograms.
Still, regular consumption of peanuts and/or peanut butter can still be helpful. After all, peanut butter is chock full of magnesium. And according to the American Society for Nutrition, magnesium is associated with reduced risks of ischemic stroke.
6. Peanut butter can increase heart health
Our heart is, well . . . the heart of our health. Cardiovascular disease is often linked to other conditions, such as high cholesterol, diabetes and more.
A balanced diet is needed for optimum health. Adding peanut butter to it will just make things better!
Many studies have shown that eating more peanuts can lower risk of coronary heart disease. Another study looked at the effect of nuts on cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 6309 women with type 2 diabetes.
Regular consumption of nuts and peanut butter showed a lower risk of CVD events. Major CVD events include stroke, revascularization and myocardial infarction. There were also lower LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels.
The fact that peanut butter can reduce risk of coronary heart disease is supported by many other studies as well. The researchers concluded that around 5 servings of peanut butter (1 tablespoon per serving) weekly was enough.
7. Peanut butter can lower risk of type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a lifelong disease.
Most people have type 2 diabetes. It is characterized by an inability to handle glucose in blood. These diabetics produce enough insulin, but their cells don’t use it correctly. This is called insulin resistance. Around 27 million people suffer from type 2 in America alone.
Another 86 million have prediabetes. This is when someone has high levels of glucose and are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You are especially at risk if you have high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides.
We already know how peanut butter is effective in improving heart health and lowering triglyceride levels. In another study, those who frequently ate peanut butter had a 30% lower risk of diabetes. Nuts also have a positive effect on lipids.
Overall, peanuts make a healthy addition to your diet if you have, or are at risk for, diabetes. Just make sure you keep an eye on your calorie count!
8. Peanut butter can protect against colon cancer
Colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, usually affects those over 50 years of age. However, incidences are rising for those under 50 years old. In some developed countries, even likelihood of dying has increased too. Around 50,000 die from colon cancer in America each year.
Researchers from Taiwan examined more than 20,000 people (12,026 men and 11,917 women) over a span of 10 years. Throughout the study, there were 107 new colorectal cases. By using a proportional hazard model, it was shown that peanuts greatly decrease risk.
Peanut consumption twice per week was associated with a 58% decrease in women and 27% for men. On the other hand, the researchers found that pickled foods significantly increase risk. For women, there was a 215% increase.
What else in peanuts is anti-cancerous?
So, bottom line: eat a small amount of PB for lower risk of colon cancer. And stay away from pickled food!
9. Peanut butter is anti-inflammatory
Experts published on the American Journal of Epidemiology that nuts high in unsaturated fats can help reduce inflammation.
As aforementioned, these nuts are related to lower risk of CVD and type 2 diabetes. The authors of the study looked at diets of 6,080 people between 45 and 84 years of age. They found that frequent peanut consumption is also associated with:
Lower C-reactive protein
C-reactive protein, interleukin and fibrinogen are all inflammatory markers. The levels of these markers are raised when you have: bacterial infections, arthritis, some cancers, Crohn’s disease, tissue disorders or other inflammatory conditions.
The researchers concluded that nut consumption may lower inflammation. And this is probably why it leads to lower CVD and diabetes risk.
10. Peanut butter can boost your energy
This is thanks to the amazing amount of niacin in peanut butter.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, help convert food into glucose. This is the building block of energy. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has also confirmed that dietary vitamin B3 contributes to energy-yielding metabolism. And it reduces feelings of fatigue.
What other great things does niacin do?
It helps in repairing DNA and producing positive stress responses. As a result, your nervous system needs niacin to function! It’s also important for normal psychological functions. In addition, the EFSA confirmed that niacin helps maintain normal skin and mucous membranes.
Vitamin B3 deficiency is less likely in developed countries. However, the most common cause is alcoholism.
Do note that there haven’t been extensive research on the exact benefits of niacin in peanut butter. But it’s still good to know that PB is chock full of essential nutrients!
11. Peanut butter helps you build muscle
So peanut butter is great for weight loss. It’s full of nutrients and gives you an energy boost too. All great news if you’re looking to work out and exercise.
And now, it’s said that PB is a natural way to increase your ability to build muscle. It keeps your energy level high.
It’s key to eat foods with nutrients that help stimulate testosterone production. It is the hormone responsible for muscle growth after all. Some crucial minerals needed for muscle growth include: phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin E and vitamin B6. Which peanut butter has more than enough of.
Peanuts and the butter are a rich source of zinc too. This nutrient is essential in keeping your testosterone hormone at the right level.
If you’re a woman, don’t worry about the rise in “masculine” hormones. Everyone needs a bit of it to make sure bodily functions run smoothly.
So rather than reaching for testosterone supplements or illegal steroids, grab a peanut butter shake!
12. Peanut butter can regulate bodily fluids
This is thanks to the potassium in the butter.
Not only is potassium an important mineral, it’s also an electrolyte. These substances conduct electricity. It’s also present in many sports drink that work to keep you hydrated.
In addition, potassium is critical for the heart to function. It’s responsible for contractions of skeletal and smooth muscles. It’s also needed for digestive and muscular functions. This probably plays a large role in why peanut butter is so awesome for your heart!
The level of potassium depends on how much sodium and magnesium you consume. When you have a high sodium diet, you’ll need more potassium to balance it out. Other conditions can leach the mineral from you too: diarrhea, excessive sweating, malnutrition, vomiting and more.
When you have potassium deficiency, you can have hypokalemia. This condition is characterized by weakness, fatigue, muscle cramps, indigestion and abnormal heart rhythms.
Other than peanuts and peanut butter, you can get potassium from:
Meat (all of them!)
Fish (salmon, cod and flounder)
13. Peanut butter is full of antioxidants
Antioxidants seem to be touted by all health gurus. It really is a great thing though. They are able to protect you from damage by free radicals.
Free radicals are harmful molecules that can cause heart diseases, cancers and more. In fact, these molecules have been found to be responsible for at least 50 diseases. And actually, many minerals and vitamins are antioxidants. For example, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium.
Until there is more evidence, it’s safer to get antioxidants naturally from your diet rather than supplements. The best sources are fruits and vegetables. They’re also found in some wine and tea.
And of course, peanuts. Neither the nut nor butter top the list of foods highest in antioxidants. But there’s a significant amount in peanuts.
In fact, researchers from the University of Florida say that peanuts may rival some fruits as antioxidant sources. There are high concentrations of an antioxidant polyphenols called p-coumaric acid. Roasting the nuts increase levels of this acid too. It raises overall antioxidant content by 22 percent!
And, as noted in a report in the British Journal of Nutrition,there are many great benefits to antioxidants in peanuts. It may be a factor as to why peanut butter is cardioprotective.
Amazing peanut butter recipes
A PB & J sandwich isn’t the only thing you can make with peanut butter! Let your creativity loose. Pair peanut butter with other health bombs. Or, you can take a look at the following ideas.
1. Spread peanut butter and jelly on . . .
Pancakes: get the recipe for healthy pancakes made from scratch here.
Quinoa is high in protein and one of the most popular health foods. This recipe scores full points for taste and health!
What you need:
1 cup of rinsed quinoa (red or white)
2 cups of water
1/3 cups of peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Apple chunks (as much as you want)
What to do:
Pour quinoa and water into a pot and heat. When it boils, turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa should be tender.
Remove the quinoa and place into your bowl. Stir in the peanut butter, honey and ground cinnamon. Add in the apples. You can drizzle in more honey or sprinkle cinnamon as you wish.
Then serve immediately and enjoy while warm!
As the name implies, this recipe gives you breakfast in a jar. It’s simple to make and easy to take around. So there’s no excuse in skipping breakfast! Plus, the goodies in this all help jumpstart your day.
For the oatmeal, you’ll need:
1/4 cup of oats
1/4 cup of milk (preferably non or low-fat)
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chia seeds
A bit of ground cinnamon
Some ideas for what to add in:
1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tablespoon of peanut butter
Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries
What to do:
Make your oatmeal the night before. Simply throw all the ingredients into a bowl and stir. When everything is mixed equally, cover the bowl. Place it in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, take out your add-ons. You can layer it however you wish in your jar.
It’s recommended to start with half of the yogurt and fruits. Put the oatmeal and peanut butter in the middle. Top it off with yogurt and fruit again. Finish by sprinkling on some granola chunks.
Enjoy your peanut butter parfait as soon as you’re done. Or screw on the lid and take the jar along to your commute!
Bananas are full of potassium and go great with peanut butter! Add some yogurt to the mix and you get a muffin that’s just right. This recipe will take a bit longer though. But it makes around 12-16 muffins, so it’ll last you a couple of days!
What you need:
2 ripe bananas
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup of honey
2/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
What to do:
First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray some canola oil into muffin tins. Or you can line the tins with baking cups instead.
Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add in the honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract and Greek yogurt. Mix well.
In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients: all purpose and whole wheat flour, sugar, flax seeds, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add in the gooey stuff and stir until everything is equally mixed.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Don’t fill the cups the whole way! 3/4 full would be enough. If you wish, sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top of each muffin.
Place the muffin tin onto the middle rack of your oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and then you’re all set. Just be careful when taking the tin out!
Lunch and dinner
This makes a creamy and filling soup. The recipe includes sweet potatoes to add in more fiber. Red curry paste also adds a little zing to the flavor!
The prep time is pretty short (10 minutes). It’ll take around 1 hour to stew and makes 3-4 bowls. If needed, cook it beforehand and microwave it during your lunch break (or dinner).
What you need for the soup:
2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons of peanut oil (separate)
1/4 onion (diced)
1 large clove of garlic (minced)
3 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste
3 cups of canned coconut milk
3 cups of vegetable broth (or chicken)
1/3 cups of peanut butter
3 tablespoons of minced fresh cilantro
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (chopped)
To taste: cayenne, salt and pepper
What to do:
First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep the sweet potatoes by pricking them with a fork. Bake it for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender. Then allow it to cool for 10 minutes before taking out. Peel off the skin. It might still be a little hot, so be careful. Set the skinned potatoes in a bowl and mash.
On the other hand, heat 1 tablespoon of peanut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Then add in the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Stir in the mashed (sweet) potatoes.
Then take the pot off the heat. Puree the mixture with a blender. Add in the peanut butter, cilantro and the rest of the flavorings as you wish.
Serve hot with croutons. And the recipe for that is right here:
What you need for the croutons:
8 slices of whole wheat bread (toasted)
8 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of butter or oil
What you do:
The croutons are pretty easy. Just toast the bread and slather on the peanut butter for a simple PB sandwich.
Add the butter or oil to a skillet. Heat it over medium heat. Then grill each piece of bread until it’s crunchy enough for you. (2 to 3 minutes for each side.)
To finish, cut the sandwiches into squares. Toss them into the soup along with chopped peanuts. And enjoy!
Cultures all over the world use fresh lettuce as wraps. It’s easy, economic and healthy! The peanut dipping sauce part requires some effort. But it’s definitely worth it.
Preparation time only takes 10 minutes. But you’ll make around 20 wraps. It’s enough to serve 4 people!
What you need for the peanut sauce:
1 cup of light coconut milk
3 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger (sliced)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
What you need for the wraps:
20 lettuce leaves
10 ounces of extra firm tofu
1 red bell pepper
1 small cucumber
20-25 Thai basil leaves
What do to:
For the peanut sauce, blend everything together. You might need a strong arm. Or you can use a blender. If serving multiple people, divide the sauce into separate bowls. Otherwise, feel free to eat straight out of the bowl!
Slice the red pepper and cucumber thinly. The tofu should be drained and patted dry. Cut the tofu into small finger-sized slices.
For the lettuce wraps, place the red pepper, cucumber and tofu across the leafy end of each lettuce. Lay some basil leaves over it all. Fold the sides in and roll towards the crunchy end.
Dip the wrap into the delicious goodness and enjoy!
Here’s a meatier alternative to the lettuce wrap! Still, it’s a low-carb wrap. It’s a perfect addition to your meal. The prep time is only 15 minutes and makes 4 servings.
What you need:
1 cup of chicken meat (diced)
3/4 cup of apple (peeled, cored and diced)
1/3 cup of red onion (diced)
20 seedless grapes (halved)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil (or mayonnaise)
1 tablespoon of honey
4 leaves of lettuce (preferably iceberg or romaine)
What to do:
Throw the chicken, apple, onion, grapes and salt in one ball. Combine and set aside.
In another bowl, stir peanut butter, olive oil or mayo and honey together. Pour this mixture into the other bowl. Toss to coat the entire chicken mixture equally.
Spoon the filling onto the leafy end of the lettuce. Fold the sides in and roll towards the other end. And then, enjoy!
Desserts and snacks
Chocolate and peanut butter might lean more on the “guilty pleasure” side. But the avocado, banana and Greek yogurt surely make up for it!
What you need:
1/4 cups of plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
To taste: sugar
What to do:
To prep the avocado, remove the skin and pit. Throw the remaining flesh into the blender. Toss in the other ingredients and blend away.
When you get a smooth mixture, spoon it into an airtight container. Let it chill and serve as you wish. For more texture, add some fruit slices (banana, strawberry etc).
With onions and chili, this makes a more savory snack. You can use the bread as a base for sandwiches or other meals too. Total prep time is around 3 hours. But you’ll a whole loaf of amazing bread!
What you need:
1 cup of warm water
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
2.5 teaspoons of dry active yeast
2.5 cups of whole wheat bread flour (separated)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of dried thyme
1/2 onion (minced or chopped)
3 cloves of garlic (minced or chopped)
1/4 cup of cilantro (chopped)
1/2 cup of spicy butter (example)
What to do:
Dissolve brown sugar with the warm water. Add in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes or so.
Add salt, thyme and 1 cup of flour into a bowl. If you have a mixer, stir on low. Otherwise, use your muscles and mix to incorporate. Then stir in the onion, garlic and cilantro.
Set the mixer to speed 2. While it’s on, pour in the sugar and yeast mixture, along with peanut butter. Mix for 1 minute. You might need to scrape the batter down from the sides.
While continuing to mix, add in the rest of the flour. One 1/2 cup at a time. By the end, the dough should start clinging to the dough hook rather than the sides of the bowl. Keep kneading for 2 to 3 minutes.
Then dump the dough into a pre-greased bowl. Cover it with a clean towel. Leave it for around 1 to 2 hours for it to rise. When it doubles in size, gently push the air out. While doing so, push the dough into a rectangle. It should be around 6 inches wide and 10 inches long.
Roll up the width of the rectangle. Pinch in creases, then place it into a pre-greased loaf pan, seam-side down. The ends of the loaf should be touching the sides of the pan. Place it in a warm area and recover with a clean towel. Let it rise for around 1 hour.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Bake the bread in the middle for 45 minutes. The bread should sound hollow when you thump it. Let it cool for around 2 minutes before removing from the pan. After it cools completely, slice it up and enjoy!
Other nutty and buttery ideas
Scoop peanut butter with celery sticks
Sprinkle roasted nuts into your salad or vegetable platter
Add some nut butter to your fruit smoothie
Pair lightly roasted peanuts and tomato juice
Some nutty things to be careful of
Of course, no food is perfect. While we love the PB, there are still some cons.
Peanut butter has its share of components to be cautious of (other than the high calorie count).
Oxalate in peanuts
Oxalate is produced as a waste product and leaves our body through urine. It is also a natural organic acid found in many foods. Including healthy foods such as berries and dark green vegetables!
Peanuts are also high in oxalate, which can be a problem for those with certain medical conditions. When there is too much oxalate in your body, it can cause kidney stones. Some research show that it can decrease calcium absorption too.
Sounds scary? But don’t worry!
The oxalate level in peanuts shouldn’t be a problem unless you are at risk of kidney stones. If you are, make sure you consult with an expert. Your doctor can help you create a suitable diet plan.
Aflatoxin and peanuts
Aflatoxins are a type of toxins produced by certain fungi (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus). The fungi are found on raw agricultural crops and processed foods. The food of highest concern is corn. But it can also be found on things such as tree nuts . . . peanuts.
You can be exposed to aflatoxins by consuming contaminated products. However, it’s difficult to avoid. Heavily contaminated foods aren’t allowed to be sold in the markets. But we don’t know the negative effects by low levels.
Exposure to aflatoxins can lead to higher risk of liver cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) put aflatoxin on its list of human carcinogens.
Aflatoxicosis is most common in developing countries. Symptoms include vomiting, stomach pain and damage to livers, kidneys and the heart.
If you prefer peanuts to the butter, lower the risk of aflatoxins in peanuts:
Raw peanuts: store in a dry and cool environment.
Fungus grows when the temperature and humidity high.
Roasted peanuts: roast in a 75 degree Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes to preserve healthy oils
Some say roasted peanuts protect against aflatoxin and are more easily digested.
For more detailed information on aflatoxins, visit here.
The peanut allergy is one of the most common types of food allergies. Number of cases in children have risen dramatically in recent years. This is why PB & J sandwiches are less and less common in school lunches.
Be aware of the symptoms:
Itchy skin, rashes or hives
They can either be small bumps or large wells
Tingling around or in the mouth and/or throat
It can be life threatening to some people. The most severe (but less common) allergy reaction is anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic reactions require immediate treatment.
If you think you’ve developed a peanut allergy, contact an allergen. To aid with the identification process, keep a food diary and note any reactions/symptoms.