Saturday, January 22, 2005

Have Some Peanuts With That Tea

When you think of antioxidants, what foods come to mind?

Green tea? ... Check.
Blueberries and Strawberries? ... Check.
Red Wine? ... Check.

Roasted peanuts? ... No?


"When it comes to antioxidant content, peanuts are right up there with strawberries.", says Steve Talcott, professor and lead author of a study appearing in the journal Food Chemistry that documented peanuts' potent free-radical scavenging property.1

If you've been reading this blog, you'll recall that antioxidants benefit us by sacrificing themselves for oxidation, saving our cells from free-radical damage. (See "They're rancid".)

Although peanuts contain moderate amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E, the recent discovery in antioxidant power from these tasty little nuts (actually seeds from a legume or pea plant) is due to their polyphenolic content. And that polyphenolic content is increased, up to 22%, by roasting. In fact, these researchers found that roasted peanuts were richer in polyphenols than carrots, apples, or beets!

Another group of researchers found that a tea made from peanut skins had greater antioxidant activity than green tea.2 So take your peanuts roasted, with skin on. Be mindful of calories though:

One oz. (about 3 tablespoons) Spanish peanuts contains:


1 Talcott ST, Passeretti S, Duncan CE, Gorbet DW. Polyphenolic content and sensory properties of normal and high oleic acid peanuts. Food Chemistry. 2004; 90(3): 379-388.

2 Yu J, Ahmedna M, Goktepe I. Effects of processing methods and extraction solvents on concentration and antioxidant activity of peanut skin phenolics. Food Chemistry. 2004; 90(1-2): 199-206.

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