The nutrient-rich profile of peanuts and peanut butter can have a positive impact on our daily health — and the benefits start early! From preventing disease to promoting healthy development and extending life expectancy, peanuts are an affordable way to deliver nutrition kids need at every age.
In fact, thanks to new research, experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) have created new guidelines that recommend introducing peanut protein to infants as early as 4-6 months of age to reduce the risk of peanut allergies.
Peanuts and the Body
Kids need more protein as they grow, and it’s important they receive it from healthy sources. Peanuts contain more plant-based protein than any other nut, which is part of why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends peanuts and peanut butter to help meet children’s protein needs. In addition to helping kids feel fuller for longer, peanuts and peanut butter also support healthy development.
The Powers of Protein:
- Assisting in brain development
- Helping us form healthy bones
- Enabling muscle growth
- Helping to develop the immune system
- Assisting in rapid growth
Arginine Helps Kids Grow
Arginine is an amino acid that helps kids grow! Getting arginine from food (rather than supplements) has been associated with a higher growth velocity and linear growth, even more than general protein intake.1 And peanuts have more arginine than just about any other food.
Peanuts and the Brain
Peanuts and peanut butter can also help support a healthy, growing mind! (And they’re pretty great for adult minds, too!) They contain several components that are important to brain development:
B Vitamins help with energy production and proper brain development.2
Choline promotes concentration and supports functioning neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that carry messages across the brain and body.3
Copper promotes concentration and, along with polyunsaturated fatty acids, help produce neurons.
Benefits that grow with you
If you think peanuts are just kid’s stuff, think again. Even after kids are all grown up, peanuts and peanut butter contain a host of nutrients that have plenty to offer:
Resveratrol: An antioxidant that’s also found in grape skins, this polyphenol protects against cancer and heart disease.4
Niacin: Peanuts are an excellent source of this vitamin, which is associated with a reduced rate of cognitive decline.5
Manganese: Peanuts are also an excellent source of this mineral, which helps improve bone health, control blood sugar, and may even lower incidence of seizures.
P-coumaric acid: This neuroprotective phenolic acid may help protect against anxiety and depression6, as well as liver and kidney damage7.
Biotin: Peanuts are a good source of this mineral, which is beneficial for healthy hair, skin and nails.
Peanuts help kids of all ages
Peanuts and peanut butter pack protein, protective nutrients and unique bioactives that can help kids grow up strong, and adults feel their best.
So when it comes to your snack time selection, they’re one pick that kids and adults can definitely agree on.
- van Vught, A.J.A.H., et al., Dietary arginine and linear growth: the Copenhagen School Child Intervention Study. British Journal of Nutrition, 2013. 109(6): p. 1031-1039.2. Kennedy D. O. (2016).
- B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy–A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. doi:10.3390/nu8020068.
- Cusick, S. E., & Georgieff, M. K. (2016). The Role of Nutrition in Brain Development: The Golden Opportunity of the “First 1000 Days”. The Journal of pediatrics, 175, 16–21. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.05.013.
- Sales JM, Resurreccion AV. Resveratrol in peanuts. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(6):734-70. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.606928. Review. PubMed PMID: 24345046.
- Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, Scherr PA, Tangney CC, Hebert LE, Bennett DA, Wilson RS, Aggarwal N. Dietary niacin and the risk of incident Alzheimer’s disease and of cognitive decline. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2004 Aug;75(8):1093-9. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2003.025858. PubMed PMID: 15258207; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1739176.
- Szwajgier D, Borowiec K, Pustelniak K. The Neuroprotective Effects of Phenolic Acids: Molecular Mechanism of Action. Nutrients. 2017 May 10;9(5). doi: 10.3390/nu9050477. Review. PubMed PMID: 28489058; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5452207.
- Ekinci Akdemir FN, Albayrak M, Çalik M, Bayir Y, Gülçin İ. The Protective Effects of p-Coumaric Acid on Acute Liver and Kidney Damages Induced by Cisplatin. Biomedicines. 2017 Apr 28;5(2). doi: 10.3390/biomedicines5020018. PubMed PMID: 28536361; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5489804.