March is National Peanut Month and the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) is encouraging everyone to celebrate by indulging in one of America’s favorite foods.
National Peanut Month first began as National Peanut Week in 1941. It was expanded to a month-long celebration in 1974. On average, Americans eat about 6 pounds of peanuts per person per year, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Peanuts have more than just great taste going for them. They are packed with 29 essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese. They also have more protein than any tree nut and contain monounsaturated fat, the “good fat”, which has been linked to good heart health.
Naturally high in fiber, peanuts are also a good for people with dietary issues like gluten intolerance or diabetes. Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.
Peanuts are an excellent source of folic acid, which has been shown to reduce birth defects when taken by mothers prior to conception and during the early stages of pregnancy. Recent research studies also have included peanuts and peanut butter as part of healthy diets that may help prevent adult-onset diabetes and lower blood pressure. Peanuts and peanut butter also are naturally cholesterol-free. In fact, researchers from some of the most prominent schools in the country have recently stated that regularly eating nuts and legumes as part of a low-fat diet decreases the risks of heart disease.
Peanut oil is also a healthy choice for everyday use because of the high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat content. With its distinctive but not overpowering taste, peanut oil has a high heat tolerance. It can be heated to a high temperature without smoking, which makes peanut oil a good choice for deep-fat frying and sauteing.
So take the time this month to prepare your favorite peanut recipe or try your hand at creating a new peanut dish. Email us your recipes at email@example.com
Pictured above are APPA’s Caleb Bristow and Jim Cravey with WDHN TV-18 Top of the Morning Show host Charlie Platt grilling some tasty peanut butter and jelly roll-ups.