Want to eat cheap without skimping on nutrition?
Peanuts might be your best bet.
When you think of what the world’s best food could be, you might think of a rare berry that’s only grown on the summit of an unreachable cliff, or an ultra-expensive dish that’s exclusively in a five-star restaurant. But when you break it down, peanuts and peanut butter provide a true trifecta that covers everything you’d want — including varied nutrition, tasty versatility, and an affordable price. Which is why we believe it makes a strong argument for being the true superlative of superfoods.
1. Affordable and Available
While getting great nutrition for the literal cost of peanuts isn’t a new discovery, the conditions they’re being re-examined under are — which includes the ongoing issue of inflation. But when looking at the data, nuts have proven more cost stable than most animal proteins.
That includes an 11.9% increase in meat, poultry, fish and egg prices over a single year, according to a statement by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1
Part of the reason for the stability of peanuts is that peanut plants require less water and are easier to grow, even more so than tree nuts — which makes for a smaller price for the consumer.
Looking at the Costco website, you’ll see the price difference reflected on the virtual shelves. A 5lb. bag of in-shell, roasted and salted peanuts costs $8.99 before tax (about 1.76/lb.), while a similar-sized bag walnut pieces costs about $15.99 (3.20/lb.), and the same weight of shelled almonds costs $17.99 ($3.60/lb.).
While that may not sound like a huge difference, the added cents per pound can really add up fast. Especially when you consider the long-term savings you might experience by staying healthy.
2. A Real Nutritional Value
Peanuts may seem like a simple, natural food — and they are! But just beneath the shell hides a wealth of nutritional value that can help you feel your best.
- Satisfying Protein: Every serving (about 1 ounce) of peanuts provides 7g of high-quality, plant-based protein. And because the protein is derived from plants, it includes a variety of unique bioactives.
- Heart-healthy fat: 80% of the fats in peanuts are from poly- and monounsaturated fats, which can support heart health. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests these types of fats over butter, shortening, coconut or palm oils.
- Dietary fiber: According to USDA Nutrient Database, over 1/3rd of the carbohydrates in peanuts are fiber. Ninety percent (90%) of Americans do not meet the daily recommendations for fiber intake.2
- Vitamins and Minerals: Peanuts contain a variety of nutrients that have shown to be integral to healthy growth, development, metabolic function and immunity.
By providing your body with the diverse assortment of nutrition it needs, you give yourself the best chance of maintaining your health. That’s where the variety of beneficial nutrients found in peanuts really start to shine.
Defense Against Disease:
Cardiovascular Disease: A 2022 review of 89 articles on the consumption of nuts and relevant health outcomes found that eating 28g per day of nuts was associated with a 21% lower risk of cardiovascular diseases (like heart disease and stroke) and related risk factors.3
Reduced Inflammation: Peanuts contain anti-inflammatory components like certain fats, antioxidants, dietary fiber, arginine and magnesium.
Healthier Hearts: Peanuts contain heart healthy fats, potassium and magnesium, which can help control blood pressure. Peanuts also contain substances like arginine and phenolic compounds, which can help prevent atherosclerosis.
Cancer Protection: A 2020 meta-analysis found that consuming nuts was associated with a lower risk for both pancreatic and colon cancer.4
3. Versatility and Taste
While not the most scientific category, the worldwide popularity and prevalence of peanut recipes show that they have a strong claim to the throne. And that popularity only seems to be growing.
In 2022, for instance, the USDA saw a whopping 7.7lbs. of peanut consumption per capita in the United States. That’s over three times the amount of almonds consumed (2.75lbs.) over the same period!
But the US aren’t the only superfans of this superfood. In fact, peanuts provide a good source of protein and nutrition to tropical and subtropical regions around the world — including places like Nigeria, India and China, which are also some of the top peanut producers on earth. So, it’ll probably be no surprise to learn that these countries have created some of the most unique peanut dishes around. (Curious to try them for yourself? Check out our recipe blog here.)
And not to be outdone, we’ve seen our own fair share of unique takes on peanuts in the United States, ranging from peanut butter sauces and ice creams to beers and whiskey.
So What’s the Decision?
The fastest way to find out if peanuts are the world’s best food? Trying them for yourself! And with peanuts, finding the perfect dish couldn’t be easier — because whether you’re looking for exceptional affordability, long-term nutritional benefits, or incredible versatility, peanuts are a whole food that really provide the total package.