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Properties of Peanuts

Whether shelled, salted or ground up in its beloved peanut butter form, peanuts are a food product that is consumed worldwide. It is thought that they were originally grown in South America and made their way across the globe by distribution from trading travelers.

Peanuts contain many nutrients and have quite a few health benefits, including bioactive properties. They provide a good source of heart helpful flavonoids and phenolic acids, which are protective antioxidants. Especially high levels of these can be found in their skins.

Peanuts are high in fiber and protein, and are loaded with useful types of carbohydrates and fat. They also contain an antioxidant compound called resveratrol that decreases cardiovascular disease and phytosterols, which may help in reducing heart disease. An amino acid that aids in blood circulation called arginine can also be found in them.

In addition to their nutrient rich qualities, peanuts are also quite an interesting underground crop. They flourish when grown in sandier soil with organic based fertilizers, and produce flowers that develop on the top layer of the field beds. As their flowers begin to die the stems lean down and allow transport of the peanut husks, which then grow into peanuts. Rows of peanuts beckon interaction, and if the chance ever presents itself to pick your own don’t pass on it. Digging them up, brushing off the dirt and forcing them open to sample is a fun way to unearth a bite.

Peanuts not only make the grade as a healthy food, but are on the research scene as well. Scientists have further developed a labor and cost efficient system for measuring the inner moisture content of the peanut by using radio frequency advancements. This type of know how has been around since late 1990, but the actual means for unobtrusive measurement via radio frequency signals was constructed in 2006, inspired from technology developed by a United States Department of Agriculture researcher. This study in peanut production is proving beneficial for peanut plant monitoring, and is currently being studied in Australia for implementation under an agronomy development fund.

Knowing what the peanut content is like inside its shell is a crucial step in identifying high quality, tasteful peanuts. Peanuts, like most crops, have to be continually monitored from the ground even before planting down to the drying procedure after harvesting. According to principle investigators of the project, the technology is being looked into for the peanut farming industry as well as potential other areas, like grain production.

Coupling the health benefits of peanuts with more viable ways of generating a better tasting product makes the shelled snack a good choice.

Sources:
Phipps N. How To Grow Peanuts:  GardeningKnowHow.com
History of Peanuts: NationalPeanutBoard.org
Peanut-Institute.org
Getting in Touch With Your Inner Peanut. (June 5, 2012). Phys.org

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