Let’s be honest: The number one reason you eat peanuts or peanut butter is probably because you crave the rich taste. Fortunately, this is one time you don’t have to make a trade-off between flavor and nutrition.1Peanuts are as good for your health as they are satisfying to your taste buds. In fact, when eaten in moderation, peanuts have been linked to improved blood sugar control and cholesterol levels.1, 2
In a nutshell, here are four nutritious reasons for feeling good about one of your favorite foods.
Reason #1: Plant-Based Protein
Your body requires protein from the foods you eat to build and maintain muscles, bones, and skin.3 Because the protein in peanuts comes from a plant, it’s bundled together with fiber and phytochemicals (biologically active compounds in plants).14 You can’t get these substances from meat and other animal sources of protein.4Just as importantly, the protein in peanuts is not accompanied by lots of saturated fat4, 5—a type of fat prominent in protein-rich meat and dairy products. Saturated fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol levels, increasing the risk for heart disease and stroke.6
Reason #2: Heart-Healthy Fat
Although peanuts do contain a substantial amount of fat, most of it is monounsaturated1, 5—the type of fat found in olive oil and avocados. Consumed in small amounts in place of less healthy fats, monounsaturated fat can be good for your heart. It helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels. Plus, it provides valuable nutrients, such as vitamin E.7
Reason #3: Hunger-Fighting Fiber
Fiber is something that most Americans should get more of8—and peanuts are a good source .1 Foods high in protein and fiber, such as peanuts, keep you feeling fuller for longer after eating. That may help with managing your weight, especially if you munch on peanuts early in the day, which may reduce overeating later on.9
Reason #4: Hard-To-Get Nutrients
Peanuts also provide other nutrients that are in short supply in many people’s diets, including:
- Choline4, 8: This nutrient is involved in brain and nervous system functions, such as memory, mood, and muscle control. Your body also uses choline to form cell membranes.10
- Iron5, 8: This mineral is required for growth and development. You also need it to make hemoglobin (a compound that carries oxygen in your blood) and some important hormones.11 Adolescent girls and women ages 19 to 50 often don’t get enough iron.8
- Magnesium5, 8: This mineral is needed for many body processes, such as regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscle function. It also helps make protein, bones, and DNA.12
- Potassium5, 8: This mineral has several jobs, such as helping muscles contract and regulating body fluids and mineral balance. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure.13
Peanuts and peanut butter rank high in nutrition1—and their comfort food-worthy taste is definitely a nice bonus. Like our Facebook page to get a taste of some other nutritional facts about peanuts.
- “Peanuts as Functional Food: A Review.” S.S. Arya et al. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 2016, vol. 53, no. 1, pp. 31-41.
- “Acute Peanut Consumption Alters Postprandial Lipids and Vascular Responses in Healthy Overweight or Obese Men.” X. Liu et al. Journal of Nutrition. 2017, vol. 147, no. 5, pp. 835–40.
- “Dietary Proteins.” U.S. National Library of Medicine. medlineplus.gov/dietaryproteins.html.
- “Plant-Based Diets: A Physician’s Guide.” J. Hever. Permanente Journal. 2016, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 93-101.
- “16390, Peanuts, All Types, Dry-Roasted, Without Salt.” National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb.
- “Saturated Fat.” American Heart Association. https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/saturated-fats.
- “Monounsaturated Fat.” American Heart Association. https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/monounsaturated-fats.
- “2015-20202 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” U.S. Department of Agriculture. health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf.
- “The Addition of Peanuts to Habitual Diets Is Associated with Lower Consumption of Savory Non-core Snacks by Men and Sweet Non-core Snacks by Women.” J.A. Barour et al. Nutrition Research. 2017, vol. 41, pp. 65-72.
- “Choline: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-Consumer.
- “Iron: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer.
- “Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Consumers.” Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer.
- “What Is Potassium?” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/what-is-potassium.
- “Functional Components and Medical Properties of Food: A Review.” C. I. Abuajah et al. Journal of Food Science and Technology. May 2015, vol. 52, issue 5, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4397330/pdf/13197_2014_Article_1396.pdf.