Some people go crazy over peanuts and peanut butter. They can eat it alone, with jelly, as a snack, or as part of their meal. However, peanuts are not like other nuts! They are different in many ways and should be consumed with caution. Here are 6 things that make peanuts different and why you should reduce peanut consumption, or better eliminate it from your diet.
Peanuts do not grow on trees
The truth is that peanuts are not even nuts! They are considered legumes, like lentils and beans. What makes them even more different is that they actually grow underground! Yes, peanuts do not grow on trees, rather they grow in pods under the ground.
Peanuts have high levels of fungi
Because the peanut pods are part of the root system of the plant, harvesting includes pulling the plant out of the ground and allowing them to dry in warm and humid places. These conditions are optimum for fungi growth, which unfortunately takes place both in the husk and the kernel. In other words, there is no part of the pod that is safe from fungi.
Peanuts contain aflatoxins
Some would say that fungi are not a big deal. Mushrooms are fungi and we eat them all the time, they even have beneficial properties. That is correct, however, the species of fungi and the substances they produce are what make them dangerous. Peanut pods have been found to have high levels of Fusarium and Aspergillus species. These are producers of aflatoxin. Exposure to aflatoxin has been associated with liver cancer.
They are loaded with toxins
Pesticides are heavily involved in the growing of peanuts. According to the “What’s on my food” website, 8 different types of pesticides can be found in peanut butter. These substances penetrate the food, ground, and water, and cannot be easily broken down because they are not naturally occurring substances. They have been found to be neurotoxic, disrupt hormones, cause developmental and reproductive alterations, and carcinogenic. Just recently, one of the largest pesticide companies had to pay out billions of dollars in compensation because their product was found to be linked to lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system.
They have the wrong Omegas
Over the years, it has become well known that omega fatty acids are beneficial to the human body due to their anti-inflammatory properties. This included omega 3s and 6s, and anything with omegas was consumed. Recent studies find that a balance of 3:1 ratio between omega 3:omega 6 is necessary for optimum function. Well, peanuts and many other foods consumed on a daily basis are loaded with omega 6s that offsets that balance and can actually be pro-inflammatory and the cause of chronic disease.
Peanuts and lectins are buddies
Lectins are considered part of plants’ defense mechanism. Once an animal eats the plant/fruit/seed/root, lectins make the animal feel bad, beginning with indigestion, and this should deter the animal from eating it again. This gives the plant a better chance to live and reproduce. Lectins have been associated with increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut), low-grade inflammation, autoimmunities, and many other disorders.
With all these things to consider, it is better to limit or best to eliminate peanuts and its’ derivatives from your diet. Other healthier options are available, such as almonds, cashews, walnuts, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, and they are all REAL nuts too!
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El-Serag H. B. (2012). Epidemiology of viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Gastroenterology, 142(6), 1264–1273.e1. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2011.12.061
Nakai, V. K., de Oliveira Rocha, L., Gonçalez, E., Fonseca, H., Ortega, E. M. M., & Corrêa, B. (2008). Distribution of fungi and aflatoxins in a stored peanut variety. Food Chemistry, 106(1), 285-290.