Whats Up With The Health Nut?! From Resveratrol to Salmonella.

What’s up with the Health Nut?!

The health aspects of peanut butter have been radicalized though out history. From Dr. Ambrose Straub and Dr. Kellog’s endorsement of peanut butter as the health food for malnourished elderly  in 1890s, to its use during times of crisis such as WWI and II, to plumpy nut in food aid campaigns in Africa, to massive contamination of entire industries and hospitalization peanut butter has had a less than smooth history in terms of people’s opinion of its health characteristics.

Benefits:

Countless studies have been conducted regarding the health benefits of peanut butter, and there is a general consensus that when eaten in the right proportions peanut butter can significantly help with healthy weight control and lower you risk of cancer.

Peanut butter has been called the power house food in terms of protein. Each table spoon is packed with over 6 grams of protein. Unlike many verities of meat this protein does not contain cholesterol causing fatty acids but rather monounsaturated LDL fats that actually improve your health. This is a major reason why protein has been coined as the weight management food.

Peanut butter also has significant benefits concerning chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, and high cholesterol. The Peanut Institute collected numerous results from studies examining all different types of disease in correlation with a diet that includes peanut, and concluded that:

If you eat a hand full on nuts five times a day:

You will decrease you chance of heart disease in 1/2

You will cut your risk of diabetes by a 1/4

even mortality rates have been proven the drop by 40%.

Peanuts also have significant amounts of bioactive components such as argrinine (helps expand blood vessels) resveratrol (improves longevity and reduces inflammation), phytosterols (reduce cholesterol), and flavonoids (inhibit platelets from sticking to arteries).

The Not-So-Swell-Side of Peanut Butter and Salmonella.

There have been numerous contamination scandals involving peanut butter product and salmonella. They are often highly publicized and fatal to the companies in question.

 The most recent salmonella contamination was in 2009 and was responsible for 470 confirmed cases, and 90 deaths.

A massive recall was issued The Peanut Corporation’s products, which subsequently forced the company to close shortly after.

USDA map of high risk areas for salmonella.

Furthermore, all of the reported cases involved large scale manufacturers, which are more susceptible to disease contamination during the processing phase as well as breaches or mistakes during inspection.

This is a not a surpassing reality as the contamination of peanut butter typically occurs because of cross contamination rather than food spoilage. A very recent study found that low moister foods are very bad hosts for the salmonella bacteria and that the majority of contaminations have happen because of inadequate storage (4.2%) contaminated equipment (5.7%), bad hygiene of facilities (9.2%) and cross contamination at a whopping 57%!

Thus the brands that are typically recalled are those such as Jiff, General Mills, Kellog, Peanut Corporation, and Kroger.

The best way to avoid salmonella and other contaminants? Buy local, or grind your own peanut butter. Because after all the dry nuts are not what attracts the bacteria.

Allergies!

Peanut allergies are well known throughout the world. They are feared by both the carrier and those around them. But what makes these allergies so nasty, and what is the connection to peanut butter?

Peanut allergies are caused by an over reaction of the immune system and a misdiagnosis by the  antibody called Immunoglobulin E or IgE. When this antibody detects peanut bacteria is produces histamine. This can lead to anaphylactic shock and other serious breathing problems.

Peanut allergies have increased significantly over the past few years. From 1997 to 2007 allergies tripled!

There are numour hypothesis of why this could be. Ranging from mere over reactions of over protective mom’s to the most accepted theory is the increasing use of peanut products in processed food and the cross contamination within food factories.

Because peanuts have become such a globalized commodity, they are present in thousands of food that would natural never come into contact with peanuts.

Peanut allergies apply to all types of peanut butter, restricting all these allergic to the nut from consuming the butter.

Many institutions across the US have implemented restrictions on serving peanut products in public places such as schools.

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