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Are Peanuts Brain Food?

by
author image Larry Armstrong
Larry Armstrong began writing articles professionally in 1986. These articles have appeared in scientific journals such as “Hypertension” and “American Journal of Therapeutics." He received his Doctor of Medicine from the Baylor College of Medicine in 1985. His fields of expertise include medical physiology and biochemistry.
Are Peanuts Brain Food?
Peanuts and peanut butter are good foods for the brain. Photo Credit peanuts image by Alison Bowden from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Peanuts and peanut butter are nutritious foods for the brain. They contain many essential nutrients the brain and body require, while being low in sodium and cholesterol-free. Few foods are as versatile as peanuts and peanut butter, which also provide protein and other nutrients less expensively than many other foods.

Peanut Nutrition

The peanut and peanut butter are popular and nutritious foods, containing protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and primarily unsaturated fat. Since the brain requires all of these nutrients to function properly, peanuts and peanut butter are a good natural source to nourish the brain and nervous system. Peanuts and peanut butter also are cholesterol-free and maintain heart health, making them good foods to include as part of a balanced diet.

Protein

Few foods are so packed with protein as the peanut and peanut butter. They contain 10 percent of the recommended daily intake or RDI of protein, according to the American Peanut Council. Protein is required for the brain to manufacture chemicals called neurotransmitters, which brain cells use to communicate with one another. Two important neurotransmitters are norepinephrine and dopamine. When the brain manufactures these neurotransmitters, The Franklin Institute says, they can contribute to a feeling of alertness and added energy after the protein meal.

Vitamins

Peanuts and peanut butter are good sources of particular vitamins the brain needs to function properly. They contain high amounts of vitamin E, which brain cells use as an antioxidant to protect them from chemical breakdown. These foods are also rich in niacin, a B vitamin the brain uses to protect against Alzheimer's disease and age-related degeneration. Another B vitamin, folate, is also found in high concentrations in peanuts and peanut butter. A pregnant woman needs folate in her diet in order for her fetus to develop a normal brain. Folate deficiency can cause a birth defect known as anencephaly, where the baby's brain forms outside its skull.

Minerals

The brain requires certain minerals that the body turns into electrolytes, which then become absorbed by cells. Peanuts and peanut butter are especially rich in magnesium, copper, phosphorous and potassium, containing 10 to 12 percent of the RDI for these minerals. Each of these minerals is important for brain and nerve cells to generate electrical signals in order to communicate with themselves and the rest of the body.

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