peanut

Are Peanuts Healthy?

While many people know peanuts are beneficial for their health, some are wary of eating too many because of the high fat content.

And, while it’s true to say there’s more fat in a peanut butter sandwich than in a McDonald’s cheeseburger, peanut butter is certainly not a dietary evil.

Overall, the nutritional composition of peanuts is extremely good.

Even the fat is ‘good,’ being mostly in the form of monounsaturated fat.

They also provide an excellent source of protein, vitamin E, and fibre (which is more than we can say for the cheeseburger!).

In fact, research confirms that eating a portion of peanuts, or peanut butter, everyday may help reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and gallbladder disease, without the risk of weight gain.

10 interesting facts about peanuts…

  1. Peanuts are not nuts. These are actually a pulse and belongs in the legume family along with peas, beans and lentils.
  2. Peanuts grow under the ground, not on trees.
  3. Peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil are excellent sources of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil. More than 75% of the total fat content is unsaturated.
  4. Peanuts are 25% protein.
  5. Peanuts contain resveratrol, plant sterols and other phytochemicals which research is indicating have cardio-protective and cancer inhibiting properties.
  6. Peanuts and peanut butter contain beneficial minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium.
  7. Peanuts and peanut butter contain B-vitamins, folate and Vitamin E.
  8. Peanuts and peanut butter are natural sources of soluble and insoluble fibre.
  9. Peanuts and peanut butter are plant foods and contain no cholesterol.
  10. Peanuts have a very low glycemic index (14).

So, peanuts and peanut butter make an excellent healthy snack option.

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They are much more filling than other lower fat options, such as rice cakes, meaning hunger is tamed for much longer, and therefore you feel like eating less in the long-run.

So, what is a serving of peanuts and peanut butter?

  • One serving of peanuts is equivalent to a small handful
  • A serving of  peanut butter is roughly two tablespoons

You should take care with reduced fat peanut butter options, however, because they do tend to be much higher in sugar to compensate for the loss of taste when they take out the fat.

Here are a few suggestions to help you enjoy peanuts without the guilt factor:

Go for the natural version of peanut butter if you can find it.

Check out your local health food store where you can often make your own peanut butter, or go for one of the ‘natural’ varieties without hydrogenated oils.

  • Sprinkle a handful of peanuts over your salad at lunch.
  • Snack on celery sticks with nut butter for an afternoon pick-me-up.
  • Use peanut oil in salad dressings.
  • Add half peanut flour in your baked recipes.
  • Or simply enjoy a small handful of peanuts as a healthy snack.

Do you eat peanuts? How do you include them in your weekly diet?

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CoachMelAre Peanuts Healthy?

Comments 62

  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

  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. :D

    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.

  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. 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.

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