Top Longevity Food #2: Delicious Squash Peanut Soup

It’s time to take another look at peanuts. We may picture munching on peanuts at a baseball game or fondly remember the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of our youth. But because of their many incredible nutritional benefits, peanuts are a food that should come out of the “snack only” category. Get started with the tasty recipe below, a soup for all seasons. Its heartiness makes it especially satisfying during these blustery, winter days.

In my new book, Secrets of Longevity Cookbook, I list the peanut as one of the Top 10 foods to eat for your health and longevity. During my 25 years of studying centenarians, I discovered that the same 10 foods kept recurring again and again in the diets of long-living individuals, and peanuts made the list. This is the second article in my monthly series that highlights each of the ten longevity foods. If you’re just catching up, check out the sweet benefits of sweet potatoes from last time!

Peanut SoupPeanuts: Get Your Protein Power

It may surprise you to learn that peanuts are not nuts at all, but actually a member of the legume “bean” family Fabaceae, which includes peas and lentils. Even so, peanuts contain more protein than any true nut. Peanuts protect your heart health with their monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, and manganese. As a good source of niacin, peanuts contribute to brain health and blood flow, giving protection against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. In Chinese medicine, peanuts have been traditionally used to improve appetite, regulate blood flow, alleviate insomnia, and treat swelling. All this, and they are delicious, too!

Peanuts can cause an allergic reaction in vulnerable individuals, even fatal anaphylactic shock. If you are allergic to peanuts, you should avoid them completely.

Squash Peanut Soup

Serves 4

My mother has been making this sweet, creamy squash and peanut combination for as long as I can remember, often at my request. It was passed down in her family, and her grandparents, who ate this soup frequently, lived well into their nineties. You will notice that the peanuts in this recipe are cooked, which renders them more digestible than when raw. The squash is filled with fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin B complex.

  • 1 cup dried, shelled peanuts, soaked overnight in 2 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 small daikon radish, diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 1/2 small kabocha squash (Japanese pumpkin), diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 medium carrot, diced into bite-sized cubes
  • 2 teaspoons of Anti-Inflammatory Spice Blend (mix equal parts of these dried herbs: basil, black pepper, cinnamon, chili powder, clove, curry powder, fennel seed, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1. Pour the peanuts and soaking water into a saucepan, add the 4 cups of additional water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the peanuts for 1 hour.

2. Add the radish and squash pieces, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender. Add the carrots, cover, and cook an additional 15 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the seasoning and the cilantro. Serve immediately.

You can find plenty of healthy, tasty, and creative recipes for long and healthy living in Secrets of Longevity Cookbooka great companion book to my Secrets of Longevity: Hundreds of Ways to Live to Be 100, which is now available on Kindle.

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May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

This blog is meant to educate, but it should not be used as a substitute for personal medical advice. The reader should consult his or her physician or clinician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field is ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

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