Oct. 26, 2007 -- Boiled peanuts may be the cream of the crop, besting raw peanuts or roasted peanuts in terms of nutrition.
That news comes from food scientists in Alabama, who ought to know about boiled peanuts, which are a Southern snack.
The researchers -- who included graduate student Yvonne Chukwumah and Lloyd Walker, PhD, of Alabama A&M University -- bought peanuts at a grocery store.
Their shopping list included raw Virginia peanuts in the shell, raw peanut kernels, and commercially boiled peanuts.
The scientists boiled the raw peanuts for four hours while the peanuts were still in their shell. They also dry-roasted raw peanut kernels and roasted other raw peanut kernels in oil.
Next, the scientists made an extract from each batch of peanuts.
Lab tests on the peanut extracts show that boiled peanuts had higher levels of antioxidants than the raw and roasted peanuts.
Antioxidants, which come in many forms and are found in plants, may help prevent cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions, note the researchers.
The commercially boiled peanuts were a bit higher in a certain antioxidant than the boiled peanuts brewed by the scientists.
When peanuts are boiled in their shell, the peanut kernel absorbs antioxidants that are in the peanut shells and skins. That can't happen with shelled, skinned peanut kernels, the researchers note.
Their findings appear in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.