It’s no secret that peanuts are one of the tastiest, most convenient snacks around. You may also have heard that they’re great for your heart and blood vessels.1, 2 But what you might not realize is that peanuts have a host of other health benefits, as well.3 Here are six you should know about.
Curbing Your Appetite
Adding a handful of peanuts or a smear of peanut butter to your meals or snacks keeps you feeling full for longer.4 Peanuts are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy kinds of fat3—a combo that promotes the body’s release of appetite-suppressing hormones.4 In one study, women who included peanut butter in their breakfasts said they felt less hungry eight to 12 hours afterward.4
By curbing your appetite, peanuts may affect your eating behavior.4 It’s no surprise that studies show peanuts can be part of a successful weight-loss plan.3, 5 Ideally, they should replace less healthy foods rather than simply being added to what you’re already eating.6
Warding off Diabetes
People who frequently eat nuts have a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes1—a chronic condition in which blood sugar levels stay too high.8 Researchers are investigating possible reasons. One possibility: Eating peanuts helps prevent a short-term spike in blood sugar after a meal. Repeated over time, that may be beneficial for long-term blood sugar control.7
Reducing Cancer Risk
Peanuts contain several compounds—including resveratrol, genistein, and inositol phosphates—that show promise as cancer-fighting agents.9 That may explain why frequently eating nuts, including peanuts, has been tied to a decreased risk of dying from any cancer.10, 11
Now researchers are homing in on how specific types of cancer may be impacted. For example, recent research shows that eating more nuts and peanuts may be tied to a lower risk of getting a particular form of stomach cancer called gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma.17
Protecting Your Brain
The resveratrol in peanuts may have another key benefit: helping you stay mentally sharp as you age.3 In one study, postmenopausal women who took resveratrol supplements for 14 weeks improved their verbal memory and overall performance on cognitive tests.12 Other nutrients in peanuts that may be protective for your brain include vitamin E and niacin.3
Finally, research shows that eating peanuts regularly may lower your risk of getting gallstones14—pebble-like masses that form in the gallbladder.13 Gallstones that are painful or cause complications13 are often treated with surgery to remove the gallbladder.15 One study showed that frequently eating nuts, including peanuts, was associated with a reduced risk of needing such surgery.16
The more you know about peanuts, the more amazing they seem. Every day, scientists are learning more about the health benefits of these little nutritional powerhouses. We’ll be keeping you posted on the latest news, so stay tuned!
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