It’s National Peanut Butter Day!

Today, January 24, is National Peanut Butter Day in the U.S.  Here are some amazing factoids* to impress your friends and family:

  • Peanut butter was first introduced to Americans at a 1904 exposition in St. Louis. Missouri. But it originated in 1,000 BCE with the Aztecs and Incas.
  • Peanut butter is a staple in more than 90 percent of American households.
  • A product must contain at least 90 percent peanuts to be labelled as “peanut butter.” It takes 550 peanuts to make one 12-oz jar.
  • Peanut butter contains more than 30 essential nutrients. It sticks to the roof of your mouth because of its high protein content.
  • Peanuts are not actually nuts. They are legumes (similar to beans, peas and lentils.)

Peanuts have antioxidant properties that can protect the body from damage.  An international study compared raw, dry roasted and oil roasted peanuts.  The researchers found that roasting not only preserves antioxidant capacities, it may actually enhance them.  The study used an Agilent high-performance liquid chromatograph.

Phytoestrogens (plant hormones that resemble estrogens) have shown beneficial effects on cancer and cardiovascular disease in humans.  However, high exposure has also been associated with an increase in breast cancer in women.  UK researchers analyzed a comprehensive selection of foods for their phytoestrogen content.  While roasting increased the level of isoflavones (a type of phytoestrogen) in peanuts, peanut butter contained less phytoestrogens than fresh peanuts.  This study also employed an Agilent HPLC.

On an unrelated note, January 27 will be National Chocolate Cake Day.  I bet you can figure out how to celebrate that one.

*Peanut butter factoids from National Day Calendar, Punchbowl and Peanut Butter Lovers.

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