Peanuts are without a doubt one of the most versatile foods out there. Baseball game staple? Check. Delicious and high in protein? Check. Able to be added to any dish and improve it a thousand times over? Double check.
Peanuts are so widely appreciated, in fact, that September 13 has been designated "National Peanut Day." Though peanuts can (and should) be enjoyed every day, here are 10 reasons they really are the best thing ever.
Peanuts are notoriously high in nutrients.
First off, peanuts are just really good for you. Besides being high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber, they contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B3, folate, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron.
They've been proven to combat disease.
Studies have linked eating peanuts to reduced risk of blood clots, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and respiratory diseases, as well as lower cholesterol. Obviously, the high calorie content makes moderation key, but when eaten in small amounts regularly, the health benefits are nuts.
They're used to make peanut butter.
Do I even need to elaborate on this one? Peanut butter is one of the most versatile (and delicious) substances known to man. You can spread it on a sandwich or toast. You can dip apple slices and celery sticks in it. You can add it to smoothies and milkshakes. You can cover it in chocolate. And, at the end of the day, you can always eat it straight from the jar.
They're not just for the sweet of tooth.
Peanuts have long been a component in savory dishes like peanut noodles, peanut satay, and peanut soup. Even if the sweet-and-nutty flavor scheme isn't really your thing, you're sure to find a peanut dish you love.
Peanuts can be used to feed livestock.
While peanuts can be fed whole to livestock, they are most often fed in the form of "peanut cakes," or leftover residue from oil processing. These cakes are rich in protein and provide ample nutrition to livestock while reducing waste from oil byproducts.
Peanuts are an aphrodisiac.
L-arginine, an amino acid found in peanuts, is converted to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide makes blood vessels widen, which is obviously a huge boost for sexual health and performance.
You can use peanut shells around the house.
The National Peanut Board has come up with some surprising uses for peanut shells: cat litter, mulch, charcoal, a rock salt alternative, and packaging for fragile items. Instead of wasting any part of a peanut, you can use them around your house and save money on store-bought products.
Peanut butter can come in handy around the house, too.
OK, I already added peanut butter to this list, but it's just too good to not list it twice. This stuff can be used to get gum out of your hair, to rub off those sticky label adhesives, to shave, and most importantly, to get your dog to take its medicine.
Peanuts can be used in the production of dynamite.
Oil derived from peanuts can produce glycerol. Glycerol can be transformed into nitroglycerin, which is a component of dynamite. Though peanuts are not the world's only source of glycerol by far, it's still kind of cool that something so tasty could be used for something so explosive.
Peanuts can be turned into allergen-free oil.
Allergic to peanuts? Never fear—you, too, can benefit from the existence of this super-legume. Refined peanut oil goes through a process that removes allergenic proteins, and the FDA excludes the substance from allergen-labeling requirements. Though those with extreme allergies might have to steer clear just in case of accidental contamination, refined peanut oil is widely-used in cuisine and still able to be enjoyed by people who can't have other peanut products.
A peanut is more than a simple trail mix ingredient—it's a legume that believed in itself, that was cultivated and transformed by George Washington Carver into the versatile and inclusive food we know today. Take today, National Peanut Day, to celebrate all the ways the humble peanut has shaped your life by enjoying your favorite peanut products. And, because they're so good, do the same thing tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after that.