“Take me out to the ballgame….buy me some peanuts….”
Baseball and peanuts are a natural combination and with baseball season right around the corner it got me thinking about peanuts (that, and the fact that I live in Georgia!) But, peanuts don’t seem to get the love like the tree nuts almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios. I love all of the tree nuts, but the humble legume, the peanut, should also be celebrated for its nutritional content and health benefits. So, here are all the reasons you should eat peanuts:
- Peanuts are a protein powerhouse with 7 grams of protein per 1-ounce serving (that is about 40 pieces from a jar of peanuts) and that is the same amount of protein found in one egg. Peanuts are rich in the amino acid arginine which is a precursor to a potent compound that relaxes blood vessels to help keep the blood flowing and lower blood pressure.
- Peanuts are not high in sodium contrary to what you might think. Roasted unsalted peanuts have only 5 milligrams of sodium per ounce and roasted salted nuts have 230 mg so a serving of salted nuts can easily fit into a diet with a heart healthy 2300 mg of sodium per day.
- Research has shown that frequent nut eaters have lower lipid levels than those who don’t eat nuts. Eating peanuts lowers your risk of heart disease. Peanuts also reduce inflammation; a condition that can set the stage for heart disease and other chronic diseases.
- Peanuts are high in the mineral magnesium; a nutrient in short supply for many Americans.
- Peanuts are also high in two plant nutrients (phytonutrients) beta-sitosterol and resveratrol and both are tied to reducing cancer risk.
- Lastly, peanuts have a low glycemic index (GI) helping to keep your blood sugar level in a healthy range.
Peanuts, like all nuts, are high in calories and fat. The fats in peanuts are “good” kinds of fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) but all fats have 9 calories/gram so keep your portion sizes in check. Share your bag of peanuts at the baseball with your family and friends!
Enjoy baseball and enjoy peanuts this season.