Health benefits of peanuts
Eating peanuts has three main health benefits:
supporting heart health
maintaining a healthy weight
managing blood sugar
The following sections discuss these benefits and the science behind them.
1. Supporting heart health
Peanuts contain more healthful monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats than they do saturated fats. This fat ratio makes peanuts better for the heart than fat sources with a higher proportion of saturated fats.
A 2014 studyTrusted Source found that eating 46 g of peanuts or peanut butter each day may improve heart health for people with diabetes.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight
Because peanuts are full of healthful fats, protein, and fiber, they make a satisfying snack. Eating them in moderation may help a person maintain a healthy weight.
ResearchTrusted Source found that women who ate nuts, including peanuts, twice a week had a slightly lower risk of weight gain and obesity over 8 years than those who rarely ate nuts.
A large-scale study found that eating peanuts and other nuts may reduce a person’s risk of obesity over 5 years.
3. Managing blood sugar levels
Peanuts are an excellent food for people with diabetes or a risk of diabetes. Peanuts have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning they do not cause big spikes in blood sugar levels.
Nutritionists see foods with a GI of 55 or lower as low-GI foods, and those with a GI of more than 70 are high-GI foods. Peanuts have a GI score of 23, making them a low-GI food. Learn more about the GI scale here.
Peanuts help control blood sugar levels because they are relatively low in carbohydrates but high in protein, fat, and fiber. Fiber slows down the digestive processes, allowing a steadier release of energy, and protein takes longer to break down than simple carbohydrates.
Research suggests that eating peanut butter or peanuts may help women with obesity and a higher type 2 diabetes risk to manage their blood sugar levels.
Risks and considerations
Peanuts contain proteins called arachin and conarachin. Some people are severely allergic to these proteins. For these people, peanuts can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Because peanuts are high in calories, it is sensible to eat them in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Consuming too many calories may lead to weight gain. This is true regardless of whether the foods those calories come from are nutritious or not.
Roasted, salted peanuts may be less healthful than raw peanuts due to their high sodium content. That said, if people consume them in moderation, they can enjoy them as a part of a healthful, balanced diet.
Peanuts are a nutrient-rich source of protein, dietary fiber, and healthful fats. Eating them in moderation, as part of a balanced diet, may:
support heart health
help a person maintain a healthy weight
help a person manage their blood sugar levels
Peanuts are a good option for people with diabetes for these reasons. They are also a good snack option for those looking to reduce carbohydrates and increase healthful fat intake.
For their optimal health benefits, choose raw peanuts with the skin on. Raw peanuts with their skin on are high in cell-defending antioxidants.
Roasted, salted peanuts are high in sodium, which health professionals link to heart disease. That said, eating roasted, salted peanuts as part of a balanced diet is okay.
As with most foods, the key to enjoying peanuts is eating them in moderation as part of a healthful, calorie-controlled diet.
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