Peanuts – and I don’t mean Snoopy and Charlie Brown!

There’s no doubt about it – nuts are good for you. But with all the focus and hoopla on almonds and walnuts, the lowly peanut seems to have taken a step back.

Don’t keep them in the shadows.  Peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil are filled with heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help lower total and bad (LDL) cholesterol, as well as triglycerides.

They are rich in energy and are an excellent source of antioxidants that may reduce the risk of stroke, help protect against cancers, heart disease, degenerative nerve disease and Alzheimer’s.  They pack a punch with their B-Complex groups of vitamins, contributing to health and blood flow to the brain.

Be aware they are high in calories, so eat them in moderation.  Also, best to get the peanuts unsalted or those lowest in salt.  A handful a day provides the recommended levels of phenolic antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and protein.

Elvis loved his peanut butter and banana sandwiches – I tried one and I loved it…now I’m hooked (and you get that boost of potassium to boot).   With the hot summer months ahead, a refreshing and nutritious smoothie is in order.   Try blending 3-4 heaping tablespoons of plain yogurt (or kefir), half a cup of skim milk, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, a tablespoon (or 2) of peanut butter and a banana.  If you want something more intense, substitute the vanilla ice cream with dark chocolate ice cream.

Don’t wait until you go out to a ballgame to grab a bag of peanuts to enjoy!