Peanuts are not true nuts, but instead belong to the legume family, which also includes beans and lentils. You can enjoy them raw or prepare them in a variety of ways, including boiled, dry roasted and oil roasted. You can also crush them to make peanut butter or use them in a variety of savory and sweet dishes. You can use peanut oil for cooking or in salad dressings.
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Servings and Calories
One ounce, or 28 grams, of raw peanuts typically makes up a single serving and has 161 calories. This is equal to approximately 33 individual nuts, which often grow two to a pod. Oil-roasted peanuts may be higher in calories, while boiling and dry roasting tends to reduce the calorie count of peanuts.
A single 1-ounce serving of raw peanuts has 7.31 grams of protein and 4.57 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2.4 grams are fiber. There are 13.96 grams of fat in a single serving, although most of this is made up of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, with only about 2 grams of saturated fat included in the total. One particularly healthful monounsaturated fat found in peanuts is oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil, which may contribute to cardiovascular health.
Peanuts are high in vitamin E, with 2.36 milligrams per serving, and folate, with 68 micrograms per serving. Other vitamins in peanuts include thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, choline and betaine. Minerals in peanuts include manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, selenium and zinc. Raw peanuts only contain 5 milligrams of sodium, but this level can be significantly higher in peanuts cooked in salt.
In addition to the vitamins and minerals present in peanuts, they are also a source of some food components called phytochemicals that are not routinely measured in all foods but may hold health benefits for individuals who consume them. Peanuts are a source of resveratrol, an antioxidant phytochemical linked to heart health and the reduction of cardiovascular disease, as noted in a September 2008 article in "The Journal of Nutrition."
Despite their health benefits, for some people peanuts can be deadly. Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies, especially in children, according to TeensHealth website. Because of this, many parents delay introducing young children to peanuts or peanut products until the child is at least 1-year-old.