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All about Peanut

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Health profile

The peanut is very popular in North America, whether plain, roasted or spread. It is often believed that the peanut is a nut, but in reality it is a legume in the same way as beans. Peanuts are also an excellent source of vegetable protein, although these are less complete than animal proteins.

Active ingredients and properties

Cardiovascular disease . Some epidemiological studies associate a regular peanut consumption decreased blood cholesterol 1 and risk of cardiovascular disease 2 . A 30-week clinical study on the effect of regular consumption of peanuts has shown an improvement in several blood parameters favorable to cardiovascular health, such as blood levels of magnesium , folate , vitamin E , copper and arginine (an amino acid) 3. In addition, peanut fats are mainly “good fats” for cardiovascular health (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). In addition, peanuts contain phytosterols , compounds with a structure similar to that of cholesterol in animal products, but which have been shown to be beneficial in cardiovascular health , 5 . Peanut butter contains about 50 mg of phytosterols per 32 g serving (2 tbsp), and dry roasted peanuts can contain about 42 mg per 37 g serving (60 mL) 6. A meta-analysis of 41 clinical trials revealed that taking 2 g per day of phytosterols reduced LDL cholesterol by 10% (“bad” cholesterol): this reduction could reach 20% in the context of a weak diet. saturated fat and cholesterol 7 . This amount of 2 g per day is practically impossible to achieve only through food. It is for this reason that products enriched with phytosterols such as margarine have appeared on the market. Even if they are present in very small quantities, the phytosterols naturally present in food remain interesting for cardiovascular health.

Finally, resveratrol 8 is another peanut compound that has been shown to be beneficial in preventing cardiovascular disease. When the peanut comes into contact with certain microorganisms, the production of resveratrol becomes very high, but a study has nevertheless detected up to 1.79 μg / g in various American peanuts that have had no contact with micro -organisms 9 . This amount compares to that of some grapes, but remains lower than that of wine, a very high source of resveratrol. However, peanut resveratrol has not yet been widely studied in humans.

Cancer . A prospective study , although with some limitations, associated the consumption of two or more servings of peanuts per week with a lower risk of colorectal cancer in women 10 . The peanut also contains certain compounds which would be potentially beneficial in the prevention of cancer. These include phytosterols  : in vitro and animal studies have attributed them the ability to decrease the growth of breast, colon and prostate cancer cells 11 . In humans, phytosterols are associated with a reduced risk of lung cancer 12 . As mentioned earlier, peanuts also contain resveratrol, an antioxidant that has the ability to transform into an anticancer compound called piceatannol . This transformation would be done by an enzyme precisely contained in cancerous tumors 13 . However, more studies are needed to further analyze all of these peanut compounds in relation to cancer prevention.

Type 2 diabetes . A large epidemiological study has shown that frequent consumption of peanut butter (at least 5 tbsp per week) is associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes in women. Several reasons are advanced to explain these benefits, such as content in fiber and magnesium , two elements considered beneficial in the prevention of diabetes 14 .

Gallstones . Epidemiological studies have associated regular consumption of peanuts with a decreased risk of gallstones in men 15 and the risk of gallbladder removal in women 16 . These effects could be attributable to the various beneficial compounds of blood lipids, such as “good fats” ( mono and polyunsaturated ), dietary fibers, phytosterols or even magnesium .

Other properties

Is peanut antioxidant? Strongly  : the peanut has a TAC index of 1,171 umol / 37 g.
Is peanut acidifying? Moderately  : The PRAL index of 100 g of natural peanuts is 8.3.
Does peanut have a high glycemic load? A little  : the glycemic load of 37 g of peanuts is 1

Most important nutrients

Peanuts and weight gain: a myth denied
Many people tend to limit their consumption of peanuts for fear that their high caloric content will lead to weight gain. However, studies have shown that the fact of incorporating the usual diet regular peanut consumption entailed relatively low risk of weight gain 21 . This could be explained in particular by a feeling of satiety 21 , 22 and an increase in metabolism 21depending on the consumption of peanuts. In addition, a diet containing peanuts could lead to additional excretion of fat in the stool. In fact, up to 20% of fatty acids from a diet containing nuts are excreted in the stool and not absorbed 23 .

Excellent source Zinc . Oil-roasted peanuts are an excellent source of zinc for women and a good source for men, as their needs are different. Dry roasted peanuts are a good source. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. It also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (manufacture), the storage and the release of insulin.

Excellent source Manganese . Peanuts are an excellent source of manganese. Manganese acts as a cofactor for several enzymes that facilitate a dozen different metabolic processes. It also participates in the prevention of damage caused by free radicals .

Excellent source Copper . Peanuts are an excellent source of copper. As a constituent of several enzymes, copper is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin and collagen (protein used for the structure and repair of tissues) in the body. Several copper-containing enzymes also help the body’s defense against free radicals.

Excellent source Vitamin B3 . Peanuts are an excellent source of vitamin B3. Also called niacin, this vitamin participates in many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also collaborates in the DNA formation process , allowing normal growth and development.

Good source Phosphorus . Peanuts are a good source of phosphorus (see our Phosphorus nutrient overview sheet ). Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps to maintain normal blood pH . Finally, phosphorus is one of the constituents of cell membranes.

Good source Magnesium . Dry roasted peanuts are a good source of magnesium. Oil-roasted peanuts are a good source for women and a source for men, as their needs are different. Magnesium participates in bone development, protein construction, enzymatic actions, muscle contraction, dental health and the functioning of the immune system. It also plays a role in energy metabolism and in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Good source Vitamin E . Dry roasted peanuts are a good source of vitamin E. Oil roasted peanuts are a source. A major antioxidant, vitamin E protects the membrane that surrounds the body’s cells, especially red and white blood cells (cells of the immune system).

Source Potassium . Dry roasted peanuts are a source of potassium. In the body, it is used to balance the pH of the blood and to stimulate the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach, thus promoting digestion. In addition, it facilitates the contraction of muscles, including the heart, and participates in the transmission of nerve impulses.

Source Iron . Peanuts are a source of iron for humans. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses).

Source Selenium . Dry roasted peanuts are a source of selenium. This mineral works with one of the main antioxidant enzymes, thus preventing the formation of free radicals in the body. It also helps to convert thyroid hormones to their active form.

Source Vitamin B1 . Peanuts are a source of vitamin B1. Also called thiamine, this vitamin is part of a coenzyme necessary for the production of energy mainly from the carbohydrates that we ingest. It also participates in the transmission of nerve impulses and promotes normal growth.

Source Pantothenic acid . Peanut is a source of pantothenic acid. Also called vitamin B5, pantothenic acid is part of a key coenzyme that allows us to adequately use the energy present in the food we eat. It also participates in several stages of the synthesis of steroid hormones, neurotransmitters and hemoglobin.

Source Vitamin B6 . Peanuts are a source of vitamin B6. This vitamin, also called pyridoxine, is part of coenzymes which participate in the metabolism of proteins and fatty acids as well as in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. It also collaborates in the production of red blood cells and allows them to transport more oxygen. Pyridoxine is also necessary for the transformation of glycogen into glucose and it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system. This vitamin finally plays a role in the formation of certain components of nerve cells and in the modulation of hormone receptors.

Source Folate . Peanuts are a source of folate. Folate (vitamin B9) is involved in the production of all cells in the body, including red blood cells. This vitamin plays an essential role in the production of genetic material (DNA, RNA), in the functioning of the nervous system and the immune system, as well as in the healing of wounds and wounds. As it is necessary for the production of new cells, adequate consumption is essential during periods of growth and for the development of the fetus.

Source Dietary fiber . Peanuts are a source of fiber. Dietary fibers, which are found only in plant products, include a set of substances that are not digested by the body. In addition to preventing constipation and reducing the risk of colon cancer, a diet rich in fiber can help prevent cardiovascular disease, control type 2 diabetes and appetite 17 . Remember that it is recommended to consume 25 g of fiber per day for women from 19 to 50 years old, and 38 g per day for men of the same age group 18 .

 What is a “portion” of peanuts worth?
Weight / volume Dry roasted peanuts, 37 g / 60 ml Oil-roasted peanuts, 34 g / 60 ml Natural peanut butter, 32g / 30ml
Calories 217 196 184
Protein 8.8g 8.9 g 7.5 g
Carbohydrates 8.0 g 6.4g 6.8g
Fat 18.4g 16.6g 15.6 g
-saturated 2.6g 2.3 g 2.2g
– monounsaturated 9.1 g 8.3 g 7.8 g
-polyunsaturated 5.8 g 5.3 g 4.9 g
-Omega 3* 0 g 0 g 0g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 mg 0 mg
Dietary fiber 3.0g 2.5g 2.5g


Source  : Health Canada. Canadian Nutrient File , 2005.
* EPA, DHA and alpha-linolenic acid


Peanut allergy . Peanuts are on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) main allergens list . 19 Peanut allergy can be severe and even a small amount can cause anaphylactic shock. Allergic people should eliminate from their diet any product containing peanuts or whose label indicates a possibility of containing them. They should also avoid peanut oil since it may contain protein particles, which are the cause of the allergy. In addition, it is considered prudent to refrain from consuming nuts in general (shelled and oil seeds), since these also have a high allergenic potential and they are often handled and distributed by companies specializing in peanuts.

Urinary stones . Some people may be recommended to adopt a restricted diet of oxalates in order to prevent recurrences of kidney or urinary stones (also called urolithiasis). Oxalates are compounds found naturally in many foods, including peanuts. It is therefore preferable that these people avoid consuming it.

Aflatoxin . Peanuts can be contaminated with mold invisible to the naked eye that produces a carcinogenic toxin called aflatoxin 20 . Although the CFIA monitors aflatoxin levels in foods that may contain aflatoxin, it is prudent to avoid the consumption of spotted, darkened, rancid or moldy peanuts.

Peanuts over time

The term ”  peanut  “, which appeared in the French language at the end of the XVIII th  century, comes from the Latin arachidna , from the Greek arakidna or arakos , which originally designated the “pea”, another legume (parent sweet peas ) that looks like peanuts.

The term ”  peanut  ” appeared at the beginning of the XIX th  century. It comes from the Spanish cacahuate , borrowed from the nahuatl, tlacucahuatl , which literally means “ground cocoa”, cocoa being also a plant of South American origin.

In Europe, “peanut”, which is also found under the spelling ”  peanut  ” and ”  peanut  “, prevails, while in Quebec, we prefer “peanut”. We also sometimes write ”  pinotte  “, francization of English peanut .

It has long been thought, and some still argue, that the peanut came from both South America and Asia, but the assumption of a strictly South American origin seems to make today unanimity among researchers. It would have been domesticated 2,000 years or 3,000 years before our era by the predecessors of the Arawak Indians living in the fertile valleys of Paraguay, before spreading to the southwest and northeast of Brazil as well as to Bolivia, where many species, including its presumed ancestor A. monticola , still grow in the wild. On the other hand, A. hypogeae is found only in the cultivated state, an indication of the great advancement of pre-Columbian societies, which mastered the selection and improvement of plants intended for their food.

From South America, it went up to Mexico and the Caribbean. After the conquest of America, the Spanish will introduce it in Europe, as well as in the Philippines, in China, in the southeast of Asia and in Madagascar, while the Portuguese will establish it in Africa.

Like many other plants of South American origin, it will only reach North America after having made a long detour through Europe and Africa, traveling with the slaves who were brought by boat from the continent. black. Even today, in the United States, varieties that have been selected by Africans are grown.

The Americans will first content themselves with giving peanuts as food to their pigs, chickens and turkeys. Things will change during the civil war when the need to provide the troops with nutritious and inexpensive food will push to cultivate it for their use, then for that of the population in general.

Today, peanuts are produced in all tropical and south-tropical regions of the world. Because of its slow growth in cool climates, it is unsuitable for growing in the North, although small amounts are produced in southern Ontario.

An oil widely used in cooking is also extracted from peanuts, as well as proteins and protein isolates, flour and semolina which are used to enrich a multitude of industrial preparations. Finally, we make peanut butter.

Culinary uses

To access other recipes, you can go to the cooking recipe site, which offers, among other things, the following recipes: chicken peanut sauce, peanut sauce, peanut paste recipes

Choose well

Fat Paradox
Dry roasted peanuts are sometimes richer in fat than those fried in oil (the latter are usually sold under the name “roasted peanuts”).
  • Peanut Butter. Industrial products usually contain salt, chemical preservatives, flavorings and added sugars. In addition, to preserve its stability, hydrogenated oils (source of trans fat) are added to them. There are commercially available natural butters simply made from ground peanuts. Many grocery stores also have electric mills to make their butter from peanuts sold in bulk. Note that in natural peanut butter, it is not uncommon for the oil to rise to the surface, a normal phenomenon that can be corrected by stirring everything with a knife. Once started, natural peanut butter will only keep for a week or two at room temperature, but two months in the refrigerator.
  • Oil.Commercial peanut oil is generally extracted hot using a chemical solvent, then deodorized, discolored, ultrafiltered. It may contain chemical preservatives (BHT, BHA). Inexpensive, it is the one found in all grocery stores. Cold pressed peanut oil is rare in Quebec, but it is found in France where it is pressed from roasted beans, which gives it a flavor appreciated in cooking. Decanted and filtered, it is then bottled in an opaque container to keep all the nutritive properties and the aroma. It undergoes no other transformation. As for organic peanut oil, it is expensive to produce, so that it is rarely found in Quebec. The peanut is unique among legumes,

Culinary dishes

Peanut butter Peanut
butter, known as peanut butter in Europe, appeared on the American market in 1890. Due to its high protein content and low carbohydrate content, it first been considered a health food for the sick.

Commercially available peanuts are usually roasted, whether shelled or shelled. You can however prepare the raw peanuts yourself:

  • Roasts: arrange them in a single row on a metal plate and roast for 15 to 20 minutes in an oven set to 175 ° C (350 ° F). Then season them with salt, garlic salt, grated parmesan, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, dried and ground herbs, or any other spice of your choice.
  • Boiled: boiled in water, they acquire a soft texture that other cooking methods do not allow. Eat them as-is for snacks or add them to soups, salads, stews, etc. They are an excellent alternative to the water chestnuts used in Chinese cuisine. They will first be soaked overnight in water before cooking over very low heat for eight to ten hours. Add water as needed. In Africa, they are boiled with chili, which is supposed to make them more digestible.
To remove the skin from raw peanuts, they can be blanched or roasted for three to five minutes in the oven, or frozen overnight. In all cases, they will then be rubbed in the hands.

Whole, crushed, ground or transformed into a paste, the peanut lends itself to many culinary preparations. Thanks to its high protein content, it can replace, in whole or in part, meat or fish, as is commonly done in Asia and Africa.

  • Mexican chicken. Cook the chicken, cut into pieces, in a sauce composed of tomatoes, peanuts, garlic, onion, chicken broth, cinnamon and chilli (these ingredients are first blended).
  • Satay sauce In Indonesia and Malaysia, this sauce usually accompanies skewers of meat or shrimp, but nothing prevents it from being used to season kebabs of vegetables (tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms) and tofu. Brown the peanuts in the oil and pass them through a blender or pound them. Cook them with water, sugar or honey, and a chili paste mixed with salt, shallots and garlic. You can also use peanut butter to make the sauce and replace the homemade chili paste with a sambal sauce (spicy Indonesian sauce) from the store.
  • Decorated with grated coconut and lemon juice, the satay sauce seasoned the gado-gado salad , composed of boiled potatoes, as well as barely blanched vegetables so that they keep all their crispness: carrots, green beans, cauliflower, bean sprouts. It is all served on lettuce leaves with cucumber rings and sliced ​​hard-boiled eggs.
  • Rempeyek kacang. These traditional pancakes from Southeast Asia accompany rice and curry or are enjoyed as an aperitif. To prepare them, cut peanuts in half (along the dividing line between the two halves), put them in a bowl and cover them with a dough having the consistency of a pancake batter and which is made of milk coconut, water, rice flour and corn flour, spice paste (garlic, shallots, turmeric, coriander seeds and, if found, lime leaves). Cook the peanut and pancake batter mixture in the oil, one spoonful at a time, until the peanuts are lightly browned .
  • Couscous mboum. This African dish is prepared with fresh fish and dried fish cooked for half an hour in water. At the same time, we cook cabbage leaves (if desired, take one of the many varieties of Chinese cabbage) for half an hour in steam or in water. Crush peanuts and strain them through a sieve. Grind the peanut residue with onion. Cook, for an hour, cabbage, onion and peanut paste, sifted peanut flour, fish stripped of its bones and a small hot pepper. Serve with couscous, millet if possible.
The gnama-gnama of Senegal
This generic word designates the treats that can be found at any time in the cities of Senegal. Itinerants sell them on the corner of a street or in front of the shops. The most common is the oil-free roasted peanut in the sand.
  • Spring rolls. Spread a sauce of honey mustard, peanut butter, Hoisin sauce, chili sauce, lime juice and grated ginger in the center of a rice cake. Place chicken strips, chopped green onion, sliced ​​celery, bean sprouts and roasted and chopped peanuts on the sauce. Shape a cylinder by rolling the cake, cut in half and serve.
  • Thai dishes. In Thailand, unsalted and chopped peanuts are added to curry dishes made from coconut milk. They are also served as an aperitif by placing them on a plate with various other ingredients: grated coconut and oven roasted, finely chopped green onions, peeled lime wedges, grated ginger, small dried shrimps, small hot peppers. The guests stuff a leaf of lettuce or another plant with the ingredients of their choice and close it to make a bite, which they dip in a sauce made up of the same ingredients passed through a blender.


Roasted: in a cool, dry place or in the fridge. Shelled, three months; in his shell, nine months.

Raw: in an airtight container, three months in the refrigerator, six months in the freezer.

Natural peanut butter (without chemical preservative): once started, a week or two at room temperature, two months in the refrigerator.

Peanut oil : refined oil keeps indefinitely at room temperature.

Organic gardening

An underground fruit
The peanut has this unique characteristic that it flowers above the ground, but that it produces its fruits underground. Once pollinated, the peanut flower vaguely takes the form of a stake and lowers towards the ground to sink into it while remaining attached to the plant by its stem. The fruit grows in the soil taking its characteristic form.

Given its climatic requirements, groundnuts can hardly be grown in temperate climates, although a few stubborn producers manage to get a small crop thanks to attentive care and lots of elbow grease. However, the plant can be grown in pots. At best, it will give a few pods, at worst, we will have a very beautiful ornamental plant which will give pretty flowers.

  • Raw peanuts can be purchased at the grocery store or at health food stores.
  • Soak them overnight in water.
  • Sow three or more pods (three, for a 15 cm pot, more in a larger container) 3 cm deep in a good soil (mixture of sand, compost and vermiculite). The larger and deeper the pot, the more likely you are to have peanuts.
  • Keep the pot at temperatures of 18 ° C and above (ideally 25 ° C).
  • The seeds should germinate after five to eight days.
  • Put the pot in a sunny and warm place and, as soon as the weather allows it, take it outside, keeping it in a place protected from wind and cold. Avoid letting the soil dry out in the pot.
  • After 30 days, the first flowers should appear and, after 3 months, the first peanuts.

Ecology and environment

The dike technique
In Burkina Faso, in collaboration with NGOs, farmers have developed the dike technique, which consists of surrounding fields with low stone walls to block the passage of rainwater and reduce the soil erosion. Where one bag of peanuts was harvested, two are now harvested. In addition to the water, the bunds retain the soil and the compost which previously left with the runoff.

In Senegal, as in the other countries of the Sahel, the ecological situation continues to deteriorate. On the one hand, the soil is depleted and, on the other, the wooded area is constantly decreasing, which will lead to a total disappearance of the forest cover in a short time if no action is taken.

Without being the only cause of this situation, the expansion of groundnut monoculture, which today occupies more than 40% of cultivated land, plays an important role. This expansion, which took place to the detriment of the forest and traditional food crops (including sorghum and millet), led to the abandonment of cultural practices which made it possible to preserve the plant cover, and had the effect of increase the erosion phenomenon in the region. We are witnessing an increase in the number of wasteland and sand dunes. The level of the water table drops, wells dry up and sandstorms are more frequent. As for productivity, it continues to fall, which pushes farmers to increase the density of their seedlings to obtain a satisfactory harvest.

To combat the problem, a vast program has been set up across the country to raise awareness among farmers and encourage them to adopt solutions that are less harmful to the environment: reforestation of part of the plots that were used for peanut, planting windbreaks around fields, building improved stoves to save fuelwood and growing less demanding plants for the soil, including potatoes, twenty times more productive than peanuts on a given plot.

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