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Pass The Peanuts, Please!

Most people are familiar with the use of peanuts in snacks, desserts and in Asian cuisine, but did you know that peanuts and peanut butter are cholesterol-free sources of protein that offer 13 vitamins and 26 minerals? Now you can enjoy them knowing that you are making smart choices. Check out the following Peanut Pointers about why you should pop more peanuts:

1. Peanuts’ and peanut butter’s combinations of fiber and mono-unsaturated fat satisfy for hours, which means fewer cravings for empty-calorie snacks.

2. Peanuts have no cholesterol. They are also a good source of protein, fiber and other nutrients like vitamin E.

3. Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, including peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

4. Peanuts contain resveratrol, a naturally occurring phytochemical also found in red wine, which has been associated with reduced cardiovascular disease and reduced cancer risk.

5. Harvard School of Public Health researchers reported in 2002 that consuming one tablespoon of peanut butter or an ounce of peanuts five or more times a week is associated with a 21 percent and 27 percent reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, respectively.

In a nutshell, peanuts are a sweet and savory food that you can enjoy knowing they are beneficial. Keep peanuts in your pocket, purse, desk drawer, car or even under your pillow so you can always have a natural and nourishing snack handy. Peanuts are helpful in the kitchen too-add them to meals for an extra punch of protein.

Try roasting your own peanuts at home for a personal spin on flavor:

Place raw peanuts, in-shell or shelled, one layer deep in a shallow baking pan. Roast in a 350°F oven-15 to 20 minutes for shelled and 20 to 25 minutes for in-shell peanuts. Remove from heat just short of doneness desired, as peanuts continue to cook as they cool.

Eat your homemade peanuts plain, or while they are still hot, add some extra flavor. For delicately sweet peanuts, add sugar and cinnamon. Or add grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. You can spice things up by adding spices such as paprika and cayenne pepper. Be creative! One big batch of roasted peanuts can be put in separate bowls with different flavors for a peanut party.

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