Saturday, April 19, 2008

Peanuts Aren't Just Snackfood- They Boost Antioxidants!

By Timothy Moore

When you think of getting high amounts of antioxidants, you may think of eating pomegranates, blueberries, blackberries or strawberries, but a new study found that having a handful of peanuts can give you an antioxidant boost.

A team of researchers at the University of Florida tested a dozen different selections of peanuts and found that not only are peanuts rich in protein and monounsaturated fats (good fats), but they also contain as many antioxidants as strawberries, and are higher in antioxidants than apples, beets and carrots. Pomegranate remains the highest antioxidant fruit.

Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemicals in plant food that protect the body against free radicals, which can cause heart disease and cancer.

Peanuts are high in polyphenol antioxidants, which help to combat oxidative stress and are particularly high in a certain type of polyphenol, called p-Coumaric acid. P-Coumaric acid is a crystalline solid that can be found in a wide variety of edible plants such as carrots, garlic and tomatoes, as well as peanuts, and is rumored to reduce the risk of stomach cancer.

Peanuts are also an excellent source of vitamin E, niacin, folate and manganese.

The study was published in the Food Chemistry journal, a journal that publishes peer–reviewed research papers dealing with a wide range of subjects which are essential to the food scientist and technologist.

The researchers were surprised that peanuts were as rich in antioxidants as strawberries and other types of high level fruits and are thinking that it may be possible to breed peanuts that are specifically high in antioxidants.

The team also found that roasting peanuts may increase the level of acid found in the nuts, which increases the antioxidant level up to twenty-two percent.

Scientists and alternative medicine experts have had much to say on this study and many agree that additional research into the health properties of peanuts may be warranted.

Experts, however, continue to recommend getting daily doses of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables. While peanuts are an excellent source of various micronutrients, they do tend to be high in salt. And when consumed to excess, peanuts can add a high-calorie anchor to one's diet. However, by consuming peanuts in moderation, individuals may be able to benefit from the consumption of peanuts.

To get the benefits without the negatives, a good recommendation may be to obtain an organic, salt-free brand of peanuts and peanut butter for the healthiest dose of peanut related antioxidants.

The author of this article is Tim Moore, writing for Vitamins Stuff, a site that offers information on Vitamins and Alternative Medicine.

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