Peanuts making a healthy comeback -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Peanuts making a healthy comeback

Tifton- Peanut farmers are hard at work preparing for the upcoming season. They're tilling the soil to get ready for May, the best time to plant.

"In about three weeks, this field should be in peanuts. We till the ground up and prepare the seed bed and plant the peanuts in the ground here," says peanut farmer Wes Shannon. Shannon has been farming for about thirty years.

"I've been farming all of my life would be one way of saying it." So he's seen the ups and downs of the peanut business, especially a few years ago when healthy-eaters placed a stigma on the peanut. "It was back in the 90's we had the fat issue that was looming over us," says Shannon.

Now people's outlooks have changed giving the South Georgia snack a comeback. "Last year we had about a 17 to 18 percent increase in the usage of peanuts in the US over the year before," says Georgia Peanut Commission chairman Armond Morris. This year, consumption is running in the range of 12 percent over last year. In the past, the peanut was blamed for causing obesity but now, people are promoting the healthy benefits.

"Peanuts are very much should be a part of people's diets nowadays because it has resveratrol in it, the same thing that's in red wine which is good for your cardiac system," says Morris. There's also a host of healthy nutrients including vitamin e and vitamin b6, minerals like potassium and magnesium, folic acid which benefits women who are pregnant and even a reduction in diabetes with peanut consumption.

These are benefits that help the consumers as well as the producers. "Peanuts are finding a new place on the plate, and I'm certainly excited about that," says Shannon. He's also excited that he'll have a few more acres on his farm this year to keep up with the demand.

"We're looking for demand to go up and we're glad that people have been given permission to eat peanuts again," says Shannon. That's a healthy message for the customer and the farmer.

Peanut Commission leaders say promoting the peanut as a healthy choice takes a unified effort among advertisers, manufacturers and growers.

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