Peanuts contain resveratrol and are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat. Consumption of peanuts is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, which may account for the inverse relationship between nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Peanuts have also been shown to promote weight management when consumed as part of a moderate fat diet because of its satiating effect. Frequent peanut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of gallstone disease in men. Peanut extracts have been shown to suppress the proliferation of human prostate cancer cells.
Cancer-related effects of eating peanuts
Peanuts contain peanut agglutinin (PNA), a protein that binds to a sugar expressed by most human cancers. A 2014 study demonstrated that PNA at blood concentrations found after peanut consumption promotes the progression of two important steps in metastasis. Peanut consumption was also found to increase metastasis in a mouse model of breast cancer. A 2015 study reported that PNA had the potential to promote breast cancer metastasis through increased vascular invasion and lymph node involvement. Note that peanut oil also contains a trace amount of PNA.
Peanuts typically are infected to some extent with molds which produce aflatoxins, which are mutagenic, carcinogenic and teratogenic and cause immuno-suppression in humans. Aflatoxin B1 has been shown to cause liver cancer, especially in hepatitis B-positive individuals. Peanuts have been shown in several studies to stimulate proliferation of colon cancer cells. However one large Taiwanese study found that peanut consumption was associated with lower colorectal cancer risk. Breathing the fumes of peanut oil used in frying has been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer. Breast cancer patients have been shown to be at higher risk for other cancers and should avoid known mutagens. In addition, it is possible to get the potential health benefits of peanuts by consuming other nuts and foods.
Although the United States is a net exporter of peanuts, the U.S. imports some peanuts, mainly from Argentina, China and Mexico.
Peanut oil typically contains a small fraction of the aflatoxins contained in peanuts and peanut butter. Almond butter, found in health food stores and some supermarkets, can often be an acceptable substitute for peanut butter.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on peanut.