I Heart Peanuts

I'm eating a lot of peanut butter (Trader Joe's Organic Crunchy) these days. Ann's garden is producing an amazing number of cucumbers now, so I eat cucumber slices with a dab of peanut butter for lunch.

Here's some interesting info on peanuts, from the World's Healthiest Foods web site (sponsored by the George Mateljan Foundation).

Link: Health Benefits of Peanuts

In addition to being every kid's (and many grownup kid's) favorite sandwich filling, peanuts pack a serious nutritional punch and offer a variety of health benefits.

Your Heart Will Go Nuts for Peanuts

Peanuts are a very good source of monounsaturated fats, the type of fat that is emphasized in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. Studies of diets with a special emphasis on peanuts have shown that this little legume is a big ally for a healthy heart. In one such randomized, double-blind, cross-over study involving 22 subjects, a high monounsaturated diet that emphasized peanuts and peanut butter decreased cardiovascular disease risk by an estimated 21% compared to the average American diet.

In addition to their monounsaturated fat content, peanuts feature an array of other nutrients that, in numerous studies, have been shown to promote heart health. Peanuts are good sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese. In addition, peanuts provide resveratrol, the phenolic antioxidant also found in red grapes and red wine that is thought to be responsible for the French paradox: the fact that in France, people consume a diet that is not low in fat, but have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the U.S. With all of the important nutrients provided by nuts like peanuts, it is no wonder that numerous research studies, including the Nurses' Health Study that involved over 86,000 women, have found that frequent nut consumption is related to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Peanuts Rival Fruit as a Source of Antioxidants

Not only do peanuts contain oleic acid, the healthful fat found in olive oil, but new research shows these tasty legumes are also as rich in antioxidants as many fruits.

While unable to boast an antioxidant content that can compare with the fruits highest in antioxidants, such as pomegranate, roasted peanuts do rival the antioxidant content of blackberries and strawberries, and are far richer in antioxidants than apples, carrots or beets. Research conducted by a team of University of Florida scientists, published in the journal Food Chemistry, shows that peanuts contain high concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols, primarily a compound called p-coumaric acid, and that roasting can increase peanuts' p-coumaric acid levels, boosting their overall antioxidant content by as much as 22%.

Peanuts' Antioxidants Key to their Heart-Health Benefits

Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition (Blomhoff R, Carlsen MH), which identified several nuts among plant foods with the highest total antioxidant content, suggests nut's high antioxidant content may be key to their cardio-protective benefits.

Nuts' high antioxidant content helps explain results seen in the Iowa Women's Health Study in which risk of death from cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases showed strong and consistent reductions with increasing nut/peanut butter consumption. Total death rates decreased 11% and 19% for nut/peanut butter intake once per week and 1-4 times per week, respectively.

Even more impressive were the results of a review study of the evidence linking nuts and lower risk of coronary heart disease, also published in the British Journal of Nutrition. (Kelly JH, Sabate J.) In this study, researchers looked at four large prospective epidemiological studies-the Adventist Health Study, Iowa Women's Study, Nurses' Health Study and the Physician's Health Study. When evidence from all four studies was combined, subjects consuming nuts at least 4 times a week showed a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who never or seldom ate nuts. Each additional serving of nuts per week was associated with an average 8.3% reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Practical Tip: To lower your risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, enjoy a handful of peanuts or other nuts, or a tablespoon of nut butter, at least 4 times a week.

Monsanto’s Government Ties

Who does the government protect when food safety and nutrition are an issue? (Note: Monsanto wants everyone to depend on their genetically engineered crops for food.)

Link: Millions Against Monsanto Campaign – Organic Consumers Association

A Monsanto official told the New York Times that the corporation should not have to take responsibility for the safety of its food products. "Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food," said Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications. "Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job."

It would be nice to think the FDA can be trusted with these matters, but think again. Monsanto has succeeded in insuring that government regulatory agencies let Monsanto do as it wishes. Take a look:

Clarence Thomas

Prior to being the Supreme Court Judge who put GW Bush in office, Clarence Thomas was Monsanto’s lawyer.

Anne Veneman

Former US Secretary of Agriculture Anne Veneman was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto’s Calgene Corporation.

Donald Rumsfeld

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was on the Board of Directors of Monsanto’s Searle pharmaceuticals.

Tommy Thompson

Former US Secretary of Health, Tommy Thompson, received $50,000 in donations from Monsanto during his winning campaign for Wisconsin’s governor.

John AshcroftSenate candidate

More Ties

In order for the FDA to determine if Monsanto’s growth hormones were safe or not, Monsanto was required to submit a scientific report on that topic. Margaret Miller, one of Monsanto’s researchers put the report together. Shortly before the report submission, Miller left Monsanto and was hired by the FDA. Her first job for the FDA was to determine whether or not to approve the report she wrote for Monsanto. In short, Monsanto approved its own report. Assisting Miller was another former Monsanto researcher, Susan Sechen. Deciding whether or not rBGH-derived milk should be labeled fell under the jurisdiction of another FDA official, Michael Taylor, who previously worked as a lawyer for Monsanto.

The two congressmen receiving the most donations from Monsanto during the 2000 election were Larry Combest (Former Chairman of the House Agricultural Committee) and Missouri John Ashcroft

(later to be named Attorney General). (Source: Dairy Education Board)

More posts about Monsanto:

Are you eating Monsanto’s genetically modified crops?

Monsanto Backs Off Bio-Wheat

Shining a Light on Agribusiness and It’s Poster Child Monsanto

Monsanto Files Patent for the Pig

The World’s Healthiest Foods

The World’s Healthiest Foods, according to http://whfoods.org and The George Mateljan Foundation, a non-profit organization free of commercial influence.

The George Mateljan Foundation provides unbiased scientific information about how nutrient-rich World’s Healthiest Foods can promote vibrant health and energy.