Nuts in general are commonly known as “health foods”. Nuts oils and butters can be found in any health store now. Raw and Organic ones are the “elite” class of course.
For most of us, it is normal that peanuts are stocked on shelves together with other almonds, walnuts or macadamia nuts…. But I have news for you: Peanuts should not be part of that category. PEANUTS ARE NOT NUTS, they are actually part of the LEGUME FAMILY.
This is one reason why peanuts should be consumed with a lot of precaution.
Yes, peanuts do contain some good monounsaturated fats and can be quite rich in nutrients like Manganese, Tryptophan, Niacin (vitamin B3), Folate, Vitamin E or Copper. But unfortunately today, there are many reasons why peanuts are not that healthy, whether in form of “nuts”, butter or oil.
1. Peanuts are NATURALLY MOLDY / fungus infected
Peanuts, even natural organic ones, are contaminated with natural mold called aflatoxin, which can be very toxic, especially for the liver. They grow underground and because they are legumes, their shell is softer and more permeable than the shell of other nuts. This puts them at ideal temperature and moisture conditions to welcome molds and fungi of all kind.
It is important to say that this is true EVEN FOR ORGANIC peanuts as it is due to the way they naturally grow.
2. Non-organic peanuts are highly contaminated with pesticides
Peanuts have a very light shell, and therefore they are much more exposed to all the toxic and poisonous chemicals they can be sprayed with, as these can penetrate the shell and contaminate the inside easily. Those highly toxic chemicals can be very detrimental to your health and wreak havoc your system from the inside out. One more reason to avoid peanuts randomly served in bars or restaurants…
3. Peanuts are rich in LECTINS, anti-nutrients that can badly impact your health
Lectins are ANTI-NUTRIENTS. That means that they prevent your body from healthily absorbing good nutrients and vitamins. They are sticky proteins found in many legumes, and are a natural plant defense against pest. But they are almost impossible to digest, and trigger a high immune response in your body. This inflammation state can be the beginning of many chronic diseases, disturbing the good natural functioning of all body systems. It’s been showed that it can especially trigger rheumatoid arthritis and obesity as it disturbs insulin management by mimicking it.
4. Too many Omega-6 fats
Healthy fats are ESSENTIAL to your health. Your body needs them to function well. They play a primary role in many vital functions and any diet low in fats can be very detrimental in the mid/long term. You must have heard of Omega 3 and Omega 6 (see my article about HEALTHY FATS HERE). Those Essential Fatty Acids are tremendously important, but even more important is the ratio. Ideal ratio of consumption should be 1:1. Unfortunately today, because of the way modern society eats in average, because of processed foods, this ratio is rarely reached. More often than not, the average ratio is about 1:12 to 1:25 in the worst cases…! Peanuts are very high in Omega 6 and therefore accentuate this imbalanced ratio even more. One more reason to avoid them…
5. Peanuts are rich in Oxalates
Oxalates are minerals that form crystals by binding with calcium, especially in your urinary tract as this is where they should be excreted. Therefore, they can cause many troubles on your kidneys and gallbladder as well.
6. Peanut butter: read the ingredients
Peanut butters are made with peanuts (should be…!). Therefore all those harmful peanuts properties are carried over in those tasty butters, even if they are organic and raw. On top of that, they are often a mix of industrial chemicals that you should avoid if health is important for you. Here are some harmful chemicals you can find amongst the list of ingredients:
- Peanuts are often GMOs
- SUGAR (please read my article HERE)
- Corn syrup solids which is sugar from GMO corn
- Hydrogenated vegetable oil (cottonseed, soybean, rapeseed, canola oil….), all derived from GMO crops
- Mono- and di-glycerides: these are additives that contain trans fats, therefore highly recommended to avoid those
- Maltodextrin: this is derived from GMO corn/rice/potato and has a high glycemic index, this is another chemical you really want to avoid
- Soy Protein Concentrate: please read my article about SOY HERE. This concentrate is even worse as it contains MSG, a highly harmful neurotoxin.
7. Better healthy alternatives always exist!
As usual, there is always a better way, a better option. It is all about educating ourselves and being aware of what is going on with our food.
Good nuts options: almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans…
Best way to eat them: RAW (unpasteurized) and ORGANIC of course. Let them SOAK in a bowl of water for at least 12-24 hours in the fridge before you rinse them and let them dry. This is an essential step before consumption as the phytic acid that is in all nuts gets washed off by the water. This phytic acid prevents the good absorption of important minerals and if you eat regularly nuts without soaking them beforehand, you take a risk of lacking important minerals, even if you are having a good nutrition overall. So now you know :-)
As for nuts butters: Always choose organic and raw. Check the labels, the ingredients list should be quite straight forward: the nuts, maybe some good sea salt and that’s it. Make sure the nuts don’t get roasted as this liberates a lot of free-radicals and can be quite detrimental, despite the other good benefits you can have from it. It is normal to see the oil on top of the creamy thick nut butter. Just mix both consistencies well and then you can enjoy this tasty treat.
As usual, I hope you have learned something from my article and that you are becoming more conscious and aware of what to take care of when you buy food.
Take care of your loved ones by educating yourself about it,
In Health and Happiness,