What do scientists say?

cacahuete_scientifiques

Peanuts

Common name: peanuts
Scientific name: Arachis hypogaea
Family: Fabaceae (legumes)

A bit of history

According to researchers, the peanut has its origin in South America.  Cultivated by the Aztecs, most South Americans eat it daily. From South America, peanuts were introduced in Mexico and in the Caribbean. After the American conquest by Spaniards, they brought it to Europe, China, Philippines, Madagascar and parts of Asia.  The Portuguese, for their part, implanted peanuts in Africa.”

Peanuts arrived to North America much later, during the period of the slave-trade.  African slaves transported the plant over by ship from their continent. At first Americans used peanuts as animal feed, feeding animals like pigs, chickens and turkeys.  That changed during the Civil War and during the turn of the century.  Peanuts were harvested to provide nutritious food to the troop.  It finally became widely available to the population.  In 1890 peanut butter was invented and its popularity has not stopped growing since.

The Peanut Plant

Peanut is a plant that can measure 75 cm (30 inches) high. The plant produces small yellow flowers that that bend after fertilisation, then are buried 3 to 8 cm (1 – 3 inches) deep in the ground.
The stalk’s end inflates, ripens and produces a pod underground. These pods measure between 3cm and 4 cm   (1 inch)  tall and contain 2 to 3 seeds. The harvest consists of peeling the entire plant and drying it a few days in the fields or a drying room. Then, the shell is removed.

There are a dozen species of peanuts and many varieties.
What about nutrition facts? (source : PCA : Peanut Company of Australia)
Peanut is a legume, just like beans and peas.

cacahuete_plante

36 millions
de tonnes de production totale d’arachides (chiffre datant de 2003)
48 %
used for nutrition
43 %
of imports come from the European Union. The other countries are: Indonesia, Canada, Singapore, Malaya, the Philippines.
1,2 millions
tons of exported peanuts (Argentina, India, United States, China, Vietnam, South Africa)
39 %
of peanuts producers are Chinese. Other countries are India (22%), Nigeria, USA (5%), Senegal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Argentina (1%) and Brazil

Production Sites
maps_englishNutritional Values

A portion of dry roasted peanuts contains :

Weight/Volume Roasted Peanuts 37g/60ml
Calories 217 kcal
Proteins 8.38g
Carbohydrate 8.0g
Matières grasses 18,4g of which 14,9g are unsaturated fat
Dietary Fibers 3.0g
  • Proteins : Peanuts are composed of 26% to 28% of proteins.This represents about 12% of the recommended daily need.
  • Lipids : composed of 50% fat, it is a healthy fat also known as mono and polyunsaturated fat, essential for heart and vascular system. Clinical studies have proved that peanut is not source a of cholesterol.
  • Dietary fibers : peanuts are a natural source of fibre. A fibre-rich diet helps prevent constipation, reduces risks of colon cancer and can assist in preventing cardiovascular illness and type 2 diabetes control.
  • Natural Source of minerals  (Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium) and Vitamins (B3, E, B1, B6).

What About Peanut Butter?

  • Lipids : approximately 50% – with less than 1% of trans fat and free from cholesterol – source of energy
  • Proteins: approximately 25% – tissue development antibody production in case of infections
  • Carbohydrate: depends on the quantity of sugar added and recipes.
  • And of course, always a good source of fiber, minerals and vitamins.

In a nutshell, regular peanut butter consumption has beneficial effects thanks to its high cardio-protective nutrient content. Source : Haute école de santé – Genève

What’s the difference between peanut paste and peanut butter?

Peanut paste is a unsalted and unsweetened product which accompanies meals. It is used in numerous recipes in Reunion,
Africa, India or Asia. Peanut butter can be enjoyed as a spread, on bread or with a spoon, any time!

For Vegetarians / Vegans

Either peanut paste or butter, both are well suited for vegetarians and vegans.  Free of animal fat, composed of healthy lipids and rich in protein, it is an excellent alternative to animal protein.

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