Peanuts are some of the best snacks that man has ever known. It’s rich in proteins, high in good cholesterol, a great source of energy (plus brain food for those studying), and a healthy alternative to French fries and potato chips. It is also packed with fiber, too.
Now, the only problem that peanuts, and other peanut based products, have to face is the presence of what we call as aflatoxins. These are naturally occurring toxins that are produced by the Aspergillus fungus. Aflatoxins are toxic and are considered to be one of the most potent carcinogens in the world. And the bad news here is that it usually contaminates peanuts and other grains.
While humans are naturally resistant to low levels of aflatoxin contamination, the mere fact that there are toxins in the peanuts we eat is a point of concern. Research and other studies have been undertaken to address this problem. Luckily, there seem to be results.
According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Ghana, peanut meal that has been processed through a hot extrusion method eliminates as much as 84 percent of aflatoxin contamination. The method requires the meal to be mixed with calcium chloride, lysine, and methylamine. The combination of these chemicals is found to aid in the rapid reduction of aflatoxins in peanuts.
The study shows that there is a way to make peanuts safer to eat. While peanut kernels could not be treated using this process, peanut meal is a necessary ingredient in many other food products like peanut butter and sauces. With the reduction of aflatoxin contamination, we can eat in peace.