Health Benefits of Peanuts
Surprisingly, peanuts are not actually in the nut family. They are classified as legumes along with foods like green peas, soybeans, and lentils. The peanut plant likely originated in South America in Brazil or Peru. Scientists have found 3,500-year-old pottery in the shape of peanuts, as well as decorated with peanuts, in South America.
Peanuts grow below ground as the fruit of the peanut plant. In the early 1800s, Americans started growing peanuts as a commercial crop. On average, Americans eat more than 6 pounds of peanuts per year. Today, 50% of the peanuts eaten in the United States are consumed in the form of peanut butter.
Many people believe the peanut is not as nutritionally valuable as true nuts like almonds, walnuts, or cashews. But actually, raw peanuts have many of the same health benefits as the more expensive nuts and should not be overlooked as a nutritious food.
Much attention has been paid to walnuts and almonds as “heart-healthy” foods, given their high content of unsaturated fats. But research suggests that peanuts are every bit as good for heart health as more expensive nuts.
Peanuts help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. They can also stop small blood clots from forming and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Foods with a lot of protein can help you feel full with fewer calories. And among nuts, peanuts are second only to almonds when it comes to protein count. Studies have shown that people who include a moderate amount of peanuts in their diet will not gain weight from peanuts. In fact, peanuts could help them lose weight.
Longer Life Span
Eating roasted peanuts might help you live longer too. A large-scale study found that people who regularly ate any kind of nuts (including peanuts) were less likely to die of any cause than were people who rarely ate nuts.
Because the study was observational, it cannot prove that peanuts were exactly what caused the lower death rates, but they are definitely associated with them.