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Peanuts and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter, as we know it today, was invented by Dr. Ambrose Straub of St. Louis, Missouri. He made it for elderly patients who could not chew so well but still needed hi-protein food that didn't involve meat. Dr. Straub went on to patent a peanut grinding mill in 1903 and one year later peanut butter was introduced to the public in the United States at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

Today, peanut butter must be at least 90% peanuts to use the term "peanut butter." More than 50% of the peanut crop in the United States is used for peanut butter production.

Health Benefits

Peanuts are rich in energy and contain many nutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that are very beneficial for your health. They contain mono-unsaturated fatty acids that help to lower "bad cholesterol" and increase "good cholesterol". A diet that is rich in monounsaturated fats helps prevent coronary artery disease and stokes.

Peanuts are also a great source of protein. They contain quality amino acids that aid in the growth and development of muscles. These nuts also consist of healthy minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

High in vitamin E, peanuts contain about 8g per 100g of nuts. Vitamin E helps strengthen the cell membrane of the mucus membranes and skin by protecting our bodies from harmful oxygen free radicals. Peanuts also contain B-vitamins that promote brain health and blood flow to the brain.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found in peanuts and helps protect the body against cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and viral infections.

A handful of peanuts provides the recommended amount of phenolic anti-oxidants, protein, minerals, and vitamins.

Health Risks of Peanuts

The peanut, of all nuts, is very hard on the digestive system.

Peanuts contain excessive amounts of salt and can cause headaches as a result.

Peanuts, if not masticated well, can lodge in the intestines and contribute to diverticulitis and diverticulosis. So if you eat peanuts or will continue to eat them, make sure to chew them well.

Roasted peanuts contain excessive amounts of salt and can cause headaches as a result.

One of the worst oils to consume or use for cooking is peanut oil. However, peanut oil is far better or salubrious than cottonseed, canola, and soybean oil.

Health Risks of Peanut Butter

Aflotoxin-a known cardinogen-is found in virtually all peanut butter brands on the market.

    "A study was performed by Consumers Union showed that the major brands such as Jif, Peter Pan, and Skippy had less of the aflotoxin than store brands. The biggest offender turned out to be the freshly ground peanut butter in health food stores, which had ten times the levels of the major brands. The U.S. government allows no more than 20 parts per billion (ppb) of aflotoxin, which members of the health field feel is too high. According to Consumers Union, eating levels that contain an average of 2 ppb of aflotoxin every 10 days will result in a cancer risk of 7 in a million. This is a higher risk that exists from most pesticides in foods." - Dr. Myles H. Bader
Peanut butter also contains hydrogenated oil. The process of hydrogenation keeps the oil in suspension. Hydrogenation made peanut butter one of America's most popular foods. However, hydrogenation plays a role in the development of major diseases that impair overall health and wellbeing.

Peanut sauce is a favorite product in Asian culture. Thai restaurants use peanut sauce to top some of their dishes and also use it as a salad dressing. Peanut sauces are very sweet due to the use of white table sugar. If you eat peanut sauce just a few times a year, there's really no major cause for concern.

Healthier Alternatives

Today, we have a variety of exceptional peanut butter substitutes on the market that can be found at most good health food stores. Alternative and healthier butters include:
  • hemp seed butter
  • almond butter
  • hazelnut butter
  • pistachio butter
  • walnut butter, and
  • cashew butter
You can even make these alternative butters at home by simply soaking your choice of seeds or nuts overnight and then blending it in a mixer.

Hemp seed butter by far would have to be the best alternative butter on the market that you could consume. It is a great source of amino acids (for purposes of protein), contains all 3 beneficial essential fatty acids (Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9), and contains moderate amounts of minerals and trace elements. It has a great taste as well.

Almond butter is also a great tasting butter, as well as cashew butter. These butters are great for sandwiches, for crackers, and vegetable sticks. Also, they are not hard on the digestive system like peanuts.

Beanut butter is not a better substitute for peanut butter. Beanut butter is really soybean butter. Soy, too, is hard on the digestive tract and that's why it should only be eaten on rare occasions.

DHerbs Solutions

There are a few major alternative butter manufacturing companies listed in our Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual Alternative Diet and Lifestyle Manual (ebook)l (under "Alternative Food Brands").

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