Delicious, crunchy, and nutty peanuts are one of the popular oil seeds known to humankind since ancient times. The nuts are enriched with many noteworthy health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health.
Peanuts are rich in nutrients, providing over 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients. Peanuts are a good source of niacin, folate, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and phosphorus. They also are naturally free of trans-fats and sodium, and contain about 25% protein (a higher proportion than in any true nut).
Peanuts are a good source of niacin, and thus contribute to brain health and blood flow. As a cholesterol treatment, niacin has strong evidence. Several studies have shown that it can boost levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides as well or better than some prescription drugs. Niacin also modestly lowers bad LDL cholesterol.
Recent research on peanuts has found antioxidants and other chemicals that may provide health benefits. Peanuts are far richer in antioxidants than carrots or beets. Research published in the journal Food Chemistry shows that peanuts contain high concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols, primarily a compound called p-coumaric acid, and that roasting can increase peanuts' p-coumaric acid levels, boosting their overall antioxidant content by as much as 22%.
Peanuts are a significant source of resveratrol, a chemical associated with but not proven to cause a reduction in risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
The average amount of resveratrol in one ounce of commonly eaten peanuts (15 whole peanut kernels) is 73 μg.
They are a powerhouse of good nutrition that can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease. They've also been shown to play an important role in helping to lower "bad" cholesterol levels and raise "good" cholesterol levels. In addition, they can help dilate blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.