Are Peanuts Good For You?

Are Peanuts good for you? The health benefits of peanuts is a bit more complex than some other food items, but we studied the topic and looked through the literature to discover the answer to that question, and what we found might surprise you. Like, well, they’re not even nuts as it turns out!

What Are Peanuts?

Despite popular belief, peanuts are not nuts, although the confusion is understandable given their misleading name. Believe it or not, peanuts are actually a part of the legume family, which is the same family that also plays host to chickpeas. Legumes are plants that grow seeds inside pods, as opposed to nuts which grow on trees. In fact, peanuts grow underground before flowering and making their way to the surface.

Peanuts are among the most widely grown and consumed foods in the world and is most often found naturally in the tropics and subtropics. They are members of the kingdom of Plantae, the order of Fabales and the family of Fabaceae.

Are Peanuts Good For You?

Peanuts can be prepared and consumed in many different ways, however at its figurative core peanuts are full of antioxidants and protein. Antioxidants help defend your body from free radicals, while the protein helps your body in building up and repairing torn tissues after exercise. However, peanuts are high in fat, but that does not mean they can’t assist you in weight loss if that’s your goal, as studies have shown it may actually be a productive tool for weight management in adolescents [1], as well as weight loss in adults. [2]

While high in protein, antioxidants and fat, peanuts are also high in fiber and low in carbohydrates, which is good if you have diabetes because it helps helps regulate the speed at which you’re consuming carbs into your body. From a broader perspective, peanuts are good for you because they are also great sources of various vitamins, such as Biotin, Vitamin E and Magnesium, making it a great utility food that hits many important areas your body needs.

If there is one major caveat, however, about the health benefits of peanuts, it’s that peanut allergies are quite common, so you will want to make sure with your doctor that such allergies are not a concern for you before consuming any significant amount of peanuts.

Which Peanuts Should You Get?

Peanuts are a marvelous and useful food item that can be roasted, used for their oil, boiled, dry-roasted or even turned into a popular spread like peanut butter. With so many different ways to consume peanuts on the market, and with so many unhealthy choices masquerading as healthy peanuts, it becomes critical to make sure you do your research before eating them. To help you out, we’ve put together a pair of our favorite healthy peanut items to get you started in your hunt.

A Healthy Choice of Peanuts
While it might be tempting to just grab any bag of peanuts you see at the grocery, most are drenched with salt and other not-so-great additives. That’s why I really like Feridies Unsalted Virginia Peanuts. Packed into a 40 oz can, these peanuts contain no salt, are cooked in peanut oil itself to maintain its flavor and contains no cholesterol, trans fats, sugar, sodium or lactose. They are also verified by the Non-GMO project and can last up to a year on the shelf.

If you’re not familiar with what Virginia peanuts are, they are a style of gourmet peanuts grown mostly in south Virginia and North Carolina, and contain large kernels and a distinctive taste that peanut connoisseurs have come to love and appreciate. It’s great, too, that these happen to be a great source of peanuts that are good for you.

Cook Your Own Raw Peanuts
One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting high-quality peanuts that aren’t diluted by additives is to get them raw, and cook them yourself. For that purpose, I really like Royal Oak Raw in-Shell Peanuts which come in a pack of three 2.5 pound bags. With these, you can easily roast or boil your own to make a tasty cost-effective snack (easy directions here).

Like the previous gourmet peanuts, these, too, are Virginia peanuts so you can expect large kernels and that uniquely delicious Virginia peanut taste. The peanuts come direct from the farm and it’s recommended you store them in a cool, dry location. It’s also recommended that if you are going to cook your own, that you boil them, as boiled peanuts are leaner and release more antioxidants than their roasted brethren.[3] Boiled peanuts are also less likely to induce peanut allergies.[4]

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