The Peanut Foundation

Energy & Fats

Peanuts and peanut butter and peanut oil are energy and nutrient dense. Peanut oil's unsaturated lipid profile resembles that of olive oil.

All figures given below are per 100g serving1

Energy values:

raw kernels 564 kcal/2341kJ
roasted and salted 602 kcal/2491kJ
dry roasted 589 kcal/2441kJ
smooth peanut butter 623 kcal/2581kJ
peanut oil 899 kcal/3898kJ

Peanuts differ from other legumes by having a high oil content.

The high oil content of peanuts is composed of over 75% unsaturated fatty acids. Primarily oleic acid (monounsaturated fatty acid C18:1) and linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid C18:2). 

Peanut oil is nutritionally similar to olive oil in the proportions of fatty acids it contains, being high in monounsaturates and low in saturates (SFA), with monounsaturated oleic acid (C18:1) predominating:

 

 SFAMUFAPUFAMUFA + PUFA
Olive Oil 14.0 69.7 11.2 80.9
Peanut Oil 18.8 47.8 28.5 76.3

 

Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat have been shown to decrease total and LDL-cholesterol levels when substituted for saturated fat, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Unsaturated fats have also generally been shown to help lower blood cholesterol levels.

Peanuts contain no cholesterol.

It is generally accepted that the majority of fats consumed should be unsaturated and that reducing the intake of saturated fats is the key dietary factor in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. This accords with the view that the "Mediterranean diet", in which monounsaturated fatty acids obtained from olive oil predominate and there are also high intakes of vegetables and fruit, is associated with lower rates of coronary heart disease.


Fatty acid fractions:

 SFAMUFAPUFATotal*
raw kernels 8.2 21.2 14.3 46.1
roasted and salted 9.5 24.1 16.5 53.0
dry roasted 8.9 22.8 15.5 49.8
smooth peanut butter 11.7 21.3 18.4 53.7

* Calculated from total fat, minus non-fatty acid material present.


The polyunsaturated linoleic acid in peanuts is also a source of "essential fatty acids", which the body cannot make sufficiently for itself and which must be present in dietary sources. Ensuring adequate intakes of polyunsaturated fatty acids is a good way to encourage antioxidant vitamin E intake.

The favourable fatty acid profile of peanuts means they can contribute to a mixed diet which reduces total fat and saturated fatty acid intakes overall. The DASH - Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension - Diet developed at Harvard University is one example.

 

Protein

The protein in peanuts and peanut butter is high quality vegetable protein, naturally cholesterol-free, and associated with significant amounts of fibre which differentiates it from animal protein. Peanut protein can be incorporated readily into vegetarian and vegan eating patterns as well as snacks and main meals by everyone else. Peanuts have more protein by weight than other nuts. This qualifies peanuts for a nutrition claim in the European Union because the nutrient is present at a level of at least 15% of the EU daily requirement level. Peanuts are thus a recognised “source of protein” and eligible to use a consumer message that this “contributes to a growth in and maintenance of muscle mass.”

raw kernels 25.6g
roasted and salted 24.5g
dry roasted 25.5g
smooth peanut butter 22.6g

 

Fibre

Peanuts and peanut butter contain both soluble and insoluble types.

Higher fibre eating patterns have been shown to decrease the risks of coronary heart disease, cancer of the colon and diabetes.

 

 Total*SolubleInsoluble
raw kernels 6.2 1.9 4.3
roasted and salted 6.0 1.9 4.2
dry roasted 6.4 2.0 4.5
smooth peanut butter 5.4 1.6 3.8


* figures have been rounded

Fibre levels in peanut butter are comparable to those found in many types of dried fruit, while the levels in raw and roasted peanuts are higher than common dried fruits such as prunes (5.7g/100g) and raisins (2.0g/100g).



Minerals

Major minerals and trace elements are found in peanuts.

 

Calcium (Ca) - contributes to formation and maintenance of bone and teeth

raw kernels 60.0mg
roasted and salted 37.0mg
dry roasted 52.0mg
smooth peanut butter 37.0mg

 

Chloride (Cl) - contributes to balancing sodium and potassium in cells

raw kernels 7.0mg
roasted and salted 360.0mg
dry roasted 1140.0mg
smooth peanut butter 500.0mg

  

Copper (Cu) - helps support normal functioning of the immune system

raw kernels 1.02mg
roasted and salted 0.54mg
dry roasted 0.64mg
smooth peanut butter 0.70mg

 

Iodine (I) - necessary for normal thyroid, neurological and cognitive functions

raw kernels 20.0µg
roasted and salted 19.0µg
dry roasted 19.0µg
smooth peanut butter n/a

 

Iron (Fe) - essential for normal functioning of red blood cells, oxygen transport around the body and avoidance of tiredness and fatigue

raw kernels 2.50mg
roasted and salted 1.30mg
dry roasted 2.10mg
smooth peanut butter 2.10mg

 

Magnesium (Mg) - contributes to metabolic health and normal muscle and nerve function

raw kernels 210.0mg
roasted and salted 180.0mg
dry roasted 190.0mg
smooth peanut butter 180.0mg

  

Manganese (Mn) - contributes to normal formation of connective tissue and protection of body cells from oxidative damage

raw kernels 2.1mg
roasted and salted 1.9mg
dry roasted 2.2mg
smooth peanut butter 1.7mg

 

Phosphorus (P) - contributes to normal function of cell membranes, energy metabolism and maintenance of normal bones and teeth

raw kernels 430.0mg
roasted and salted 410.0mg
dry roasted 420.0mg
smooth peanut butter 330.0mg

 

Potassium (K) - helps maintain normal blood pressure, muscular and neurological function

raw kernels 670.0mg
roasted and salted 810.0mg
dry roasted 730.0mg
smooth peanut butter 700.0mg

 

Selenium (Se) - contributes to normal thyroid function, maintenance of normal hair and nails, normal function of the immune system and protection of cells against oxidative damage

raw kernels 3.0µg
roasted and salted 4.0µg
dry roasted 3.0µg
smooth peanut butter 3.0µg

 

Sodium (Na) - essential for maintenance of normal muscle function and fluid control in body cells 

raw kernels 2.0mg
roasted and salted 400.0mg
dry roasted 790.0mg
smooth peanut butter 350.0mg

 

 

Sulphur (S) - found in foods high in protein and is a component of the amino acids methionine and cysteine

raw kernels 380.0mg
roasted and salted 360.0mg
dry roasted 380.0mg
smooth peanut butter 330.0mg

 

 

Zinc (Zn) - contributes to normal function of the immune system, normal DNA synthesis and cell division and protection of body cells from oxidative damage

raw kernels 3.5mg
roasted and salted 2.9mg
dry roasted 3.3mg
smooth peanut butter 3.0mg

 

Vitamins

Antioxidant Vitamin E, a range of B vitamins and folate are characteristic of peanuts and peanut butter.

Biotin - contributes to maintenance of normal skin, hair and mucous membranes

raw kernels 72.0µg
roasted and salted 102.0µg
dry roasted 130.0µg
smooth peanut butter 94.0µg

 

 

Folate - contributes to normal development of mother and child during pregnancy, normal blood formation and function of the immune system:

raw kernels 110.0µg
roasted and salted 52.0µg
dry roasted 66.0µg
smooth peanut butter 53.0µg

 

Niacin (B3) - contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism, normal function of immune system and normal psychological functions

raw kernels 13.8mg
roasted and salted 13.6mg
dry roasted 13.1mg
smooth peanut butter 12.5mg

 

Pantothenate - contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism and normal mental performance

raw kernels 2.66mg
roasted and salted 1.70mg
dry roasted 1.59mg
smooth peanut butter 1.56mg

 

Pyridoxin (B6) - contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism and psychological function

raw kernels 0.59mg
roasted and salted 0.63mg
dry roasted 0.54mg
smooth peanut butter 0.58mg

 

Riboflavin (B2) - contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism

raw kernels 0.10mg
roasted and salted 0.10mg
dry roasted 0.13mg
smooth peanut butter 0.09mg

 

Thiamin (B1) - contributes to the normal function of the heart and nervous system

raw kernels 1.14mg
roasted and salted 0.18mg
dry roasted 0.18mg
smooth peanut butter 0.17mg

 

Vitamin E - a fat soluble vitamin, contributes to the protection of cell constituents from oxidative damage 

raw kernels 10.09mg
roasted and salted 0.66mg
dry roasted 1.11mg
smooth peanut butter 4.99mg
peanut oil 15.16mg

 

Future directions for peanut and health research

The spectrum of new and emerging research related to peanuts and health is expanding. It already reaches beyond the well-established interest in healthy fats by investigating bioactive and anti-inflammatory constituents of peanuts for their health protecting qualities.

Scientific interest is rapidly rising in the polyphenols, phytosterols, amino acids and vitamins and minerals present in peanuts.

Application of this research will produce a better understanding of disease risk reduction and practical dietary interventions.  Target areas are likely to include type two diabetessome cancers and cognitive health.  Nutrition's impact on these is likely to be the next emerging chapter in the peanuts and health story.

The American Peanut Council, on behalf of the entire US peanut industry, is an enthusiastic advocate of these future research directions.

 

  1. Fruit and Nuts ed. B Holland, ID Unwin and DH Buss (1st Supplement to the 5th Edition of McCance and Widdowson'sThe Composition of Foods). Royal Society of Chemistry and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Cambridge 1992.