What's in a nut?

Peanuts and peanut butter deliver what’s best in vitamins and essential minerals. And, the fact their fat content is overwhelmingly of the “good” variety – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – makes peanuts an ideal part of a healthy diet. In fact, of the fat in peanuts, 85 per cent is the types of fat we need for heart health and cholesterol control. However, all Canadians may not be aware of this important distinction.

Research by Leger Marketing shows that 90 per cent of Canadians feel that peanuts and peanut butter are healthy food choices, but there are misconceptions among the remainder of the population. Of the 10 per cent of Canadians who consider peanuts and peanut butter to be unhealthy, 48 per cent base their decision on fat content alone.

Because peanuts are 100 per cent free of cholesterol and trans-fatty acids, and contain oleic acid, a heart-healthy source of unsaturated fat, they do not need to be avoided as some may think. Available sodium-free, peanuts are an unmodified natural product perfect for healthy lifestyles.

The nutrition profile of peanuts is impressive. They are rich in:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) – Helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy, promotes good heart and muscle function. Without it, eyesight, mental alertness, physical coordination suffer.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – Supports proper blood circulation, healthy skin and the central nervous system.

Magnesium – Critical to growth and formation of bones and muscles. Helps the body absorb calcium and potassium. Two tablespoons of peanut butter deliver 15 per cent of recommended daily intake.

Folate – Essential in production of normal red blood cells. Helps keep heart and blood vessels healthy. Especially important in pregnancy.

Vitamin E – A key antioxidant, protects Vitamin A and other essential fatty acids, forestalls breakdown of body tissue. Antioxidants defend against heart disease, prostate and other cancers and arthritis.