Peanuts make convenient and delicious snacks on their own or in trail mixes, and they are full of essential nutrients. They may even have benefits in managing fatty liver, which is a common condition. For the best results, eat them in moderation as part of a balanced diet, and consult your doctor if you have concerns.
Fatty Liver and Diet
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or fatty liver, occurs when fat builds up in your liver. The condition is often asymptomatic, but it can lead to complications such as liver scarring or liver failure. Fatty liver has some risk factors that you cannot change, such as an older age or being male, according to the Mayo Clinic. But ways to promote liver health include avoiding alcohol and following your doctor's dietary recommendations, such as limiting saturated fat intake.
A goal of treatment for fatty liver is to lower your cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic, and peanuts may be able to help. An ounce of peanuts has 14 grams of total fat, including 11.3 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1.9 grams of saturated fat. Choosing unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats may lower your cholesterol, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary fiber and phytosterols are other cholesterol-lowering nutrients in peanuts, according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center.
Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can prevent fatty liver or help you manage the condition, according to the Mayo Clinic. And individuals who regularly eat nuts or peanuts tend to have lower body weights, according to the Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Peanuts and nuts may help you eat fewer calories overall because of their protein and fiber, which are filling nutrients. An ounce of peanuts has 161 calories, so to prevent weight gain from adding them to your diet, eat them instead of other calorie sources.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes increases your risk for developing nonalcoholic fatty liver and for allowing complications to develop, according to the Mayo Clinic. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can improve blood sugar regulation to prevent diabetes or help control it. Each ounce of peanuts has 2.4 grams of dietary fiber, which slows digestion and keeps your blood sugar levels more stable. Furthermore, the monounsaturated fats in peanuts may lower your blood sugar readings, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Is This an Emergency?
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010; January 2010
- Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center; Nuts; Victoria Drake; June 2009
- Mayo Clinic; Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease; February 2011
- Mayo Clinic; MUFAs: Why Should My Diet Include These Fats?; Katherine Zeratsky; November 2010