Peanuts Are One of the Best Sources of Plant-Based Protein, According to RDs
Having access to a steady stream of healthy snacks has always been the key to staying (mostly) sane throughout the day, but in recent months, it seems like the stakes have gotten higher. As many of us continue to work from home, spending day in and day out attached to our various screens and simultaneously carrying what feels like the weight of the world, the more necessary it is to have easy access to noshes that we know will keep our energy levels—and our moods—up.
"The word 'snacking' can sometimes get a bad reputation," says Melissa Rifkin, MS, RD, CDN. "But when you're munching on a healthy food that's chock-full of nutrition, snacking can actually ward off late night hunger, which could ultimately assist with overall health, wellness, and prevent overeating." The key, according to Rifkin? Plant-based protein. Her favorite healthy snack—peanuts—hits this nail on the head. "A 1-ounce serving of peanuts has 7 grams of plant protein that keeps you very well-satiated," she says. "I also love how peanuts and peanut butter are shelf stable, and they can be wonderful accompaniments to so many dishes. Not to mention the fact that a bag of peanuts can fit perfectly in a purse, backpack, or pocket."
She's right—when it comes to the peanut, it's true that big things come in small packages. The peanut is a nutrient-rich powerhouse. In fact, based on a mountain of research, this mighty legume deserves superfood status. In addition to protein, a serving of peanuts contains 19 vitamins and minerals, many of which fight heart disease (such a vitamin E, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, copper, and potassium), antioxidants, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help decrease "bad" LDL cholesterol and increase "good" HDL cholesterol, and heart-healthy fiber.
"Wellness has never mattered more than it does now. Improving or maintaining health is imperative these days, and finding an easy, transportable snack that is also affordable can have a huge impact with beneficial effects on one's health," Rifkin adds. When it comes to peanuts, chronic disease prevention is the name of the game—here's what science has shown so far.