There are many reasons to enjoy peanuts and peanut-based products such as peanut butter and extra virgin peanut oil, but one main effect of eating peanuts is that they can help you live longer.
Yes, you read that right. Favorite American Nuts is one of the most nutritious foods you can enjoy and which can add years to your life.
Peanuts contain healthy fats, proteins, fiber and more than 25 essential nutrients from B vitamins and essential amino acids to minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. They also provide a wide variety of bioactive compounds that studies have shown help with heart health and other benefits.
Peanuts are a real superfood: an ounce of peanuts (roughly a handful) provides 7 grams of high-quality plant protein to your diet. Because peanut protein is of plant origin, it carries with it additional components that promote positive health benefits such as fiber, antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients. Research shows that several phytonutrients increase when peanuts are cooked or roasted, making it even healthier.
Peanut fats are primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, and both are known to help reduce the risk of heart disease. Health authorities, including the American Heart Association, recommend eating unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats found in foods such as butter, whole milk products, and fatty meats.
Peanuts are especially saturated and can help control weight, thanks to their number of fiber and protein. A dynamic duo of protein and fiber helps slow digestion to reduce hunger and increase satiety of your meals and snacks.
Studies show that high-quality proteins help regulate hunger hormones, and fiber enhances satiety and helps individuals maintain a healthy body weight. This is probably why those who frequently eat peanuts and other nuts are less likely to be overweight or obese, compared to people who do not report eating peanuts or nuts often.
One study published in PIT reported that peanuts can help you live longer and healthier lives. The researchers found that study participants who said they enjoyed peanuts and other nuts were significantly less likely to die from any cause – especially heart disease – during the study period. One of the main advantages of peanuts listed was their affordability compared to nuts. Several other large studies with thousands of participants also concluded that peanuts, as part of a healthy plant-based diet, can help you add more years to your life.
Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD
Julie Upton is an award-winning registered dietitian and communications specialist who has written thousands of articles for national media, including The New York Times, US News & World Report and USA Today. Read more