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Can Peanuts Have More Antioxidants Than Red Wine?

You may recall a recent study that found peanuts may be a better source of antioxidants than fruit. People seem to be responding to such news and lobbying by the peanut industry (some believe peanuts took a dive when low-fat diets were all the rage) that emphasized the benefits of eating them. By the numbers:

  • The total consumption of peanuts jumped last year to nearly 1.7 billion pounds, compared to 1.5 billion pounds the year before.
  • The amount of snack peanuts eaten climbed to 415 million pounds in the 2003-2004 crop year, the highest since the mid-1990s.
  • Peanut butter consumption soared to 900 million pounds, from a low of about 700 million in the 90s.

A new study by University of Georgia (UGA) food scientists ought to crank up that interest even more. They found a way to dramatically increase the amount of resveratrol, a key cancer and heart disease preventative, in peanuts to levels far higher than those in red wine. The peanuts modified at the UGA labs have more than 12 times the amount of resveratrol found in a study of 29 different red wines. Those wines averaged slightly more than a half-microgram of resveratrol per gram. The peanuts modified by UGA researchers, however, had almost 8 micrograms per gram.

The method for improving the resveratrol content sounds pretty simple. First, peanut kernels are sliced into tiny pieces, then hit with ultrasounds. So far, whole nuts don't respond to this process, scientists say. The only other drawback scientists reported was a slight off-flavor detected in a peanut butter prototype by a consumer panel and verified by UGA's trained taste panel.

The fact remains, folks, eating peanuts may not be the best thing for your health, because, as usual, scientists conveniently forget some of the minuses:

Georgia Farm Bureau April 4, 2005

Yahoo News April 4, 2005

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