Peanuts

Researched and authored by Roy Berger

Nutritional Information

Dry roasted, unsalted peanuts contain 20 to30 %  percent protein. The minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, and zinc are all part of the nutritional make-up resulting in a exceptionally nutritious food.

Dry roasted, unsalted peanuts contain the important B vitamins, B1, B2, and B3. Niacin, vitamin B3, is extraordinarily plentiful with 1 ounce registering 3.80 mg., while folic acid measures in at a whopping 41.2 mcg. Even vitamin B6 appears with trace amounts measuring .07 mg.

Concern About Fat Content

ARLINGTON, VA, November 22, 1999 -- A ground-breaking study published in the December issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition may change the dietary advice that has been given to Americans for more than two decades. The landmark study tested diets high in "good" monounsaturated fat (MUFA) -- like the fat found in Peanuts -- against a low-fat diet and the average American diet. The study found that diets high in MUFA from foods like peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil and olive oil are superior to a low-fat diet for heart health. Diets high "good" fat improve several risk factors for heart disease including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. (ref:1)

Storing
 
Peanuts should be stored in a paper bag or even a burlap sack. It is important to keep them away from moisture to avoid mold from forming. Because good air circulation is important, do not store them in a plastic bag or plastic container. Peanuts can keep for up to 12 months if stored properly.

Aflatoxin in Peanuts

Two known strains of fungi, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus, produce aflatoxins, toxic and carcinogenic compounds, found in peanuts and peanut products. Other foods affected by aflatoxins are milk and dairy products, dried figs and fig products, and corn and corn products. The aflatoxins in peanuts may have developed from mold during the critical drying process.

Harvesting in the proper dry conditions, blanching, and proper storage will prevent fungus contamination.

 Commentary

In my opinion, like a lot of other information being posted on the internet,  the concerns about aflatoxins in peanuts has been significantly overemphasized. Using the same precautions as you would with any  fresh food, providing you inspect the product and ensure that you purchasing human grade quality peanuts the danger is minimal.

To those who say why take any chance at all I respond with;

  • If you don't feed peanuts because of the possibility of fungus you should probably not be feeding a host of other foods such as corn, seed, dairy products, various vegetables etc. which can also harbor fungus;
  • Parrot food manufacturers recognize the exceptional nutrition that peanuts provide. They include them in most seed mixes and in many of the pellet feeds:
  • I have been feeding the members of my flock peanuts for many years. They are all healthy, active, in good feather and have not been ill.

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References:

  1. The Peanut Institute
  2. On The Highest Perch
  3. USDA - Peanut Nutrition (search result)

 

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