When you are incorporating new tastes, textures and replacing old family favorites, be prepared to hear your family grumble. I ate this alone for about a year, and now my family PREFERS it to all the whipped frothy peanut butters full of bad fats. Persevere - your family is worth the prudent journey toward better health.
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Are Peanuts a Better Antioxidant Source Than Fruit?
A growing number of people have been making an effort to include more fruits and vegetables into their diets, as such foods are known for having high antioxidant qualities. However, it seems fruits and vegetables may have found a new rival: Peanuts.
According to studies, peanuts not only contain the so-called "good" fat (monounsaturated fat), but they are also high in a variety of helpful antioxidants, or chemicals that shield the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals can be described as unstable molecules that occur naturally in the human body, damaging living cells. Such damage has been related to:
* Heart disease
* Certain types of cancers
* Macular degeneration of the eye (a gradual loss of central vision)
By integrating peanuts and peanut butter into a healthful diet, it is possible to lower cholesterol, lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
Vitamins A, C and E are recognized as antioxidants and peanuts are an optimal source of vitamin E. In addition, peanuts contain high concentrations of polyphenols (a compound called p-coumaric acid), which also have strong antioxidant properties.
Research has indicated that roasting peanuts can boost the level of p-coumaric acid, increasing the total antioxidant content by as much as 22 percent. Science Blog <http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/node/6537> December 27, 2004
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
While the study has indicated that consuming peanuts may be beneficial to your health, it is important to realize that eating peanuts or peanut butter may not be your healthiest option for several important reasons. Dangers Associated with Peanut Consumption * Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-laden foods * Top-heavy in omega-6 fats that distort the healthy omega-3:6 ratio <http://www.mercola.com/article/omega3.htm> * Often contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin, though a new and safer <http://www.mercola.com/2004/jul/17/peanuts_mold.htm> biopesticide shows promise
Fortunately, however, there are some relatively safe ways to reduce these negative effects.
First, obtain Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter. This peanut butter is made from Valencia peanuts, which are grown in New Mexico. Aflatoxin, a group of poisonous chemical compounds produced my mold, has not been reported to be a problem in that state due to the dry weather conditions. In addition, the organic version of peanut butter is pesticide free.
Additionally, you can pour off the oil that settles on the top of the peanut butter jar rather than stirring it into the peanut butter, as this will lower the omega-6 content. If this makes it too dry for your taste you can stir in some olive oil or macadamia nut oil, both of which are very low in omega-6 fats and far higher in safe monounsaturated fats. Avoid using canola oil <http://www.mercola.com/2002/aug/14/con_ola1.htm> as filler, as it is fraught with other potential problems. If you are interested in increasing the protein in peanut butter (peanuts have about the same amount of protein as soy <http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/> ), I recommend mixing in some Brewer's yeast. This is especially useful for vegetarians.
Incorporate Antioxidants Into Your Diet
If you don't know by now, I am no major fan of using large amounts of antioxidant supplements. I think it is far wiser to obtain them from whole foods. If this seems unusual to you I would encourage you to review a previous article <http://www.mercola.com/2001/aug/22/antioxidants.htm> on this topic.
Another recent article
<http://www.mercola.com/2004/jun/30/food_antioxidants.htm> listed the foods that have the highest antioxidant content. This list can help you select the best foods for antioxidant protection:
Highest Ranking Antioxidant Food Sources:
* Fruits: Cranberries, blueberries and blackberries
* Vegetables: Beans, artichokes
* Nuts: Pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts
* Spices: Ground cloves, ground cinnamon and oregano
Also, I highly recommend CherryFlex and Wild <http://www.mercola.com/forms/softgel_capsules.htm> Blueberry IQ Softgels.
These potent, antioxidant-rich capsules maintain the health benefits of whole fruit just as Mother Nature intended but without the natural sugars and pasteurization of juice concentrates. The tart cherries and wild blueberries used in these softgels are laboratory tested and contain the most anthocyanins on the market. I normally pop a few before I exercise to help protect my tissues from the oxidant stress from exercising. I feel comfortable taking these as they are essentially whole food concentrates.
Since there are many antioxidant-rich foods to choose from, it's easy to find the ones you enjoy and make them a regular part of your meals. Though, no matter what source you choose, be sure to include antioxidant-rich foods in your diet every day. Doing so will help protect your body from the long-term and cumulative effects of free radical damage.
Peanuts are Both <http://www.mercola.com/2003/aug/20/peanuts_health.htm>
Good and Bad
Free Radicals: What to Eat to Protect Your Health
Antioxidants: The <http://www.mercola.com/2001/aug/22/antioxidants.htm>
Good, The Bad and the Evil
More Antioxidants in <http://www.mercola.com/2003/mar/22/antioxidants.htm>
Organic Food Than Conventionally Grown Food
Surprising Best <http://www.mercola.com/2004/jun/30/food_antioxidants.htm>
Sources of Food Antioxidants