Are Peanuts Healthy? Everything you need to know

Are Peanuts Healthy?  Everything you need to know

Are Peanuts Healthy?🥜

Yes, peanuts are healthy.  Many people considered them a superfood.  They are an inexpensive protein with fiber and other nutrients.  Peanuts help you feel full (also known has high degree of satiety).

We love peanuts in the United States.  In the U.S., peanuts are the #1 snack nut consumed and account for over 60% of the snack nut market.  Fifty percent of the top ten candy bars contain peanuts or peanut butter.  Yum!

Origin of Peanuts

History tells us that peanuts have been consumed for at least 3,500 years.  Believe it or not, peanuts are not native to the United States.  Peanuts likely came from South America

Before the Civil war, peanuts were used as food for animals and livestock.  Luckily, for all of us, okay most of us, peanuts gained popularity as a snack during the Civil War. 

However, what helped make peanuts a beloved food was an advancement in farm technology.   No discussion around peanuts is complete without mentioning “The Peanut Man” Dr. George Washington Carver.  Carver convinced southern farmers to diversity what they grew by growing peanuts.  Peanuts were an economic godsend to the south!

are peanuts healthy pile of shelled peanuts with one unshelled peanut on top
Peanuts are still an important crop today.  According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts are the seventh most valuable crop in the U.S.

Peanuts are still an important crop today.  According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts are the seventh most valuable crop in the U.S.

Are peanut nuts?

No, peanuts are legumes not nuts.  Since they are an edible seed that forms in a pod, they belong to the family Fabaceae.  Legumes, also called pods, are fruit from the pea family. 

Furthermore, peanuts grow underground, like potatoes.  And nuts grow on trees.

What is the difference between a groundnut and peanut?

Peanuts in the U.S. are sometimes called groundnuts.  This nickname was given to peanuts back in the times when slaves were planting and harvesting them.

Peanuts are not groundnuts.  Botanically, they are different plants even though they are both from the pea family (botanical family Fabaceae). 

Peanut are legumes which means they grown in pods under ground. they are healthy legumes
Peanut are legumes which means they grown in pods underground.

For peanuts, you typically eat the seeds that develop in cylindrical pods, which ripen underground.  While, the groundnut (Apios americana) that produces a sweet edible tuber.  Groundnuts have varying shapes of their pods and peanuts do not.

Are peanuts good or bad for you? AKA are peanuts healthy?

Back to the topic at hand, are peanuts healthy?

Peanuts are healthy and are good for you.  They are only bad for you if you are allergic to them.

Peanuts have many beneficial nutrients and should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. 

First, peanuts provide 7 grams per ounce, which is approximately 15% of your DV.  In addition, the protein level is higher than any other nut according to The Peanut Institute.  The peanut is also high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

Peanut Benefits:

  • Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free.
  • Peanuts pack a punch with protein providing approximately 15% of your protein needs daily (more than 7 g per 1 oz of peanuts).
  • Peanuts contain resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant.  The highest level is found in the skin, so eat the skins.
  • Peanuts are an excellent source of niacin, providing approximately 25% of your daily needs (4 mg per 1 oz)
  • Peanuts are a good source of magnesium, providing 12% of your daily magnesium needs (50 mg per 1 oz)
  • Peanuts have vitamin E, biotin (vitamin B6), copper, zinc and other nutrients.
  • Peanuts contain approximately 80% unsaturated fat, which is considered the “good” fat. This beneficial plant fat can help lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation, which is often a precursor for chronic diseases.
  • Each 1 oz serving of oil-roasted peanuts contains 2.7 g of dietary fiber. Most American do not get enough fiber in their daily diet. 

What happens if you eat a lot of peanuts?

If you eat too many peanuts you may gain weight.  Peanuts are a healthy food, but do contain a lot of calories and fat.  Try to limit how much fat you intake from other foods when consuming a lot of peanuts.

Peanuts are healthy. If you consume too many you may gain weight.
If you eat too many peanuts you may gain weight. Peanuts are a healthy food, but do contain a lot of calories and fat.

I see this question on Quora quite often and it makes me smile.  As long as you are eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and minimizing highly processed food, you should be fine to eat a serving or two of peanuts per day.  A serving is typically 1 ounce.

I eat at least one and probably more than two serving a day.  I did not realized this until I worked on peanuts in school. I actually find that I lose weight when I consume a of peanut products!

What to look for when you are buying or eating peanuts

As mentioned, peanuts are high in fat and calories.  You should watch your intake of other fats on days where you eat lots of peanuts and peanut products. 

When buying peanuts looks for “dry roasted” peanuts.  Most peanuts are roasted in oil.  Dry roasted means the peanuts are roasted without oil. You can also buy raw peanuts and dry roast them yourself.

Avoid peanuts roasted in oils, they may taste delicious but oil roasting adds additional calories and fat.

eat healthy peanut by buying dry roasted peanuts
When buying or eating peanuts, look for “dry roasted” peanuts.

Also, if you are watching sodium levels, buy unsalted peanuts.  Honey roasted peanuts are high in added sugar and salt.  Eat these in moderation as a treat.  In addition, flavored peanuts may have added sugars in the flavor blend.  Check the ingredient statement before buying these.

Celebrate Peanuts on National Peanut Day?🎉

September 13th National Peanut Day celebrates the beloved peanut!

Although the origins of National Peanut Day are unknown, this day is probably my favorite Food Holiday. Well, maybe International Chocolate Day too.  Which is also September 13th!  What a fun coincidence for us all. 

On September 13th, eat your favorite peanut and chocolate treat.  Peanuts and chocolate go together like peas and carrots. 

Final Peanut Thoughts 🥜

Peanuts are healthy and good for you. They are also delicious and nutritious. 

You can eat them as part of a healthy diet.  Make sure you are buying peanuts without added oils. 

Peanuts are versatile so you can eat them as a snack, in salad, in stir-fry, or in noodles.  They can also can be a healthy substitute for animal proteins. The possibilities are limitless.

What is your favorite recipe with peanuts?


References

National Peanut Day.  https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-peanut-day-september-13/.  Retrieved 15 Sept 2020.  

Peanuts: a Brief History – American Peanut Council.  https://www.peanutsusa.com/about-peanuts/the-peanut-industry3/7-peanuts-a-brief-history.html#:~:text=The%20peanut%2C%20while%20grown%20in,Europe%2C%20peanuts%20went%20with%20them. Retrieved 15 Sept 2020.  

The History of Peanuts.  https://www.aboutpeanuts.com/peanut-facts/origin-history-of-peanuts.  Retrieved 15 Sept 2020.  

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