Peanuts are a great source of protein and they offer a number of other health benefits. In addition to supplying peanuts to the world, growers are also helping to solve the challenge of peanut allergies that affect so many people. Through the National Peanut Board, peanut farmers have funded more than $21 million worth of research on the peanut allergy issue to try to figure out a solution.
“This year in January, based on some long-term research that’s been done on introducing peanuts very early. It can significantly help reduce the incidence of peanut allergy among your highest risk kids,” said Leslie Wagner, executive director of the Southern Peanut Growers, a non-profit trade association which receives funds through a self-assessed checkoff made by peanut farmers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi.
Research shows an 86 percent reduction in the incidence of peanut allergy in high risk kids who have already displayed allergies to other foods or have parents with food allergies. New product developments in the peanut industry over the last decade include peanut powder, which is very accessible from a number of companies. That has made it much easier to introduce peanuts as early as four to six months of age.
General nutrition research that has been done on nuts shows that about 67 percent of all nuts eaten are actually peanuts. And eating a handful of any kind of nuts each days offers many health benefits.
“The truth is peanuts, almonds, walnuts… nutritionally are so similar,” said Wagner. “Peanuts have the most protein of any nut. Almonds have just a little bit more of the monounsaturated fat, but it’s so close that it’s not really a significant difference.”
Listen to Cindy’s interview with Leslie Wagner here:
Interview with Leslie Wagner, Southern Peanut Growers