Peanuts / Groundnuts have been used in several cuisines in India and we do have a rich repertoire of dishes with peanuts. Who does not like Sabudana khichdi topped with roasted peanuts? Or peanut sundal or peanut chutney? Or what can beat the joy of munching on a peanut chikki square?
Peanut butter, on the other hand, is a recent entrant in India. United States leads in peanut butter production. Interestingly, India is the second largest producer of peanuts in the world and United States grows just a third of India’s peanut crop!
Health benefits of Peanuts
- Peanuts have high protein content (highest among nuts). It is a valuable source of protein.
- Peanuts are good for your heart. They contain anti-oxidants (even more than in fruits) and zero cholesterol.
- According to a popular myth “peanuts have too much fat.” The fact is more than 75% of the fat in peanuts is “good fat”,(MUFA and PUFA) needed for body functions, keeps heart healthy and maintains normal body weight.
- Roasted or boiled peanuts are great. However, fried peanuts are not. Fried peanuts have trans fats, hence not advised.
- High in fibre, higher than other edible nuts such as almond, cashew, pistachio, and walnuts. Also has Vitamins B & E, Manganese, and Magnesium.
Benefits of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter has both health and convenience benefits.
- Given the health benefits of peanuts, it is healthier than other table spreads such as cheese spread, butter, margarine, and jam.
- In a vegan / vegetarian diet, peanut butter can help fill in the gap of protein requirement.
- In a person who has normal body weight and is physically active, peanut butter is a healthy option as part of balanced meal.
- For sports people, peanut butter is a great energy-protein-fat source.
- Peanut butter was promoted as a super food in the United States about 100 years ago to feed starving people.
It is convenient in multiple ways. With its creamy spreadable consistency, it satisfies hunger with minimum bulk to a meal. It is a ready-to-eat food available in a jar. It has a long shelf life and needs no refrigeration. Hence it can be used on road trips, outdoor camping, etc. Peanut butter lends itself to several sweet or savoury meal options such as PBJ sandwiches, or as dip when combined with condiments, or as satay sauce, or salad dressing.
Caution before consuming peanuts and peanut butter
! If you are allergic to peanuts or any nuts, DO NOT consume peanuts or peanut butter. It can have mild to serious health consequences.
! If you are on a weight loss diet or on a special diet for kidney ailments, peanut consumption has to be carefully monitored.
! Presence of aflatoxins in peanuts can cause serious digestive disorders. Hence, always purchase peanuts and peanut butter from reliable sources.
Recently I attended the “Health Workshop on Peanut Butter” conducted by Agro Tech Foods (makers of Sundrop brand of food products) at Bangalore . Dr. Swarupa Kakani, well-known nutritionist and head of Dietetics Department at Sagar Hospital, Bangalore led the workshop.
This inspired me to independently research nutritional value of peanuts and peanut butter. This post presents my views along with some of the material presented at the workshop.
Here are some recipes shared by Agro Tech foods with us at the workshop.
Apple, peanut butter, Granola sandwich
Any variety apple – 1 cored and sliced horizontally
Peanut Butter – 2 tbsp
Low fat Granola – 1/2 cup
Spread1 tbsp peanut butter over an apple slice. Sprinkle some granola over the peanut butter.Top with another apple slice or serve as open – faced sandwich.
Peanut Butter Milk shake
Peanut Butter – 1 tbsp
Jam – 2 tsp (optional)
Milk – 1 cup
Vanilla Ice cream – 1 scoop
Add all ingredients except ice cream to a blender. Whip until frothy.
Transfer to a glass. Top with Ice cream and serve.