Who doesn't love peanut butter? Thick, creamy (or crunchy if that's your thing), and has said to be quite the power foods due to its protein and good fats. However, peanuts and peanut butter have a dark side even I didn't know about until I started digging deeper. Here's some information that peanut & peanut butter lovers need to know!
The Good Side Of Peanuts & Peanut Butter
For the most, part peanut butter is a relatively unprocessed food, as it is just mainly peanuts that are ground until they turn into peanut butter. However, many commercial brands of peanut butter are laden with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other nasty ingredients added to them. So if you are eating peanut butter, I hope you are diligently read labels, and searching for healthy brands.
With most real foods, peanuts & peanut butter contains plenty of biologically active nutrients, more than just the classic vitamins and minerals. Peanut butter is a fairly “balanced” energy source as it supplies all three macronutrients, with a 100g portion of peanut butter containing:
- Carbs: 20 grams of carbs, 6 of which are fiber making the grand total 14 grams of carbs.
- Protein: 25 grams of protein, which is quite a lot compared to most other plant foods.
- Fat: 50 grams of fat, totalling about 72% of calories.
Peanut butter is rich in antioxidants, which decreases the risk of stomach cancer, and it also contains some resveratrol, which works to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The Dark Side of Peanuts & Peanut Butter
Even though peanut butter is quite nutritious, it can also contain substances that cause harm to our bodies. At the top of the list are Aflatoxins. Aflatoxin is a type of mycotoxin produced by Aspergillus moulds. These aflatoxins are very toxic and highly carcinogenic.
Mycotoxins are toxic metabolites produced by the fungus, sometimes called fungal poisons. According to David Straus, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and immunology at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center,
Spores don’t release mycotoxins into the air. The mycotoxins are in the spores and are only released from the spores when they become solubilized in water. Therefore, when occupants inhale air contaminated with elevated levels of toxigenic mold spores, the mycotoxins solubilize in body fluids.
Doris Rapp, MD, explains further:
The mold itself can grow in and on human tissues and cavities, such as the lungs, and the mycotoxins they produce can cause chronic systemic poisoning.
Aspergillus moulds grow mostly on crops, such as grains and nuts, and under the right conditions, Aspergillus often grows on grain before it is harvested. But it can also grow on harvested grain if the grain is stored in damp conditions. Aspergillus also grows on substances like soil, hay and decaying vegetation. The best conditions for Aspergillus to grow on organic materials is when the temperature is warm and when the material has a high level of moisture (7% or more).
How Aflatoxins Effect Humans
Peanuts are grown underground where they can be infected with the Aspergillus fungus. The good thing is that humans are actually fairly resistant to short-term effects of aflatoxins, however, some studies in humans link aflatoxin exposure to liver cancer, stunted growth in children and mental retardation.
The American Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 25% of the food crops in the world are affected by aflatoxins. Corn, cottonseed and peanuts are the crops most at risk of being contaminated, but Aspergillus also commonly grows on beans, rice, tree nuts and wheat. If animals are given feed contaminated with aflatoxins then aflatoxin mycotoxins can end up in milk, eggs and meat.
How badly a person is affected by aflatoxin mycotoxins depends on things like the person's age, gender, level of exposure, duration of exposure, health, the strength of their immune system, diet and environmental factors. Taking in a high amount of aflatoxins in a very short time can cause:
- Liver damage
- Liver cancer
- Mental impairment
- Abdominal Pain
- Pulmonary Edema
- Disruption of food digestion, absorption or metabolism
Not only are Aflatoxin mycotoxins toxic to humans, but they are also even more toxic to animals. Pets have died from eating pet foods contaminated with aflatoxin mycotoxins. Between late 2005 and early 2006, 23 or more dogs died from eating Diamond Pet Foods dog food contaminated with aflatoxins. The aflatoxin LD50 rate (the dosage level that causes 50% of a group to die) for animals is between 0.5 and 10 mg/kg of the animal's weight.
How To Fight Off Mold Contamination
Illnesses caused by mould exposure are a growing problem that few people are aware of, even physicians. Environmental health experts are seeing increasing numbers of individuals with symptoms directly related to mould exposure, however, it is often unrecognized and misdiagnosed.
As a group, anti-fungal drugs that are often prescribed are quite toxic, especially to the liver. The drug Lamisil, used to treat toenail fungus, is so toxic that its manufacturer Novartis warns that their product has resulted in liver failure, the need for liver transplants, and death. It can also cause loss of taste or smell, depression, suppressed blood cell counts, skin reactions and development of lupus.
The reason most anti-fungal drugs are so toxic has to do with the similarity between your body's cell membranes and fungal cell membranes. Fungal antibiotics attack the cell membranes of the fungus, and when they do, they also damage human cell membranes. These are some of the most dangerous drugs on the market and are best avoided. Clearly, drugs are not the answer if you've been poisoned by mould.
Foods That Fight Fungus & Carcinogens
It is believed that eating vegetables rich in antioxidants like carrots and celery reduces the carcinogenic effects of aflatoxins. However, eating to fight fungal growth can aid this issue. When looking for the top foods that fight mould & fungus, look no further than the ones listed below:
- Aloe Vera
- Black Walnut
- Caprylic Acid
- Coconut Oil
- Garlic & Onions
- Grapefruit Seed
- Olive Leaf Extract
- Oregano Oil
- Oregon Grape
- Pau d’Arco
Foods That Fight Carcinogens
Carotenoids and other antioxidants fight off carcinogens in the body, and some top antioxidant-rich foods are apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes and even in many dark green leafy vegetables where the green of chlorophyll masks the carotene colour. Apples, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are also excellent sources of vitamin C. All of the above plant-based nutrients or phytonutrients protect the cells and mucous membranes that help to provide immune protection.
There are foods that are considered Anticarcinogens, and these are specially targeted phytonutrients that are not only antioxidants but are also actively involved in balancing enzyme activity inside cells. These include phytoestrogens genistein and daidzein, found in soy and other members of the legume family (beans, peas, etc.). Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts all contain anticarcinogens and are invaluable additions to your anticancer arsenal.http://thescienceofeating.com/2015/03/03/hidden-dangers-peanuts-peanut-butter/
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