Are peanuts really good for you? Dietitians share what you need to know

Here’s what to keep in mind before making your next purchase.

When it comes to nuts, many of us have our favorites. Whether pistachios, walnuts, almonds or peanuts, there is something for everyone. But how does each stack up nutritionally?

Peanuts, in particular, are a type of nut — well, technically a legume — that many people are curious about. While they’re certainly tasty and filling, are they actually good for you? We spoke to dietitians to find out.

Nutrition Facts of Peanuts

Here is the nutritional breakdown of 1 ounce of peanuts, according to the USDA.

  • Calories: 161

  • Fat: 14g

  • Sodium: 5.1mg

  • Carbohydrates: 4.6g

  • Fiber: 2.4g

  • Sugars: 1.3g

  • Protein: 7.3g

Related: 20 Low-Carb Nut Recipes Packed With Nutrients

The health benefits of peanuts

Although peanuts are not actually a “nut”, but rather a legume, they are most often grouped together with all other nuts. Like all other types of nuts, they are an excellent source of vegetable protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and fiber in the form of complex carbohydrates, Kiran Campbell, RD, explain.

Peanuts also contain more protein than any other nut and are comparable to a serving of beans. These nuts even contain resveratrol, a polyphenic compound known to most people as the health-promoting ingredient in red wine and grape skins and seeds, says Campbell.

Research shows resveratrol can help fight oxidative stress, inflammation, neurodegeneration and the aging process.

According to a recent analysis, people without peanut allergies are recommended to consume a handful of nuts and seeds daily for adequate health. The analysis also showed that daily consumption of 28 grams of nuts compared to no nuts is associated with reduced cardiovascular disease (particularly related to improved lipid levels – cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides and apoB), to a reduction in cancer deaths and in all cases. cause mortality.

Eating peanuts may also benefit people with respiratory and infectious diseases, Campbell adds.

Related: 11 Types of Nuts to Mix Into All Your Meals (and Get Some Nutty!)

“Peanuts are a nutrient-dense food packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium,” says Kathryn Piper, RDN, LD, NBC-HWC. “They also contain fiber and protein, both of which are important for digestive health and weight loss.”

Plus, peanuts provide healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

They’re also low in carbs, which makes them a good option for those looking to lower their blood sugar, adds Piper.

How to incorporate peanuts into your diet

When it comes to buying peanuts, look for unsalted and/or unsweetened peanuts, and the same goes for peanut butter. This is because adding salt and sugar provides no nutritional benefit and, in fact, may negate any heart-health benefit, Campbell says.

Additionally, a large number of antioxidants and polyphenols are concentrated in the skin of peanuts, so buying some with the skin or still in the shell can also be beneficial.

Additionally, roasting peanuts instead of eating them raw may also boost antioxidant capacity, research shows, though eating raw peanuts is also a great option, says Campbell.

Peanuts are also extremely versatile. They come whole, ground, and in peanut butter form. You can incorporate them into your diet by adding them to hot meals like Pad Thai, for example, snacks, smoothies, trail mixes, homemade granola bars, salads, sauces and more, adds Campbell.

“Peanuts are a great snack on their own, or combine them with other nuts and dried fruits for a trail mix,” says Piper. “You can also add them to salads and stir-fries for extra crunch and flavor.”

Peanut sauce can be used as a dip or marinade for meats and vegetables, and peanut butter can be added to smoothies and yogurt or used as a dip for fruits and vegetables, Piper says.

Next up: 32 sweet and savory ways to reinvent a basic peanut butter pot


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