While protein has always been an important part of one’s diet, there has been a definite rise in the promotion of products like protein powders. But you can always eat natural, whole foods to get your daily recommended allowance of protein. What about peanuts—are they great for people looking to add more protein to their diets?
Peanuts are a good source of protein. While they don’t have as much protein as animal products, they make a good snack option if you want to add a little more protein to your diet. But although peanuts have multiple health benefits, there are still downsides to consuming too many of them.
In this article, I’ll explain why peanuts are a healthy source of protein. I’ll also include information about what protein is, what other health benefits peanuts have, and the downsides of eating peanuts. So, keep reading.
What Is Protein?
Protein is an essential nutrient. The body uses protein to repair and sustain all its parts, from hair and nails to muscles which are typically associated with this nutrient. We get protein through our diets.
All food has some protein level, but many types of food, like fruit, don’t contain enough protein for us to survive.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have a balanced diet that includes protein-rich foods.
No matter what diet you follow, be it plant-based, meat-based, or anything in between, there are protein sources available to you to live a healthy life.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
The exact amount of protein a specific person needs will depend on their weight.
However, there’s a rule of thumb you can follow.
You need about 56 grams of protein on average if you’re a man or 46 grams on average if you’re a woman. By “average man and woman,” researchers considered non-athletes who don’t live a particularly active lifestyle spend much of the day sitting or standing still.
What Are Some Protein-Rich Foods?
As I’ve already mentioned, not all foods are equal when it comes to being protein sources.
If you get a balanced diet, you shouldn’t have any problems getting enough protein in general.
However, if you’re interested in knowing what foods can give you more protein, see below for some naturally protein-dense options.
The following are some protein-rich foods you should consider eating:
- Beans and other legumes (However, you’ll need to eat grains as well to get a bean and legume protein fully.)
- Seeds and nuts, including nut and seed butters
How Much Protein Can You Get From Peanuts?
Protein is one of the nutrients that peanuts can provide you.
However, it can be challenging to determine how much protein you can actually get out of a serving of these nuts.
Here is a table you can follow so you can have an idea of how much protein you’re consuming, no matter how big your peanut serving size is.
|Serving size (grams and cups)||Amount of protein|
|¼ cup (37 grams)||9.5 grams|
|½ cup (73 grams)||19 grams|
|1 cup (146 grams)||38 grams|
You can get about 9.5 grams of protein from peanuts when they’re served in ¼ cup (37 grams) or 19 grams when served in ½ cup (73 grams). If you take one cup of peanuts, you can get 38 grams of protein.
While you won’t get all the protein you need from just peanuts, nor should you, they are still an excellent supplemental protein source you can have in your diet.
That way, you can make sure you consistently get enough protein on average.
Peanuts Offer Fats, Vitamins, and Minerals
Other than being a good source of protein, peanuts also have other health benefits that make them a healthy snack when eaten in moderation.
Peanuts are also a good supplemental source of fiber which is essential for a healthy gut and digestive system that is only found in plant products, including nuts and seeds.
Peanuts are also a good source of fats.
Despite what past diet trends may have claimed, fats aren’t unhealthy.
Peanuts contain what is considered a “good fat,” in that it is a higher density fat that can move through your system and potentially even lower cholesterol.
They’re also a source of essential vitamins and minerals you may not think about but that your body needs to survive.
Here are a few examples of these nutrients:
- Vitamin E
- B vitamins
The Downsides of Eating Peanuts
While peanuts are a good snack typically and are healthy in moderation for most people, there are some drawbacks to eating peanuts.
Peanuts Can Trigger Allergies in Some People
Peanut allergies are common and can range from slight irritation to total anaphylactic shock requiring hospitalization and medicine.
If you’re allergic to peanuts, or you notice that you feel unwell in any way after eating them, you should avoid peanuts and peanut products.
Peanuts Can Cause Weight Gain
Peanuts are dense in calories.
Just a handful contains about 170 calories, which means the ratio of the quantity of food and amount of calories isn’t the best.
Eating a handful of peanuts a day should be fine, and you likely won’t have to worry too much if you eat this food in moderation and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
However, if you live a sedentary life and eat too many peanuts, you might notice your weight go up a little.
Peanuts Can Affect Your Body’s Mineral Absorption
Peanuts contain phytates, which can attach to other minerals that your body needs to survive.
When one of these minerals has a phytate attached, your body can’t absorb it as well. In moderation, these phytates shouldn’t cause a problem for your health because the number of minerals you consume will outweigh the number of phytates present in your diet.
But if you always eat too many peanuts, you might start to experience the side effects of having decreased levels of iron, calcium, and more.
That means you might have to start supplementing with these nutrients to keep your body healthy when you otherwise wouldn’t have to.
Peanuts are a good source of protein, and you can include them in your daily diet.
However, they shouldn’t make up a large portion of what you eat because, while peanuts are full of nutrients you need to be healthy, they’re best eaten in moderation.