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The Nutrition of Peanuts

Peanuts  are one of the most popular kinds of nuts that are consumed in America today, and they can be used in a variety of different ways. Although sometimes they can get blamed for promoting weight gain thanks to their high fat content, they contain a host of nutritional benefits that can be a great asset to your health.

It is always better to choose nuts that have not gone through processes, such as roasting, frying or salting, as this can destroy many of their nutrients as well as raise the fat and sodium content. Peanut butter can also be loaded with sugar, so it is important to read the label of the product before buying. There are some brands of peanut butter that are sugar- and salt-free, which retain a lot more of the nut's nutritional value.  

Heart-Healthy Fat

Peanuts are a good source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats have been shown to help the cardiovascular system, lower cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. When the nuts are roasted and salted however, it reduces this amount and increases the level of unhealthy saturated fat. A 1-oz. serving of unprocessed peanuts contains just 2 g of saturated and 11.4 g of unsaturated fats.  

Protein

Peanuts are one of the best nut sources of protein. Protein is essential for almost every part of the human body, and is especially important for growing children. Foods that have a high protein content have also been shown to make you feel fuller longer. Therefore, they are less likely to make you want to snack between meals. A single serving of untreated peanuts contains around 7.3 g of protein, which is around 15 percent of the recommended daily amount for adults.

B-Vitamins

While peanuts aren't a particularly great source of most vitamins, they are a good source of B-vitamins. These are used for a number of vital processes throughout the body, including helping to reduce blood pressure, regulating production of serotonin in the brain and fortifying the central nervous system. Vitamin B9, otherwise known as folic acid, is recommended for pregnant mothers to help with child development.

Fiber

Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system and peanuts are a great way to boost your intake. It is recommended that adults consume around 30 g of fiber per day, and a small handful of peanuts will provide around 10 percent of this.

Like protein, fiber can also give a feeling of satiety--a full feeling that can reduce snacking urges and help regulate eating patterns.  As a healthy snack, try munching on a few slices of apples dipped in sugar-free peanut butter.

Phytochemicals

These are compounds that are only found in plant-based foods, and can have great nutritional benefits. They are thought to help reduce the onset of diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, as well as help to slow the aging process. Peanuts contain 72 mcg of the phytochemical resveratrol in every handful.

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