Health Benefits Of Peanuts

What are peanuts

According to the Peanut Institute, peanuts can be classed as both:

  • A legume as they are nutritionally akin to peas and beans
  • A nut as they are eaten alone and in dishes similar to other nuts1 

Peanuts are packed with plant power, containing many beneficial vitamins and essential dietary components, making them ideal for a healthy snack or dish ingredient.  There are several common ways to include peanuts into your diet according to your tastes and preferences.  However, some peanut products will be healthier than others, and if you have a health goal in mind, it's best to stick to the unprocessed varieties.2  

It's also ideal to eat them in moderation - that way, they can confer some specific health benefits, including improving heart health, food metabolism, and the health of our body’s cells.  To get all these benefits peanuts offer, the Peanut Institute suggests a serving of about 2-3 tablespoons or 1 handful per day to also avoid over-consuming the nut.2 

However, peanuts are not ideal for everyone: some may find it better to avoid them for health reasons because of their high caloric content.  Many will also find it essential to avoid them if they have a peanut allergy.3,4  

Health benefits of peanuts

Weight loss

While peanuts contain a substantial amount of calories, considered by some to be counterintuitive to weight loss, they also contain beneficial dietary components, including:

  • Healthy (unsaturated) fat
  • Protein 
  • Dietary fibre2

With their contents of healthy fats, protein, and fibre, peanuts can help you feel fuller for longer: curbing the need to eat large portions and cravings for unhealthier, salty and sugary snacks.3

They are also a good substitute in the place of meat protein if you are following a vegan or vegetarian diet or are looking to cut down on your consumption of animal products.5 

Depending on how you are planning to lose weight, for example, by following a calorie deficit diet (eating less than the recommended daily amount of calories for your height, weight, and activity level), you should check and stick to eating the amount of calories contained in peanuts ideal for your weight loss plan.3

However, you should keep in mind that calories are not inherently bad - in fact, they are essential to give your body energy to perform throughout the day.  So when eaten in the right amount, an energy-dense snack like peanuts is ideal.3

Heart health 

Keeping your heart and vascular system healthy is essential, and eating a recommended portion of peanuts can help with this. Swapping out your daily snack of a portion of crisps or biscuits for a portion of nuts means you can cut down on foods that are high in unhealthy (saturated) fat, sugar, and salt.  Consuming these things in excess amounts is highly associated with developing health problems such as high blood sugar and high cholesterol, which are detrimental to heart health.3

Luckily, evidence shows that the relative amount of healthy alternative nutrients contained inside the small nut can aid in:

  • Lowering your blood sugar levels3
  • Reducing your chance of developing type 2 diabetes6
  • Reducing your chance of developing cardiovascular disease3
  • Lowering your blood cholesterol levels6

Cellular health 

Nutrients in food not only have tangible results for your health on the macro (large scale) level of the organs and tissues but are also important for the body to perform the micro (small scale) level functions on the cellular level needed to keep you healthy.7

Peanuts contain biological compounds, including biotin and antioxidants, which do just that.7

Some functions they perform include:

  • Regulating the body’s essential processes, e.g., producing new healthy cells  
  • Protecting cells against disease, e.g., nerve and brain cells against neurological conditions
  • Protecting cells against damage, e.g., antioxidants performing an anti-cancer effect7 

Preventing gallstones 

Gallstones are tiny masses produced by the gallbladder - seen particularly in the aged and overweight demographic.  They are also seen regularly in people on diets that are largely calorific and consist of lots of processed foods.7 

Though the reason is unknown, one study showed that consuming the daily recommended amount of peanuts can cut the risk of developing gallstones by a quarter.7

Nutritional facts

Vitamins & minerals 

You’ll find that peanuts contain many of the essential vitamins and minerals needed in our diet.  

These include: 

  • B Vitamins -
    • Vitamin B3 (niacin) - needed for efficient food metabolism and the healthy functioning of skin and nerve cells 8 
    • Vitamin B7 (biotin) - This is needed for the functioning of essential biological enzymes within your body and protecting against some nerve and metabolic conditions.7 
    • Vitamin B9 (folate) - This is needed for generating new cells, especially in pregnancy and childhood when the foetus/child is quickly growing.8
  • Vitamin E - for helping to protect cells against disease-causing damage.8 
  • Copper - for supporting proper heart and neurological functioning7
  • Magnesium - for aiding all of the body’s muscle movements8 
  • Manganese - for helping the gut extract and store macronutrients (such as protein and carbohydrates) from food in the gut for energy use8 
  • Phosphorus - for maintaining strong teeth, bones, and muscles8 


Peanuts are also dense in many of the macronutrients we use for energy and essential processes our body performs to keep us healthy.  

These include:

  • Fats - peanuts contain mostly (80%) unsaturated fat, which is good for keeping the heart healthy7 
  • Protein - a plant alternative source good for your musculoskeletal health and energy levels (7g in a large handful of peanuts)7
  • Carbohydrates - one-third of the carb content in peanuts is made up of fibre (useful for digestive health)7

Uses of peanuts

Peanuts can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways: as a snack or as part of a meal. 

The healthiest way to include peanuts into your diet is to eat them in their raw, unflavoured form, as they will have less salt and additives compared to other flavoured peanuts found in the supermarket.9 

Raw peanuts can also be roasted and added to healthy dishes such as salads and stir-fries to give them more flavour.9 

Peanuts can be found in a variety of food products that can be used as an ingredient in some dishes.  These include:

  • Peanut flour - ideal for baking gluten-free foods (e.g., bread or cakes) and adding to protein shakes due to their protein-dense content.10 
  • Peanut oil - ideal for frying foods to give them an extra nutty flavour while providing all the same nutritional content as the raw peanut.11 
  • Peanut butter - typically used in sandwiches as a protein alternative to meat and desserts for a healthier dose of fat.12 

Side effects and other concerns

While peanuts offer a lot of nutrition and health benefits to the human body, there are some things to be aware of if you want to routinely add them to your diet. 

Firstly, it is essential to avoid peanuts (including all “contains” and “may contain” peanut products) if you have a peanut allergy.4 

Signs of a peanut allergy will show up after peanut exposure (either by eating one or by being exposed to peanut dust in a confined environment). Sometimes, the reaction can be mild (even these are important to take note of to prevent more serious reactions to peanuts in the future).  Other times, a reaction to peanuts can be life-threatening.4

Symptoms of a peanut allergy include: 

  • Inflamed and itchy skin 
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth and throat
  • Gastrointestinal upset 
  • Laboured breathing 
  • Streaming eyes or nose4 

A life-threatening reaction to peanuts is called anaphylaxis.  Signs of anaphylaxis include:

  • Inflammation/redness around the mouth or other areas of skin contact 
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, and throat 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Rapid drop in blood pressure (anaphylactic shock)
  • Dizziness
  • Collapse4

Anaphylaxis can be deadly, so it is essential to seek emergency medical attention by phoning an ambulance or attending A&E if you or your child are finding it hard to breathe or remain conscious.4

The most common tool against a peanut allergy (other than avoiding peanuts) is an injection of the drug epinephrine, which can be carried around with you in the case of anaphylaxis.  The autoinjector device (usually an EpiPen) should be injected into the thigh for quick, life-saving action against peanut exposure.  In order for autoinjectors to be effective in an emergency, you must make sure that:

  • They are in date.
  • You have a backup autoinjector. 
  • You and others around you know how to use it properly 
  • It is on your person at all times.4

A second consideration to make before routinely adding peanuts to your diet is important for everyone: eating them in moderation.  This is particularly important for people with existing weight and diet-related health conditions like heart disease and diabetes, as consuming more peanuts than what is recommended on a daily basis can mean ingesting excess saturated (unhealthy) fat and calories.  This can exacerbate or worsen an existing health condition rather than help it and can cause you to gain weight rather than lose it if you are not careful.2


While a small nut, peanuts contain so much beneficial nutrition for our bodies, which require essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients every day to keep us healthy and functioning as normal.  Peanuts can be a great addition to your diet no matter what health goal you have in mind, whether you’re looking to lose weight or just to try a new, healthier snack option that will improve your overall health. In the long run, your heart and the rest of your body will thank you for opting to eat more snacks filled with healthy fats and protein rather than sticking to meats, carbs, and other sweet treats all the time. To get the best nutrition out of peanuts, eat them in moderation and choose the less processed varieties.  To find the ideal way to incorporate them into your diet, have fun experimenting with different sweet and savoury recipes. Importantly, avoid them if you have a peanut allergy and, ultimately, look after your health with a nutritionally balanced diet that is suitable for you.


  1. All about peanuts | peanut facts [Internet]. The Peanut Institute. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  2. Eat Peanuts Daily: One Small Change, Many Health Benefits. The Peanut Institute [Internet]. 12(3):1–4. Available from: 
  3. Peanuts present a nutty solution for weight loss [Internet]. Home. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  4. Peanut allergy - Symptoms and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  5. Peanut nutrition facts & health benefits [Internet]. The Peanut Institute. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  6. Institute P. 6 ways peanuts are great for your heart [Internet]. The Peanut Institute. 2022 [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  7. 6 benefits of peanuts that will change the way you snack [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  8. What is the benefit of eating peanuts every day? | National Peanut Board [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  9. Ask the expert: Are peanuts good for you? [Internet]. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  10. Peanut flour, peanut powder & peanut butter powder [Internet]. The Peanut Institute. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  11. Peanut oil - benefits, types & uses [Internet]. The Peanut Institute. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from: 
  12. Peanut butter benefits -: peanut butter health facts [Internet]. The Peanut Institute. [cited 2023 Mar 23]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Amy Murtagh

BSc Veterinary Bioscience - Bachelors of Science, University of Glasgow

Amy is a recent graduate from Glasgow's School of Biodiversity, One Health and Veterinary Medicine with a particular interest in science communication in these subject areas. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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