Phillip B. Flexon, M.D, M.S., FACS, Medical Nutritional Consultant and Board of Directors member of Luray Peanut Company, LLC.
medical/nutritional informa.on monograph
Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are a legume with edible seeds that grow in pods in soil. They are not nuts but are oFen referred to as groundnuts. Peanuts cons.tute the 4th most consumed source of edible vegetable oil (fat) and the 3rd most consumed source of vegetable protein. An ever-increasing number of studies show health benefits of peanut consump.on and the importance of high-quality plant-based nutri.on in maintaining op.mal healthy diets for humans, as well as the agricultural efficiencies of producing peanuts, which suggest peanuts could become the worlds most important source of plant-based protein in the future.
Every year more studies demonstrate more wide range health benefits of regular peanut consump.on. Peanut consump.on reduces total mortality as well as all cause-specific mortality. Adults who eat peanuts every day when followed for 5 years or longer are 20% less likely to die of any cause when compared to people who do not eat peanuts or tree nuts in their diets. Cause-specific mortality studies looking at heart disease morbidity and mortality including sudden death, show the protec.ve effects of regular peanut consump.on are independent of gender, age, body mass index, alcohol use, or pre-exis.ng cardiovascular disease. The recent publica.on of the famous ARISTOTLE study conducted in Barcelona, Spain shows peanut consump.on improves memory and cogni.on. Regular consump.on of peanuts is associated with lower risk of obesity and weight gain. (Albert et. al., 2002, Bes-Rastrollo, et. al., 2009, Ros, 2010, Bao, et. al. 2013, 1 Gamboa-Gomez, et. al., 2015, Van Den Brandt et. al. 2015, Luu, et.al. 2015, Balasubramanian, P, 2020, Parilli-Moser, et. al., 2021).
Peanut have far more protein than any nut and as a legume have more protein than almost any bean, with only soy beans being comparable (see below figure 2).
Crude Peanut protein concentrates have an unbalanced amino acid pattern depending on extraction methods. Peanut protein contains all essential amino acids but is relatively low in cystine, methionine, and tryptophan. However, because of its high human digestibility and bioavailability, peanut protein in vivo does very well. According to World Health Organization data when calculating a PDCAAS score (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score) peanuts are nutritionally comparable to meat and dairy. This is corroborated in multiple studies where peanut products, most notably peanut protein, is added to poor diets and significant improvement was demonstrated in growth, nutritional wellbeing, and overall human flourishing. In the area of digestibility, all legumes (black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, etc.) are compromised by containing Phytic Acid, which is an undesirable compound. When consumed, it can decrease the bioavailability of certain minerals and nutrients. It turns out, peanuts have a very small amount of Phy.c Acid when compared to other legumes, especially soy beans. Studies show the .ny amount of Phytic Acid in peanuts do not restrict absorption of any minerals or nutrients in people. (Devades RP, et. al., 1984, Diop,HI, 2003,, Patel MP, et. al. 2005, Rusydi, and MR Azrina, A 2012)
Peanuts break down into 50% monounsaturated fa^y acids (MUFAs), 33% paraformaldehyde (PFAs), and 14% saturated fa^y acids (SFAs). (Arya, SS et. al. 2016). This is a “Heart Friendly” lipid mixture. This has been born out in many studies too numerous to list. Regular consumption of any peanut product is more beneficial to heart health than consumption of a low-fat diet. (Pelkman, CL, 2004).
Peanuts are an excellent source of fiber and at the same .me peanuts have a very low glycemic index. 100 grams of raw peanuts provide 8.5 grams of fiber (100 grams of boiled peanuts provide 3 grams of fiber). On a 100-point scale peanuts have a GI (glycemic index) equal to 14; and a GL (glycemic load) equal to 1. Any peanut product when added to a high glycemic index meal (such as a bagel or orange juice) will keep blood sugar stabilized so that it does not rise too rapidly. The American Diabetes Association ranks peanuts as a “Diabetes Super Food “(Arya SS, et.al., 2016).
Peanuts are an excellent source of minerals. 100 grams of peanuts contain 127% of copper RDA (recommended daily allowance), 84% manganese RDA, 57% iron RDA, 54% phosphorus RDA, and 42% magnesium RDA. (Arya SS, et. al., 2016).
Peanuts are an excellent source of vitamins. 100 grams of peanuts contain 75% RDA of Niacin (vitamin B3), 60% RDA of folate (vitamin B9), 53% RDA of thiamin (vitamin B1), 10% RDA of riboflavin (vitamin B2), 35% RDA of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), 27% RDA of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), 55.5% RDA of vitamin E. (Arya, SS, et.al., 2016)
Arginine is considered a semi-essential amino acid. Under biological stress such as illness or injury, external dietary sources are required for the human body. Arginine s.mulates the immune system. Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide in the body helping relax the walls of artery and allowing them to dilate, which improves blood flow especially to heart muscle. The arginine nitric oxide cascade is essential for male fertility and male sexuality and for maintaining healthy erections. Arginine helps detoxify ammonia in the liver. Peanuts are one of the best sources of arginine known; 1 cup of peanuts contain 5 grams of arginine. (Watson, E, 2015, Arya, SS, et.al., 2016)
Resveratrol belongs to a class of polyphenolic compounds called s.lbenes. Peanuts have four major classes of bioactive phenols: s.lbenes, flavonoids, phenolic acids, and phytosterols. Resveratrol is likely the most important of these. However, ingesting these in the proper combination may be important to gain the noted health benefits. Resveratrol was first reported in red wine. Peanuts are loaded with resveratrol. All parts of the peanut plant contain resveratrol including the roots, peanut skins and peanut shells. Consuming peanuts is an excellent source of resveratrol with comparable amounts to red wine and in the case of boiled peanuts could possibly exceed wine depending on calculation of serving sizes. A ½ cup serving of boiled peanuts contains almost 1 mg of resveratrol. Resveratrol has been found to have protective function against cancers, heart disease, degenerative disease, Alzheimer’s disease and inflammation. Resveratrol appears to improve blood flow to the brain as much as 30% and this is believed to contribute to its observed effect of reducing stroke. Resveratrol extends the lifespan of multiple species including yeasts, fruit flies, and laboratory mice. (Baur et. al., 2006, Dowdy, S, 2011, Arya et. al., 2016).
Phenolic Acids, Flavonoids, and Phytosterols-
Peanuts contain high concentrations of these three classes of bioactive phenols. Within this group of compounds peanuts are especially high in p-coumaric acid. These compounds are believed to be protective against heart disease via multiple mechanisms. Peanut flavonoids are the same found in green and black tea. Phytosterols have been shown to lower cholesterol. (Arya et. al. 2016)
THE CASE FOR BOILED PEANUTS
Peanuts are prepared in multiple ways for consumption. In the U.S., the most popular ways to consume peanuts is as peanut butter or as dry roasted peanuts. Boiled peanuts traditionally have been a seasonal dish confined to the harvest .me of green or raw peanuts and prepared in the Southeastern United States. Dry roasted peanuts are usually roasted at high temperatures ranging from 140 – 180 degrees C. They are usually separated from the shells and skins and consumed. In contrast boiled peanuts are prepared by washing green/raw peanuts and then boiling them in their shells in water with selected spices (proprietary) at 100 degrees C for 8 – 12 hours. Most peanuts involve a soak for a specified .me after boiling and then are removed and consumed. Historically boiled peanuts have been seasonal and available in the southeast US in roadside stands or prepared in southern homes. Boiled peanuts have been available as a canned product year-round but the prolonged submersion in a canned liquid brine solu.on substantially changes the texture and flavor of the boiled peanut from the traditional southern roadside/home preparation as well as placing unacceptable amounts of sodium into the peanuts (420 mg of sodium per serving; or worse, as crock pot Convenience Food Store serving formats will significantly concentrate sodium above this already high level.) Recently, Luray Peanuts LLC has developed a proprietary “fresh frozen” technique which boils and soaks the peanuts in high quality spices, and then rapidly packages and freezes the boiled peanuts. (Note: sodium for Luray’s boiled peanuts is 240 mg per serving (which is almost 30% lower than a medium serving of French fries at Wendy’s) The sealed pouches may be microwaved or dropped into boiling water to deliver a delicious “farm stand” boiled peanut experience anywhere in the world 365 days a year.
In 2007 Yvonne Chukwumah et.al., (2007) published a study performed in professor Lloyd Walker’s lab at Alabama A&M University. They discovered that boiled peanuts contain ten Imes more total flavonoids than roasted or raw peanuts. Boiled peanuts also had 36% more total polyphenols than roasted or raw peanuts. Finally, they discovered that boiled peanuts have 1.5 mg of resveratrol per 100 grams of peanuts, whereas roasted peanuts calculated out to have 0.017 resveratrol per 100 grams. That is almost 100 Imes more resveratrol in similar weights of boiled vs roasted peanuts!
In short, boiled peanuts contain orders of magnitude more of all classes of the important health-giving bioactive phenols than roasted peanuts. Combine this with the fact that boiled peanuts contain 40% less calories per serving than roasted peanuts one can only conclude that boiled peanuts are the healthiest way to consume peanuts.
Because of the widespread use of peanut products, peanut allergies have become a major health concern especially in the United States where peanut allergies appear to be much more common than Asia. The overarching difference appears to be that Americans eat mostly roasted peanuts (either dry roasted or in the form of peanut butter which is made from roasted peanuts), whereas Asians eat mostly boiled or fried peanuts. Both in the U.S and in China the average individual eats approximately 6 lbs. of peanuts per year. Interestingly, Asian-Americans have the same high prevalence of peanut allergies as other Americans, much higher than their counterparts in Asia where peanut allergies are very rare.
It is believed that thermal processing likely influences peanut allergenicity. Boiled peanuts are less allergenic than roasted peanuts. Three proteins are responsible for the majority of peanut allergies. They are referred to as Ara h 1, Ara h 2, and, Ara h 3. Roasting peanuts at high temperatures seems to enhance the allergenicity of Ara h 2 and Ara h 3. Boiling peanuts also seems to reduce the amount of Ara h 1. As of yet, no cure for peanut allergies exists, but scientists are working with boiled peanut extracts to develop peanut allergy desensitization strategies. It also stands to reason that boiled peanuts and boiled peanut products should be the first peanut products introduced to young children. This author maintains all baby foods for early infant consumption should only be formulated from boiled peanut products. (Beyer, et. al., Turner, et. el., 2014)
Peanuts are the most sustainable plant-based nourishment source for human flourishing available.
Sustainable agriculture broadly defined must have three major components. First, it must be economically profitable. Second, it must be social supportive of a high quality of life for farmers and farm workers and socially support the general wellbeing of people to support human flourishing. Third, it must be ecologically sound. That is, it must utilize resources so as not to deplete them for further generations and minimize pollution. On a global scale food production alone is estimated to produce as much as 29% of total global greenhouse emissions (Sandefur, HN, et.al. 2017).
The economics of peanut cul.va.on are outside the scope and intent of this monograph but suffice it to say peanut cul.va.on is profitable in the United States.
Appreciation of the community/societal benefits of peanut cultivatiton can be seen by starting with the fascina.ng history of the introduction of peanut cultivation in the United States.
The history of peanut cultivation in the US is a circular story. Peanuts originated in South America and Central America, first cultivated and consumed by local indigenous people. From there, peanut cultivation traveled to Africa and Asia. Black Africans introduced peanut cul.va.on into the US making a circle of South America to Africa to North America. Early peanuts primarily were grown for animal feed in the southeast US but gradually became consumed by people. George Washington Carver was a revolutionary agricultural scientist trained at Iowa State University. In the early 20th century Carver realized the incredible ability of peanuts as a legume had the power of nitrogen fixation. He advocated peanut cul.va.on as a nutritional food source as well as a means to repair co^on depleted soil for poor share croppers in the south to improve their living conditions.
Peanuts have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria within nodules on their roots in the soil. Because of this, they are able to convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into ammonia (NH3). Nitrogen fixation is essential for life as we know it. Because of peanuts unique nitrogen fixing root nodules, they require no nitrogen fertilizers and actually add ammonia to soil for other crops that can then be planted in future crop rotations. This reduces cultivation cost and reduces the carbon footprint involved in cultivation. (From the American Peanut Council). Peanuts are a low impact carbon food having 0.57 kg CO2 to produce 1 kg of fresh peanuts (from HEALabel). Peanuts have the lowest carbon footprint of any nut. Peanuts require far less water to grow than any tree nut. Peanut plants develop deep root systems that are extremely efficient at extracting water from the soil. In the southeast US, which is the most optimal area to grow peanuts in the world, naturally high annual rainfalls allow peanuts to thrive without additional irrigation, thus peanut cultivation does not deplete the aquafers of valuable drinking water. Both almonds and walnuts require 15 .mes the amount of water to produce equivalent weight servings when compared to peanuts. (Sandefur, HN, et. al. 2017, Haire, 2017, and The American Peanut Council).
Several points outlined above need to be considered when examining peanuts as a sustainable food source for people (note: references to the below facts have been previously listed above):
- Peanuts provide more protein than any other plant-base source with only soy beans being comparable.
- Peanut protein when analyzed by its high digestibility and bioavailability in human digestion as calculated by the WHO PDCAAS score shows peanut protein is comparable to meat and dairy.
- Peanuts are loaded with a “Heart Friendly”, healthy fat mixture.
- Peanuts are loaded with fiber and have a low glycemic index. The American Diabetes Association ranks peanuts as a “Diabetes Super Food”.
- When compared to other legumes (especially soy beans), peanuts have a very low phytic acid content and there is no detectable absorption restrictions of necessary minerals and nutrients in the human diet.
- Peanuts when eaten as boiled peanuts (the healthiest way to consume peanuts) provide some of the highest amounts of bioactive phenols (most notably resveratrol) and arginine found in any food available for human consumption.
- If the U.S. transitions from consuming roasted peanut products to boiled peanut products, especially with introducing boiled peanut products to babies as the first peanut exposure, peanut allergies will likely decline significantly in the U.S. and Europe.
- Peanut plants are nitrogen fixating and not only don’t require nitrogen from fossil fuels but actually add more nitrogen to the soil for future crops.
- Peanuts require substantially less water and seldom need irrigation which preserves the water aquafer for human drinking purposes.
The above nine bullet points demonstrate that peanuts fulfill the second and third criteria of sustainability, possibly as much as any agriculture product known, as their contributions to human flourishing and human well-being is indisputable.
Luray Peanut Company has been formed by an enlightened group of investors consisting of farmers, doctors, veterinarians, dentists, and business people dedicated to providing high protein, heart healthy, peanuts to feed the people of the earth. We are especially proud of Luray Chairman of the Board Corrin Bowers. He is the largest peanut farmer in the state of South Carolina. In 2020 Corrin Bowers on his peanut farm in Luray S.C., grew a staggering 5000 lbs. of peanuts per acre! That provides 825,000 grams of protein per acre. The average adult requires 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight or 60 grams per day on average. There are multiple conversion formula available, but depending on which is used, one acre of farm land in Luray, S.C. can provide annual protein needs for between 21 to 37 adults!
The above facts support that peanut are likely the most sustainable plant-based food source available to support the human species.
My name is John Carswell. I am 91 years old. I am a na.ve of Georgia and have lived in Georgia or South Carolina my entire life. I have spent my entire career in insurance and real estate business, as well as land management and farming. I work every day; I do not believe in retirement. Approximately 6 years ago I was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor. In 2006, at the age of 86, I underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy, otherwise known as a Whipple procedure to remove this tumor. This removed the head of my pancreas, part of my small intestine, a portion of my stomach, and my gall bladder. This is widely considered one of the most difficult operations the human body can undergo. Fortunately for me this tumor was found to be pre-cancerous and the opera.on cured me. I have worked hard at my recovery and rehabilitation and am doing well and work daily. Obviously with the loss of this amount of my digestive tissue I have to watch my diet and nutri.on very carefully, because it is difficult for me to digest properly and to absorb necessary nutrients.
I have grown up eating boiled peanuts and like them. Through trial and error, I discovered that eating several servings of boiled peanuts daily has improved my overall well-being and energy level. I now eat boiled peanuts every day and have so for 1 and 1/2 years. I recommend boiled peanuts for any individual aFer major surgery similar to mine because of their easy digestibility and improved quality of life obtained from their nutritional benefits.
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