Defining Flexitarian Diets and How Peanuts Help

The Flexitarian Diet, or “flexible vegetarian” diet, consists of a mainly plant-based diet that allows for meat and other animal products in moderation.

If you’re considering trying it, the good news is that peanuts and peanut butter can provide a protein-packed punch that’s on par with meat, while providing other additional nutrients and minerals! Plus, you’ll enjoy plenty of other healthy benefits that can come from a mostly meat-free diet.

Healthy plant-based diets lower your risk of kidney disease.

Your kidneys are constantly working to keep your body feeling its best by (among other things) removing waste, and maintaining a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals in your blood.

Plant-based diets have been shown to lower the risk of chronic kidney disease. But, it’s the quality of the diet that’s shown to be most important. In fact, a study showed that adhering to a healthy plant-based diet lowered risk by 14%, while unhealthy plant-based diets actually increased risk by 11%.1

Vegetarian diets can lower your risk of depression.

In a 2019 study examining the relationship between different diets and depression among 893 South Asians in the United States, researchers found that vegetarians had a 43% lower risk than those who consume meat.2

Peanuts and peanut butter specifically carry their own defense against depression in the form of polyphenols, which a separate study found may also help to reduce your risk for depression.3

But that’s only the beginning of ways peanuts and peanut butter can help your brain.

Vegetarian diets can help keep you slim.

If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, peanuts and plant-based diets are a great combination. A study that followed vegetarian dieters, including vegan, lacto-ovo, and pesco-vegetarians, found that participants had significantly lower BMI (body mass index), slimmer waists and less fat mass compared to those on non-vegetarian diets.4

Vegetarian diets that include peanuts can help save the planet.

You read that right — plant-based diets that incorporate peanuts can do more than help your health, they can also help the Earth!

The 2019 EAT-Lancet report outlined that our planet’s projected population will hit 10 billion by 2050. To account for it, the authors of the report advised doubling our population’s consumption of plant-based proteins (like nuts and legumes), and cutting our consumption of red meats and sugars by half.5

Plant-based diets and peanuts: a powerful combination.

As we’ve discussed, going without meat isn’t a one-size fits all solution for health — it takes eating the right combination of foods to maximize the benefits and feel your best.

But if you’re looking for a nutrient and protein-packed alternative to meat, peanuts and peanut butter can more than satisfy!

Hungry for more information about other peanut-powered diets? Check out the brain-boosting power of the Mediterranean and MIND diets, or learn about the impact peanut products can have on low-carb diets.

And for a daily serving of knowledge, healthy recipes and more, be sure to follow us on social! You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.


  1. Kim H, Caulfield LE, Garcia-Larsen V, Steffen LM, Grams ME, Coresh J, Rebholz CM. Plant-Based Diets and Incident CKD and Kidney Function. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2019 May 7;14(5):682-691. doi: 10.2215/CJN.12391018. Epub 2019 Apr 25. PubMed PMID: 31023928; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6500948.
  2. Jin Y, Kandula NR, Kanaya AM, Talegawkar SA. Vegetarian diet is inversely associated with prevalence of depression in middle-older aged South Asians in the United States. Ethn Health. 2019 Apr 25;:1-8. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2019.1606166. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31021177.
  3. “Effect of resveratrol on cognitive and memory performance and mood: A meta-analysis of 225 patients.” February 2018, 128:338-344. Pharmacological Research. Epub 2017 Aug 26. Farzaei, et al.
  4. Singh PN, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Shih W, Collado N, Le LT, Silguero K, Estevez D, Jordan M, Flores H, Hayes-Bautista DE, McCarthy WJ. Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With Lower Adiposity Levels Among Hispanic/Latino Adults in the Adventist Multi-Ethnic Nutrition (AMEN) Study. Front Nutr. 2019;6:34. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00034. eCollection 2019. PubMed PMID: 31024919; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6465543.
  5. Willett W, Rockström J, Loken B, Springmann M, Lang T, Vermeulen S, Garnett T, Tilman D, DeClerck F, Wood A, Jonell M, Clark M, Gordon LJ, Fanzo J, Hawkes C, Zurayk R, Rivera JA, De Vries W, Majele Sibanda L, Afshin A, Chaudhary A, Herrero M, Agustina R, Branca F, Lartey A, Fan S, Crona B, Fox E, Bignet V, Troell M, Lindahl T, Singh S, Cornell SE, Srinath Reddy K, Narain S, Nishtar S, Murray CJL. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. Lancet. 2019 Feb 2;393(10170):447-492. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)31788-4. Epub 2019 Jan 16. Review. PubMed PMID: 30660336.