Peanut Nutrition

Peanuts are a versatile source of nutrition. Considerable research is now underway to provide information on the role peanuts can play in a healthy diet.

Peanuts and peanut butter are among America's most popular foods. American's consume more than 6 pounds of peanuts and peanut products each year.

Peanuts and peanut butter are protein powerhouses providing over 10% of the U.S. recommended daily intake (RDI) per 1 ounce serving of peanuts or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.

Peanuts and peanut butter are less expensive sources of protein than many other foods (such as cheese, bologna and hamburgers). Peanut products are especially popular with vegetarians and people who would like to reduce their consumption of red meat.

Peanuts and peanut butter are good sources of many essential vitamins and minerals.

Peanuts and peanut butter contain fiber, offering about as much as ½ cup of broccoli. Fiber reduces the risk of some types of cancer, helps control blood sugar levels and may help reduce the level of cholesterol in your blood. Fiber also increases your sense of "fullness" which is important when dieting.

Peanuts are a naturally low sodium food.

Peanuts and peanut butter contain mostly unsaturated fat, which has been shown to lower LDL-cholesterol levels in your blood. In fact, recent studies indicate that frequent consumption of peanuts and nuts, as part of a healthy diet, may actually lower the risk of heart attack.

Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free, an added value for health conscious consumers.

Peanuts and peanut butter are a good source of folic acid. Recent studies have shown that when women get sufficient amounts folic acid (a B vitamin) during the earliest weeks of pregnancy, it can prevent 50-80% of neural tube defects.

Peanuts and Essential Vitamins

Vitamins are important nutrients and are essential for life. They are natural, organic substances which the body requires constantly in small amounts in order to maintain good health. Vitamins are needed by the body for nearly every body process, including tissue health and the regulation of hunger. There are 13 vitamins necessary for normal body growth and maintenance. Peanuts and peanut butter contain nearly half of the 13 essential vitamins!

Vitamin% RDI In Peanut Products*Uses in the Body
Vitamin E 25% Vital antioxidant which protects Vitamin A and the body's cells and tissues from damage. It is important for the immune system and may aid in the prevention of tumor growth.
Niacin 19% Necessary in more than 50 of the body processes, niacin is primarily important in the release of energy from the food that we eat and maintenance of healthy skin, the nervous system and the digestive tract.
Folate 10% Important for development of new cells in the body, particularly during periods of growth and during pregnancy.
Thiamin (B1) 8% Needed to ensure normal functioning of the nervous system, appetite and digestion.
B6 4% Produces and breaks down proteins in the body and manufacturers red blood cells used to transport oxygen in the body.
Riboflavin (B2) 2% Releases energy from the food we eat, helps skin stay healthy and assists in the normal functioning of the eye.

*based on 1 ounce serving dry roasted peanuts

Peanuts and Essential Vitamins

Minerals are essential for life, just like vitamins. Minerals are natural, organic substances which the body requires in order to remain healthy. They are essential nutrients for growth, maintenance and repair of tissues. There are 20 essential minerals necessary for normal body growth and maintenance. Peanuts and peanut butter contain 35 percent of the essential minerals!

Mineral% RDI In Peanut Products*Uses in the Body
Magnesium 12% Important in the building of bones and teeth, creation of protein, transmission of nerve impulses and maintenance of body temperature.
Copper 10% Important for the formation of hemoglobin, health of bones, blood vessels and nerves.
Phosphorous 10% Component of all soft tissues that is fundamental to growth, maintenance and repair of bones and teeth.
Potassium 10% Needed to ensure water balance in the body and in the creation of protein. It also helps release energy from nutrients and aids in nerve impulse transmission.
Zinc 6% Aids in the formation of protein, wound healing, blood formation, taste perception, appetite, night vision and general growth and maintenance of all tissues.
Iron 4% Aids in the transport and distribution of oxygen in the body's cells.
Calcium 2% Needed for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.

*based on 1 ounce serving dry roasted peanuts

Peanuts and Peanut Butter Contain Mostly Unsaturated Fat

Peanuts and peanut butter, like most foods, contain fat. Fortunately, nearly 80% of the fat in peanuts and peanut butter is unsaturated fat—the good fat —which may actually help lower LDL-cholesterol levels in your blood. In fact, because peanuts and peanut butter are so versatile, good tasting and nutritious, they are included in many medically endorsed weight loss and diabetic diets.

Fat, the most concentrated source of energy in your diet, is a vital nutrient. It provides essential fatty acids, carries fat soluble vitamins such as A, D and E and helps maintain healthy skin. There are two main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fat is the culprit that can raise the cholesterol level in your blood. This type of fat is found mainly in animal foods such as meats and whole milk and cheeses. The American Health Association recommends that saturated fat intake would be less than 10% of the total daily intake of calories. Peanuts and peanut butter contain about 2.5 grams of saturated fat per 1 ounce serving.

Unsaturated fat, found in plant foods, is the type of fat that, when used to replace saturated fat in the diet, can help lower LDL-cholesterol levels (the bad type of cholesterol). Peanuts contain both monounsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat. Nearly 80% of the fat contained in peanuts and peanut butter is unsaturated.

Peanuts actually have less total fat than most other nuts, and peanut butter has about the same as many other lunch foods. Below is a comparison of how peanuts and peanut butter compare to other popular foods.

Food (serving size)Saturated FatTotal Fat
Peanuts (1 ounce) 2.0 g 14 g
Peanut Butter (2 TBS) 2.5 g 14 g
Potato Chips (1 ounce) 3.0 g 10 g
Egg Salad (3 ounces) 4.0 g 19 g
American Cheese (1 ounce) 5.6 g 9 g
Hamburger (3.5 ounces) 7.0 g 17 g

Source: American Peanut Council.