The Power of a Pea-"Nut"
Did you know that peanuts actually aren’t nuts?
Technically, they are legumes, but they are often lumped together with true nuts. Boasting the highest protein content of any nut, peanuts are plentiful in healthy oils, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Since the proteins in peanuts is plant based, it carries with it additional components that have positive health benefits like fiber and unique bioactive components, unlike animal protein.
Harvard University researchers have found that women at high risk of heart disease who ate nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter five or more days a week appeared to nearly halve their risk of suffering a heart attack compared to women who ate a serving or less per week (Li et al. #). PB&J to the rescue!
Three other health benefits of peanuts:
- Supports heart health
- Helps maintain a healthy weight
- Helps managing blood sugar levels
Peanuts are a good source of the following vitamins & minerals:
- B group vitamins
- Vitamin E
- Antioxidant minerals (selenium, manganese and copper)
- Antioxidant compounds (such as flavonoids and resveratrol)
The components in peanuts are highly digestible. The true protein digestibility of peanuts is comparable with that of animal protein (Arya et al. #). Protein quality is defined based on the amino acid pattern and percent of digestibility of proteins.
Nuts & obesity
Considerable evidence shows that incorporating peanut and peanut butter into the diet does not lead to weight gain or higher body weight (Arya et al. #). Yes, nuts are high in calories, but through a combination of dietary compensation mechanisms, your body’s failure to absorb some of the fats, and increased fat-burning metabolism, nuts can be a lifeline without expanding your waistline.
Which types of peanuts are most healthful?
Raw peanuts are the most healthful variety. Peanut butter is a great choice, offering a healthy nutritional profile and a range of health benefits. Where possible, choose raw peanuts with the skin attached. Peanut skins contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect the body’s cells from damage from free radicals.