Peanuts offer more than good nutrition

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

By Dell Cotton

Those of us who live in this area tend to take eating peanuts for granted.

We have naturally incorporated peanuts and peanut butter into our diets because peanuts are a part of our local culture. We know they are good for us.

If you ask the average person how peanuts or peanut butter are good for one’s body, the typical response would involve protein. This certainly holds true — peanuts are protein powerhouses providing 16 percent of the RDI level of protein (one ounce of peanuts).

That is huge for anyone, but particularly for those who for whatever reason don’t eat as much or as healthy as they should.

There is much more to this story, however, than protein.

About 10 years or more ago, the national peanut shelling industry steered some funds toward peanut nutrition research. They created The Peanut Institute, which encourages and funds nutrition research on peanuts and peanut butter. Since that time, other industry segments have joined the funding with annual contributions.

The National Peanut Board also funds nutrition research. The result of this ongoing effort is a tremendous amount of knowledge about peanut nutrition that we really did not have before.

While this list is certainly not complete with everything we know, here are some more nutrition facts about peanuts and peanut butter:

– Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free.

– Peanuts are a good source of foliate, the natural source of the B vitamin folic acid.

– One ounce of peanuts contains nearly half of the 13 vitamins necessary for the body’s growth and maintenance and more than one third of the 20 minerals needed.

– One ounce of peanuts contains approximately 73 micrograms of resveratrol, a naturally occurring phytochemical associated with reduced cardiovascular disease.

– Of the fat found in peanuts, about 81 percent is unsaturated, or the “good fat” which can help lower cholesterol levels.

– Each one-ounce serving of peanuts contains 2.4 grams of dietary fiber.

– Research has shown that the protein and fiber in peanuts are satiating, or filling, and may help moderate appetites, which fits right in with weight-loss diets.

– One ounce of peanuts supplies 29 percent of the RDI level of Vitamin E.

– Peanuts have more protein than any other nut, and more antioxidants than broccoli, carrots, or green tea.

– Due to their low score on the glycemic index scale, peanuts and peanut butter are excellent additions to a diet to reduce the risk of and to cope with type 2 diabetes.

So now you know that there is much more to that peanut you eat besides the fact that it tastes good.

For more information about peanuts and nutrition, visit, or The National Peanut Board’s dedicated site at