Plant-based diets are becoming a growing phenomenon, but you may be wondering, what does this type of eating really entail and what are the benefits?
Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods that come primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.
A new report published in the Lancet Commissions recommends a 50% cut of red meat and sugar and a 100% increase in nuts, legumes, fruits and vegetables globally in order to maintain a healthy diet and contribute to positive environmental effects.
Plant-based diets promote better health and cause less environmental impact than animal-based foods(1) but where do peanuts lie in this?
Nutrients and Health Benefits
Experts recommend more plant-centered eating, including plant sources of protein like peanuts. Peanuts have more protein than any nut (7g per serving), containing more than 30 essential vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of fiber and good fats. In addition, scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove 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.
Contribution to a Green Planet
When it comes to the peanut itself, no part goes unused. Pelletized peanuts made from the peanut hulls are used for animal feed and fuel. Peanut “hay” made from the vines, is used as food for cattle and ground cover or put back in the land to enrich the soil. In addition, scientists are researching peanut skins, which contain high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, for emergent uses. There is also technology available to create useful substances out of peanut oil in the future. All of these efforts position the peanut to meet the growing consumer movement to help the planet by eating more plant-based foods.
So in honor of Earth Day, take care of our land so our land can take care of you.