March to a Healthier You with Peanuts
By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College; editor, The Student Connection
March 25, 2016
March is filled with great nutritional information and activities. In addition to National Nutrition Month, it’s also National Peanut Month. Peanuts have a great deal of energy-boosting protein and more than 30 vitamins and nutrients. They are a source of 7 grams of protein, can be great on the go or stirred into oatmeal or a smoothie. Peanuts provide fiber and good fats and are naturally gluten-free.
Peanuts are thought to have originated in South America and were discovered by explorers as early as 1500 B.C. Peanuts were entombed with mummies to help the spirit in the afterlife and also were ground with maize to make a drink.
It wasn’t until around the 1800s that peanuts came to the United States and were first grown in Virginia for oil and food for livestock.
Production of peanuts increased as their popularity grew after the Civil War, when soldiers acquired a taste for them, and because they are known as an excellent source of protein.
There are four types of peanuts:
- Runner peanut – most commonly used for making peanut butter
- Virginia peanuts – the largest of the four varieties and used in gourmet snacks and for making peanut butter
- Spanish peanuts –the nuttiest flavor and used in peanut candy, salted peanuts and peanut butter
- Valencia peanuts – used mostly for making boiled peanuts and natural peanut butter with its sweet flavor
The National Peanut Board, which was established in 2000, is an excellent resource for all things peanut-related, including facts and information on nutritional value.
While peanuts can provide many health benefits, eating nuts in moderation is recommended. And always make sure there are no food allergies associated with nuts.
For more information about nutritional facts, recipes and history visit the National Peanut Board.