are peanuts healthy

Are Peanuts Healthy?

CoachMel Healthy Eating 91 Comments

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say, nuts are super healthy.

But wait up… are peanuts healthy? Perhaps it’s only a problem when you eat too many, right?

Well, let’s back up a little and define “peanuts” first of all.

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As you probably know, peanuts aren’t actually nuts, they are pulses belonging in the legume family, along with peas, beans, lentils and soybeans.

And, they grow under the ground, too, not on trees.

Stiller peanuts

They are a great source of protein for a plant food, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, like biotin, copper, folate, vitamin E, thiamin, and magnesium.

But, although they are different to nuts like almonds and Brazil nuts etc., do they still have the same health benefits their counterparts are renowned for having?

Let’s take a closer look…

Are Peanuts Healthy: Benefits

One of the biggest nutritional myths of all times is that eating foods high in fat will make you fat.

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As a result, people are often fearful of nuts.

While it’s true that peanuts are high in fat – mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, but also some saturated fat – studies suggest this does not appear to contribute to weight gain.

In well-controlled trials, no change in body weight was observed in the participants.

But, let’s look more specifically at some of the research.

1. Highly Satiating

One study found that when peanuts were added to the diet everyday for 8 weeks, the peanut group naturally compensated for this energy increase in their overall dietary intake.

Researchers concluded:

Despite being energy dense, peanuts have a high satiety value and chronic ingestion evokes strong dietary compensation and little change in energy balance.

2. Reduced Energy Intake At Subsequent Meals

One study compared peanuts to potato chips, and found that overall energy intake was reduced in the peanut group.

This reduction was apparent on the day the participants were studied, but more interestingly, it was also evident 4 days following the test.

Researchers concluded:

The findings suggest peanuts may be a preferred snack food to include in the diet for maintaining a healthy weight.

3. Beneficial For Heart Health

Peanuts have also been linked with having a protective effect against coronary heart disease.

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In one study, when nuts (peanuts, walnuts, almonds and other nuts) where substituted into the diet in place of carbs, it was associated with a 30% reduction in cardiovascular disease risk.

The researchers concluded:

Given the strong scientific evidence for the beneficial effects of nuts, it seems justifiable to move nuts to a more prominent place in the United States Department of Agriculture Food Guide Pyramid.

Regular nut consumption can be recommended in the context of a healthy and balanced diet.

Another study suggested that eating nuts and peanuts regularly would significantly reduce the risk of heart disease at a population level:

Nuts and peanuts are food sources that are a composite of numerous cardioprotective nutrients, and if routinely incorporated in a healthy diet, population risk of CHD would therefore be expected to decrease markedly.

4. Beneficial For Diabetics

And, it’s not just whole peanuts that are healthy, peanut butter is also a great choice, too.

One study found that in those with diabetes, regularly eating nuts and peanut butter could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular heart disease.

Researchers concluded:

These data suggest that frequent nut and peanut butter consumption is associated with a significantly lower CVD risk in women with type 2 diabetes.

So, regardless of how peanuts aren’t seen as the “perfect” diet food in a world of low fat dieters, they are actually a really great weight loss tool, being super satisfying, reducing subsequent energy intake, and also being cardioprotective.

Are Peanuts Healthy: Adverse Effects

Unless you are allergic to peanuts, the adverse effects aren’t very significant. However, there are a few things to be aware of…

1. Aflatoxin Poisoning

Unfortunately, some peanuts can become contaminated with aflatoxin, which is a carcinogenic mold.

The risk of aflatoxin contamination depends on how the peanuts were stored, and it is more common in warm, humid conditions.

This contamination can, however, be effectively prevented when the peanuts are properly dried after harvest, and by keeping the temperature and humidity low during storage.

If you are able to determine where your peanuts or peanut butter of choice are produced, it will give you a better idea of the production conditions (more on that later!)

2. Pesticide Contamination

Peanuts are also one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops.

And thus, this is why paying a bit extra for an organic version is a really wise choice.

3. Omega 3/6 Unbalancing

Almost all nuts are higher in omega 6 fats vs omega 3 fats. And so, eating too many nuts can actually upset this ratio within your body.

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This is another reason to avoid oils like corn oil, safflower oil, soy bean oil, and canola oil, as well as deep fried foods, margarine and shorting, because they are very high in omega 6 fats.

So, although nuts do contain polyunsaturated fats, if you are eating a balanced diet, that is rich in omega 3 fats, then eating nuts in moderation is not something to be concerned about.

To lower the content of omega 6 fats in peanut butter, you can pour off the oil that settles on the top of the jar, instead of stirring it back into the peanut butter again.

If your peanut butter becomes too dry, stir in a little olive oil or macadamia nut oil, as these are both low in omega 6 fats.

How To Choose The Healthiest Peanut Butter

The best peanut butter I’ve ever tasted came from a health food store in Kingston, Tasmania, when we lived there!

Try your local health food store, too, because they often make their own peanut butter in-store, and it’s often a really awesome option.

Here are a few additional things to look out for when choosing peanut butter:

1. Avoid Added Oils

Many of the cheaper peanut butters have extra oils added.

These are usually hydrogenated oils to help improve the texture, however they also add a trans fat source to your diet, that is super unhealthy.

Your best option is to buy peanut butter with no added oils. Check labels for options that state “peanut only.”

2. Skip Added Sugars

Some peanut butters have around 1 teaspoon per 2 tablespoon serving, and it’s totally unnecessary – peanut butter has a flavor all of it’s own, and doesn’t require sweetening.

Check the label for sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, molasses, honey, etc. to see if your favorite peanut butter is a good option.

3. Avoid Low Fat

If you go for low fat peanut butter you are undoubtedly going to get a dose of sugar and other additives that are added in to replace those healthy fats they have removed.

Don’t do it!

Just buy the full fat version instead, and eat less, if you really have to!

How To Choose The Healthiest Peanuts

When you are choosing peanuts, go for raw, unsalted, and un-roasted.

Here are some more specifics to look out for when you are choosing peanuts…

1. Check For Moisture

When you are purchasing peanuts, make sure that there is no sign of moisture or insect damage.

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If you can, smell them, as that is the best way to notice if there is a rancid or musty smell.

When you are buying whole, unshelled peanuts, if possible, pick up a peanut and shake it. It should feel heavy for its size, and it should not rattle, because that means the kernel has dried out.

You should also check the shells for cracks, dark spots and insect damage, and avoid if you see any signs of these.

2. Store Peanuts Correctly

Shelled peanuts ought to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, or even the freezer, to protect them from excess exposure to heat, humidity or light, which can make them become rancid.

If your peanuts are still in the shell, they can be kept in a cool, dry, dark place, however keeping them in the fridge will extend their shelf life even further.

Tips For Adding Peanuts To Your Diet

A serving of peanuts is roughly a small handful, while a serving of peanut butter is up to two tablespoons.

Here are a few tips for adding more peanuts to your weekly diet:

    • Sprinkle a handful of peanuts over salads.
    • Add peanuts to cooked meals, like sautéed chicken and spinach.
    • Snack on celery sticks with peanut butter, or peanut butter with banana, apple or pear.
    • Add half peanut flour in your baked recipes.
    • Have a handful of peanuts as a healthy snack.

In summary, peanuts are an excellent, plant-based source of protein, that are a good source of various vitamins and minerals.

And, they can certainly be a useful part of any healthy diet, even if you are trying to lose weight.

What do you think… are peanuts healthy? How do you include them in your weekly diet?

Interested in more? Read the 12 nuts and seeds you should add to your diet.

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Comments 91

  1. Ken

    I just had a bag of peanuts because I was hungry and everything else in the vending machine would have given me a stomach ache (potato chips, cookies, cheese crackers). So the bag of peanuts was the lesser of 30 evils. Glad to read it might not have been evil at all.

    1. Melanie

      Hey Ken,
      Good choice! It’s difficult when you’re out and about to make the right choices, nuts and dried fruits too are a good fall-back option.

      1. AJ

        Is it because of the sodium? I usually have large roasted lightly salted peanuts and wanted to find out the health risk on the salt part.
        Please let me know

        1. Quadra

          I know that very light amounts of salt can be healthy for you just not in large abundances so all in all lightly salted peanuts are not a bad way to go.

  2. elizabeth

    thanks!!!! i was jus curiose because me and my brother were eating peanuts last night and he was all like, “you know, peanuts are healty for you” and i was like yea sure whatever, so i thought i would reasearch it and he just proved me wrong!!!!! : o {

  3. Jay

    I just wanted to give my thanks. My dad always told me that peanuts were extremely healthy, more so than potato chips as a snack (which I don’t like half as much as a handful of these things). I had no idea how much, though. I had no idea they weren’t actually nuts! Talk about irony!
    Now we get a jar every weekend for our shopping trips. 😀

    1. Melanie

      Hi Jay,
      Thank you! Yes, they are very healthy. For a little more variety, you could also snack on a handful of mixed, whole nuts.

  4. Lisa

    What is the best way to eat peanuts? Raw, roasted, dry-roasted, or boiled? I know unsalted, but I was wondering if it is okay to eat roasted peanuts.

      1. Nobby

        Melanie, peanuts should never be consumed in raw form because a mold (Aflatoxins) could grow on raw peanuts if they are not fresh and/or stored in moist conditions. Aflatoxins are toxic and one of the most carcinogenic substances known to man. That said, peanut butter also carries the risk if one may choose a unbranded or cheap product where the quality of peanuts may be compromised. Hence peanuts are safer for human consumption in the roasted or boiled form.

  5. Gillian

    I was told that you use up the same amount of calories by eating one peanut at a time, as you would eating a handful at one time … do you know anything about facts to back that up please? It seems to make sense … but …

    1. Melanie

      Hi Gillian,
      I have never come across that idea.

      I think the benefit of eating the peanuts one at a time, rather than in handfuls, is that you slow down the eating process, so you have the potential to eat more mindfully, therefore eating less in one sitting, and taking in less calories as a result. Alternatively, when you eat handfuls at a time, before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of nuts, and the calorie intake is huge.

      I would suggest measuring out a serving of nuts (1 to 1 1/2 ounces) and eating them slowly and mindfully. I cannot say you will use up more calories eating in this way, but the overall calorie intake has potential to be less (rather than eating straight from the bag), and you will feel more satisfied by slowing down the eating process.

      1. David S. L.

        I have been eating peanuts, in quantity, for years. I LOVE ‘ EM.
        Because i know that their good for you and the FAT they posses is GOOD fat. YEAH !

    1. Melanie

      Hi Ann,
      If you are susceptible to kidney stones you can prevent the oxalate build up somewhat by:

      Drinking plenty of fluids.
      Eating calcium-containing foods — the calcium binds the oxalate in the gut preventing it from being absorbed.
      Avoiding foods containing oxalates, such as spinach, beans, beets, berries, green peppers, chocolate, coffee, colas, peanuts, peanut butter, and wheat bran.

      1. Rajinikanth

        The information given by Melanie are truly useful. Some of the answers in comment area are informative, and well explained. Melanie’s answer regarding kidney stone and oxalate forming foods are well.

  6. Benjamin

    I found your site after feeling guilty about grabbing a bag of peanuts for an afternoon snack!

    I was craving peanuts for some reason! After reading about all the healthy benefits, I guess my body was trying to tell me something!

  7. Magnix

    I ate a bag of Chili Lemon Peanuts! Never got hungry for dinner! Is it still ok to eat that much? I mean I have been eating tons of peanuts at work almost daily! Im 40 and still skinny!

  8. VENKATESHA MURTHY T S

    Dear Melanie!!!!!!
    Best methods of eating nuts for breaking monotony, and to have variety, Can you guide in this direction?
    1. We in India eat Nuts ( Pea Nuts, Almonds, Cashews, and other locally grown ones) in the preparation of foods for snacks, lunch, dinner, etc.
    2. We normally eat Ground Nuts as Raw, Roasted, Roasred & treated with Chili powder & salt, Also Made as small cakes with Jaggery + Coconut Powder + Cardamom Powder + Roasted Ground Nuts. Munch them some times after lunch, After night food. etc.
    The basis of eating is not known to me. However this tradition has come since long years, say from our forefathers period or so.
    In case you have any scientific proven methods with their advantages / dis-advantages, please let me know. In case I find from some sources I will try to keep you informed.
    Venkatesha Murthy T S

  9. Michael Redbourn

    I’m glad I found your site.

    I’m not overweight but have always avoided nuts even though I like them because I thought they were so fattening.

    I live in Israel and you can buy all different kinds, sold loose, at kiosks on every corner.

    So I’ll eat some with my next beer 😉

  10. Kate Shaw

    Hello,
    Am i ok eating wasabi coated peanuts? Im trying to get some extra fibre and protien into my diet as i am exercising a lot and i was told nuts were a great source of both.
    Thanks, Kate

    1. Melanie

      Hi Kate, For the most part, it’s best to stick with whole, unsalted, unroasted nuts. So, wasabi peanuts are okay for a treat, but I think they are all roasted and coated in wasabi seasoning, right?

  11. Rafael T

    I don´t get this ‘one serving”. I´m from Brazil, and I find that this is not very helpful to the diet plans. How much is one serving, in grams? Cheers

  12. Faith

    Dear Melanie, thanks for letting me know how wonderful peanuts are.
    I have been eating alot of peanuts and I was begining to worry if i was doing something wrong. I add peanuts to my bowl of cereal, I add peanuts to my cup of sugar free ice-cream, I snack on peanuts, I eat my banana with peanuts, and I make peanut soup. The good thing about all this is that, I no longer have type 2 diabetes, or High blood pressure. My skin glows, my hair grows so fast, and I am feeling very strong and looking really healthy.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Faith,
      That is wonderful. Have you also added nuts and seeds to your diet? They are fantastic also 🙂 Do you stick to one portion each day, though?

    1. Melanie

      Hi Sharon, A serving of nuts is about 1/4 cup or 1 to 1 1/2 ounces. I’d suggest measuring it out so see how your portion compares to that.

  13. Elizabeth, N.

    Hi Melanie: I would like to know if eating a 9 oz. can of lightly salted peanuts in two to three days good for my health. You see! when I start eating those peanuts I feel so much better on the healthy side. I am relaxed, and just feeling fine. When I am a little stressed and decides to crunch on some peanuts I usually feel so much better and the stress is gone. I am only afraid that I am eating too much in such a short time. Do you have any suggestions.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Elizabeth,
      A portion of nuts is about 1 to 1 1/2 ounces each day. I also recommend that you don’t eat salted or roasted nuts on a regular basis, and that you have a variety of different kinds. Do you like nuts like almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts? These are fantastic choices.

  14. Abe

    “Those things are gnna kill you” ,that’s all I hear from my wife because I eat some roasted in-shell peanuts daily, for some reason it’s relaxing for me to break the shell. I even read that helps reduce triglycerides also wich I’m taking medication for, very very informative Thanks.. cant wait untill wife wakes up so I can tell her.. Read! 🙂

  15. Lintu

    Dear Melanie,

    Thank you for this wonderful article. I always thought eating peanusts make you fat. Now thanks to your wonderful article I can start enjoying peanuts once again. So what is better eating raw or roasted peanuts. I didn’t even know peanuts can be eaten raw. Can you give me some suggestions about it?

  16. Paul

    Hi there,
    Thanxx for artical and comments. I eat around more then hand full everyday. And my wife always think its bad for health. But atlest I know what’s right and wrong. I only eat Rosted un salted once.

  17. Colin

    Hi Melanie,

    I have heard that eating 3/4 of your target weight in protein (grams) is a good way to lose weight, as long as they are lean proteins. I have been working on chicken, yogurt and peanuts, but it is very hard to get up to 135g of proteins a day. Is this unhealthy? or do you have any suggestions?

    Thanks

    1. Melanie

      Hi Colin,
      That’s a really good question, I think I’ll try to address that one in detail in an article next week. In the meantime, just to say that the recommended daily amount ranges from 40-70 grams, depending on your gender, age, etc, although there is some recommendation that it could definitely be higher than that.

    1. Melanie

      Hi Bobby,
      Salt is not bad for your waistline, however for your health overall, it’s good not to have too much salt.

      It really depends on your salt intake from all sources. So, if your diet is very high in salt, then salted peanuts would not be a good addition. But, if you don’t take a lot of salt on your food, and you don’t eat a lot of processed foods (they are very high in salt), then a few salted peanuts here and there are unlikely to cause too much of a problem.

  18. David Glen

    I live in Argentina and we have a very abundant peanut crop here. Our peanuts are really delicious and they are a great way to eat healthy. Look for Argentine peanuts in your country and I can assure you that you will love the quality of them. Enjoy!

      1. apple janine

        oh i like peanut most especially when my period is coming..
        I always craving for it..but sometimes overeating peanuts may cause pimple.is it true?

  19. Trent

    One of my guilty pleasures is chocolate covered peanuts. Obviously the chocolate adds fat, should I be overly concerned about the amount of them to consume, or in the end does it not make too much of a difference?

  20. Enrique Mora

    Un-salting peanuts…
    Salty and oily peanuts are bad. The good news: you can wash them and then dry them out really good. I have been doing this and enjoying Delicious flavor without the fat and sodium!

  21. Zeeshan Naqi

    Love your article clear and to the point , it’s the most important answer for me cz I eat peanuts every week and love then and was worried what am I eating myself into 🙂 after this I can eat tension free in sensible limits ! Spicy peanuts won’t hurt right ?

  22. Debra

    I love having peanuts and now I’m glad to hear that they are healthy. I buy the roasted no salt variety in the shell I have a handful with my juiced smoothie of kiwi, strawberries. bananas & ice and the combo keeps me full until my next meal and it’s much better than munching on chips.

  23. Allan Lees

    We’ve been conditioned to assume that ALL oils are harmful but in fact nuts contain many essential oils such as omega-3. Additionally, nuts (including peanuts) also contain essential compounds such as zinc and magnesium which are needed in trace amounts for neural function. So it’s not just a question of calories or oil; it’s a question of getting all the micro-nutrients we need daily in order for our bodies and brains to function at their best. People eat too many carbs (especially sugar and refined flour) and too little of the foods than contain essential micro-nutrients.

  24. Mike Kelley

    Love all the positive comments regarding peanuts. I eat approximately 2 lbs of Planters mixed nuts a week. I exercise 3-5 times a week and feel great. My wife is concerned that this may be harmful to my health. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  25. Christopher

    My thing is that usually I eat unsalted peanuts, just because I retain water easy enough without the extra salt. Sometimes I go for the salted peanuts or the flavored ones for a change of pace. Anyway, my think is that my job is pretty much sitting at a desk all day. I choose peanuts often because they are filling and light. However, I can’t just eat one serving. Typically a jar or bottle will have about 16 servings and if I don’t eat the whole thing, for sure half of it. Is that too much?

  26. Geoff

    A good way to eat peanuts is in the shell. You obviously need to take the time to crack open the shell and slows down how many you eat. Only down side is it makes a mess. I eat them over the kitchen sink and shred them in the disposal.

  27. Raj

    my daily intake of roasted peanuts is 200gms as to increase my protein intake.Is it good and can u tell much proteins exactly it provids with per 100gm

    1. Post
      Author
      CoachMel

      Hi Raj, As I said in the article a serving of peanuts is a handful (roughly 28grams), so your 200g each day is far too much. Are you sure you take that much? I would suggest getting protein from other sources, and restricting the nuts to a once a day snack of 28grams.

      Good alternative sources include meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and legumes.

  28. Raj

    Thanks,melanine! 🙂
    But is it harmful in any ways, if i have 200 gms of it. I eat all other meals too, poultry,meat,eggs,dairy and along with that i have peanuts daily.100gms in the morning
    after breakfast and 100 gms in my evening snacks

    1. Post
      Author
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  31. Jennifer

    My sister has Diabetes type 2 and would love to know whether it is good for her snacking on raw unsalted peanuts or not? Is there anything else you can reccomend for her as a healthy snack. She suffers with lots of pain due to this condition and spine problems. Thank you very much.

    1. Future Trunks

      Yeah, the glycemic index of peanuts is like 14, so it shouldn’t spike the bloodsugar for diabetics. A diabetic needs to follow the glycemic index diet so their hands/ feet/ fingers/ toes and limbs don’t fall off. Using the glycemic index diet is also good for the rest of us, so that we’ll be less likely to gain weight. Food items high on the glycemic index like cornflakes, bread, and refined sugar turn into fat quickly, faster than say peanuts, meat, or vegetables. Google glycemic index diet, it’ll blow you away and revolutionize your diet. So Peanuts are one food thats extremely good for a diabetic, or just the random that doesn’t want to get fat. And have to say a small bowl of peanuts tastes better than a bowl of cereal anyway. Peanuts are also really healthy for your gums/teeth too. Man, 1/2 of my diet are peanuts and my teeth feel better than they have for a long while. When I used listerine 10 years ago alot of my gums suddenly fell off my teeth and it was really painfull… Peanuts the miracle legume are taking some of the pain away and making your gums nice, pink and healthy, an amazing and healthy food.

  32. Future Trunks

    Peanuts really are amazing, I’ve had this chronic sore throat for 3 years and I tried many things like garlic and just general eating healthy and peanuts are the only things that started to take a swing at the overall soreness within the last 4 or 5 months. So if anyone has a chronic sore throat try peanuts; hopefully you’re not alergic. If you’re alergic idk. I’m gonna keep eating peanuts every day. I guess I’ve never gotten completely better being unable to fight it because I’m immune compromised. Small bowl of peanuts for breakfast, :D. For lunch, broccoli with eggs. For dinner, peanuts and more vegetables or fruit and yogurt. Lol peanuts are awesome and a great snack. Stevia is a great sweetener too for yogurt, and can put some cocoa in it so it seems like its unhealthy but awesome. But peanuts, I have to say they’re simply amazing. Strongly advise eating peanuts if your throat is sore. And they do seem to curb appetite like they say. Like I can eat a small bowl of peanuts, and an iced coffee with stevia and I’m not hungry for about 5 hours, so one could say calorie intake wise it makes sense you could get away with dieting with peanuts. Peanuts are really cheap too so its a win win. I mean a 3 dollar bag of peanuts has like 4000 calories, so thats like food for 4 days if 1/2 of your calories are peanuts.

  33. Lovepeanuts

    Hello,
    I love peanuts. I prefer them buying in shell and like the process of taking them out of shell myself and eating them. However I think i eat too many. In last 12-15 days I have eaten a 2kilogram bag all by myself. Is this really bad? I workout regularly

  34. Aditya

    Really, peanuts are an absolute godsend for Vegetarians. I mean its frustrating how useless our other options are.
    But my problem is that I eat them after an overnight soak, and sometimes they are spoiled by fungus. Any way to prevent that?

  35. UmmKhuwahish

    Hi

    How much peanuts by weight You would suggest one can eat during a day? I finished half kg in a week, is it much?

  36. Pingback: Peanuts Healthy Diet | My Good Health lost

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