Peanuts can be consumed in many ways and are a popular snack amongst cultures around the globe. They can be eaten right out the shell, crushed to make peanut butter or even sprinkled over a salad for that extra flavour or crunch.
A recent survey conducted by Mintel discovered that 64% of 2000 adults stated they had eaten peanuts in the past 3 months. This was significantly higher than the number of adults who reported that had eaten almonds, cashews, pistachios, or trail mix.
This creates the question, are peanuts actually an important part of a healthy diet? Recent research has stated that an ounce of dry roasted peanuts has 166 calories and 14 grams of fat, which has resulted in both everyday individuals and experts to put them in the category of a “not so healthy” food. However, new studies are now showing that peanuts may actually have been miscategorized.
Peanuts are technically legumes, but have been grouped into the category of nuts as they have a very similar nutritional profile.
Much like other nuts, they’re extremely high in natural protein, which is essential for muscle recovery and functionality. On top of this, they also contain several extremely healthy nutrients. These include a number of antioxidants, iron, magnesium, and fibre.
So what about the fats in peanuts?
We often consider something being “fatty” as bad for us, though this is not necessarily the case. The majority of fats that are found in peanuts are heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
This means they actually help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. A number of studies have found that individuals who eat peanuts, actually enjoy benefits for the heart, rather than damage caused by fat.
As a result, it could be argued that when eaten as part of a balanced diet, unsalted peanuts are actually great for your body and can provide you with numerous health benefits. Unsalted nuts are best consumed when made into a healthy raw peanut butter.