Peanuts: An Easy and Affordable Superfood

For years we’ve heard about the health benefits of tree nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and cashews.  Now there is beneficial health news for peanut lovers everywhere.  Peanuts are healthy nuts that cut health risks and are considered a superfood.

As a superfood, peanuts are a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.

Benefits of peanuts for your health

A recent study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology analyzed more than 120,000 men and women in the Netherlands over 30 years, and discovered that eating 15 grams of nuts, including peanuts, reduced the risk of death from respiratory and neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer. Participants were between the ages of 55 and 59, and consumed a handful of nuts daily.

The researchers from Maastricht University found that in order to reap the health benefits though, tree nuts and peanuts (which are actually a legume because they grow in pods), must be eaten raw, unsalted, unseasoned and without any added oils.

Is Peanut butter a superfood too?

Unfortunately your peanut butter sandwich won’t be much of a health boost. The health benefits found by eating raw peanuts were not found to be present when eating peanut butter.

Your heart is nuts for antioxidants found in peanuts

A recent study conducted on the health benefits of nuts found that nuts lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of both blood clots and heart arrhythmia, mainly due to their high antioxidant content.

In the spring of 2015, JAMA Internal Medicine published a report on how eating peanuts can reduce the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and other diseases by a fifth.

How to get the best superfood benefits from peanuts

saludmovil’s Dr. Joseph Mosquera, one of the the nation’s leading Integrative Medicine specialists and multicultural contributor to Univision, Telemundo, as well as CNN and  NBC’s the “Today Show,” believes that many so-called superfoods are good for your heart and your overall health when integrated into a heart-healthy diet.

Such diet should be balanced in lean protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, along with nuts, seeds and legumes, fish and liquid vegetable oils.

The NIH notes that superfoods are a component of the Balanced Choices program and will highlight foods that promote health benefits above and beyond the basic nutrients.

Tips for making peanuts part of a healthy eating plan:

  • Limit consumption to no more than 10 to 15 grams a day, which is equal to a small handful. Eating too many nuts can lead to a high intake of fat and calories.
  • Consider a handful of peanuts when feeling hungry between meals. They are packed with protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids and will help keep your appetite under control.
  • Choose raw nuts. As mentioned, nuts with added oil, salt or sugar do not offer the same health benefits.
  • Be aware of the calorie count. See list below:
100 Grams       ( 1 & ½ cups) Calories Protein Fat Carbohydrate
Chestnuts 213 4% 10% 4%
Cashews 553 12% 67% 12%
Pistachios 557 15% 72% 15%
Peanuts 567 18% 76% 18%
Almonds 575 15% 78% 15%
Hazelnuts 628 9% 86% 9%
Walnuts 654 9% 87% 9%
Brazil nuts 656 8% 89% 8%
Pine nuts 673 8% 87% 8%
Pecans 691 5% 93% 5%
Macadamia 718 4% 93% 4%

You can find all this data on the National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, a great source for nutrition information.

Here in the U.S., peanuts are the most affordable and widely consumed of all nuts, and now that they have been given “superfood status.” It’s easy to integrate peanuts into a healthy lifestyle- at a low cost!