Glass jar with peanut butter on wooden background, close-up.

For many of us, peanuts and peanut butter are a delicious part of our regular diet, as they pack an energetic punch of protein and healthy fats. But did you know that peanuts are actually a superfood? It turns out that peanuts are great in many ways for our health and even our mental health.

Peanuts are good for the brain in numerous ways. They’re a great source of vitamin E, niacin, antioxidants, resveratrol, and more, with benefits to blood circulation, improved thinking and memory, reduced risk for heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and dementia, and reduced anxiety and depression.

You may be surprised to find out all the ways your tasty legumes have been helping you out without you knowing. If you’re someone who doesn’t find a lot of peanuts in their diet, then perhaps these fascinating facts I discovered about them will persuade you to eat them more regularly. Keep reading to learn all the ways peanuts are good for your brain and overall health.

Peanuts Improve Brain Function

A study by Li & Zhi (2019) observed individuals who ate a regular diet that included nuts (80% of which were peanuts). People who ate more than 10 grams of nuts per day showed better mental faculties than those that didn’t, displaying better thinking, reasoning, and memory.

One way peanuts may make this possible is by increasing cerebral blood flow.

Better Blood Flow to the Brain

Consuming peanuts has been shown to be associated with an improved supply of oxygenated blood to the brain.

In a study by Barbour et al. (2016), a diet including peanuts was correlated with improved blood flow functionality in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) and enhanced small artery elasticity.

This study also found enhanced cognitive measures following peanut consumption, including short-term memory, verbal fluency, and processing speed.


Peanuts are high in micronutrients called polyphenols, which are known to promote healthy blood vessels, blood pressure, and circulation.

In a 2021 study conducted on 65 young adults, the intake of polyphenols from peanuts was associated with enhanced memory function, lower anxiety, and lower depression. 

Peanuts May Help Prevent Cognitive Decline

Peanuts are great for older individuals too. Certain compounds found in peanuts may protect your brain from some hazards of aging.


Resveratrol is a compound that can be found in peanuts, grapes, berries, and wines, and it’s thought to be able to offset the issues resulting from ATP and O2 consumption.

Mitochondrial Biogenesis

The cells in our body require adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an organic compound that provides cellular energy. Mitochondria are organelles in animal cells that produce ATP for the cell.

Our brain cells consume a substantial amount of ATP, so mitochondria in the brain are especially active. As a result, brain cells are particularly vulnerable to mitochondrial dysfunction.

Resveratrol is known to trigger mitochondrial biogenesis, the production of mitochondria in cells. Put simply, as brain mitochondria tire out and break down from exceptionally heavy activity, resveratrol from peanuts in your diet can lead to increased production of new mitochondria ready to step in and help.

sheeled peanuts in a bowl on the table

Antioxidant Properties

Living cells also consume oxygen (O2). In the process of O2 consumption, mitochondria release unstable atoms known as free radicals. These are atoms containing an unpaired electron.

Free radicals are necessary for the body in many ways, but they’re also highly reactive and can damage cells.

Brain cells consume a proportionally high level of O2, leading to excessive amounts of free radical production. This puts the brain at greater risk of adverse effects caused by free radicals, such as inflammation and degeneration, which can ultimately lead to dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other degenerative diseases.

Studies have shown resveratrol to have antioxidative properties. Antioxidants are compounds with an extra electron that can be given up, neutralizing free radicals in the process.

In essence, a healthy diet high in antioxidants from resveratrol in peanuts and other sources can protect your brain from free radicals produced by O2 consumption.

Niacin and Vitamin E

Adding to the defensive line against cognitive decline, peanuts are also a great source of niacin and vitamin E. These compounds defend the brain from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other risk factors to the aging brain.

Indirect Benefits to the Brain From Peanuts

Not only are peanuts good for your brain, but they also offer significant benefits to the body in other ways as well, which, in turn, can further improve brain health indirectly.

Heart Disease

Peanuts are a great source of unsaturated fats, and consuming a good amount of these healthy fats can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to Harvard University, heart disease is inversely correlated with the regular consumption of peanuts. At the same time, new data shows cardiovascular disease may be closely associated with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

So, we can conclude from this that by improving your heart health, peanuts in your diet can also indirectly lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.

What Is a Healthy Amount of Dietary Peanuts?

A healthy recommended amount of dietary peanuts is 1 ounce (28.35 grams) to get the fabulous rewards they have to offer. That is just about a handful, so have some available and scoop them up once a day on a break or on your way out the door.

The Peanut Institute has a great article with more dietary and nutritional information on including peanuts in your regular diet.


Peanuts are a great source of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats, and they offer many other brain-healthy compounds, including:

  • Polyphenols
  • Resveratrol
  • Antioxidants
  • Vitamin E
  • Niacin

Peanuts in our diet have been associated with enhancements to:

  • Blood flow and circulation
  • Thinking, memory, and mood

And reductions in:

  • Inflammation
  • Risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other degenerative diseases
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Anxiety and depression

It turns out peanuts are quite the superfood, which is great news if you’re already a fan. All these things considered, it would be wise to include a healthy amount of peanuts in your regular diet.

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