Most people would agree that any type of nut is presumably a healthier snack than most of the alternatives out there today. However, what many people don’t know is that nuts are actually composed of a distinctive trait of chemicals that help fight off cancer. While the studies surrounding the phytochemicals in nuts are primarily suggestive at most, they do show an inverse relationship between the overall consumption of nuts and occurrences of cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
What are Phytochemicals?
Phytochemicals are chemicals that have no nutrient value but help protect the body against disease. The phytochemicals in peanuts refers to multiple types of phytochemicals all working in conjunction with one another; each one doing a specific job in your body. Peanuts actually have a variety of different phytochemicals, some of which are listed by the United States Department of Agriculture such as flavonoids, which help fight heart disease. Other types of phytochemicals in peanuts include resveratrol (which is also in red wine), isoflavones, and phytosterols.
Is a Peanut a Nut?
Of course, what good does this information do someone who has a peanut allergy? Well peanuts are actually considered legumes, as they don’t grow on trees like the other nuts such as walnuts or pecans. The phytochemicals in nuts broadly refer to the general assortment of the nut family (and in this case legumes as well), and actually plant based foods in general. So even if you have an allergy to a specific type of nut, you can still get enough phytochemicals in your diet by eating an array of fruits and nuts.
Atop the overwhelming positive characteristics of peanuts, they also have many other benefits such as peanut protein. The Food and Drug Administration states that about a handful of peanuts contains roughly seven grams of protein, and the average American consumes over six pounds of peanut products annually — that’s a lot of protein. Plant based proteins are becoming popular among many people because of the natural processing of the powder. Peanuts, and even peanut butter, contain many nutrients and proteins in their current form, but many people like to add them to shakes or dishes to not only add the flavor but the beneficial properties as well. Peanut butter can be added to a protein shake with bananas and other fruits to make a creamy sundae that’s chock full of nutrients and proteins.