Are Peanuts Bad For You?
I’m kind of obsessed with peanut butter. I mean really, who isn’t? It’s one of those things that I grew up with my PB & J sandwiches, that I learned to further love when I began cycling crazy long rides. There’s something just so irresistible about that sticky chewy stuff. It must be good if dogs love the eat it right? This post actually started off as a recipe that included peanuts and after beginning, the post naturally turned into: are peanuts bad for you?
Did you know peanuts are not even part of the nut family? They are most commonly associated with almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts and other delicious nutty nuts. But- they are actually a legume, the same family as beans, chickpeas, lentils, green beans and soy. If you’re eating paleo then this whole food ‘group’ is off limits my friend, however that’s another blog post. For now let’s talk about peanuts and why some people think they are terribly bad for you while others believe they are a great food to be eating, and of course, my personal opinion on the matter.
Nuts in general, including peanuts, are highly dense in calories. That means that for a small amount of the food you will get a high concentrate of calories, and in nuts sake, fat. Peanuts also contain high amounts of omega-6, or linoleic acid. This is an essential fatty acid, which is an important component for cardiovascular health, mental function, and energy production. If omega-6 is too high though, the results can be inflammation in the body. (Many diseases, including Alzheimer’s, are thought to be caused by excess inflammation.) Most brands also include salt, sugar and hydrogenated (trans) fat, which is not good for you, no matter what your argument. Many people are also allergic to peanuts, which is linked to the natural mold aflatoxin. This can cause further damages in the body.
Peanuts sounds like the end-all-bad-for-you food then, right? Well, like everything in life take it with a grain of salt. Many people that will tell you awful these little guys are bad for you are also typically paleo or allergic themselves. My point here is to help you decide if peanuts are something you want to cut out of your life for good or have in moderation, like everything else.
The good about peanuts? They provide all three macronutrients the body needs. 100g of peanuts will contain 20 grams of carbohydrates including 6g of fiber, 25g of protein and 50g of fat. Yes this is a lot of fat, however your body needs fat in order to be healthy and your brain to work at maximum efficiency. Peanuts also contain vitamin E, B3, B6, folate, magnesium, copper, and manganese, including other nutrients and antioxidants. Peanuts are the type of food (like other nuts and seeds) that should be an addition, almost like a supplement, rather than the main portion of your diet.
So, to peanut or not to peanut, that is the question.
My answer: have them as treats on top of your chia seed pudding, blend it to put in homemade peanut butter cups, or make a jar of your own guilt-free PB. If you don’t have a blender/ food processor to make your own, then be sure to buy all-natural 100% peanut brands. That means they do not include any other nasties. I personally don’t eat peanut butter that often, however I’m not going to say it’s a “never again” thing. I enjoy it greatly when it comes to healthier style PB & J’s now and another one of my favorites being my PB & J smoothie (will post that recipe soon!). Almond butter is thought to be healthier. I’m not going to lie, sometimes almond butter just doesn’t cut it! With that, below is one of my favorite simple recipes, if you even call it a recipe.
All you do is take two apples, one red one green, slice them and add some homemade peanut butter in between them. Apples are amazing for your health and paired with some all natural PB you have a great balance of sugar, fat, carbohydates and protein that is a wonderful snack.
What’s your thought on PB? Do you like? Love it? Hate it? Let me know here.