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Peanuts & Diet

Besides being a food that many people love to eat, peanuts are also good for you when eaten in moderation. As long as you aren't allergic to them, they can be a regular part of any diet, even a weight loss diet. You don't need to feel guilty for having a handful of peanuts as long as you take the calories involved into consideration when planning your diet for the day.

One ounce of unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts has 166 calories, 6.71 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of fiber and 14 grams of fat, of which approximately 7 are monounsaturated, 4.4 are polyunsaturated and 2 are saturated, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Peanuts are also good sources of copper, folate, manganese, niacin, vitamin E and tryptophan.

Since most of the fat in peanuts comes from the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, they are a suitable way to get in the small amount of fat that you need in your diet. Including peanuts or other nuts in your diet can make it easier to stick to the diet and don't increase your risk for weight gain as long as you consume them in moderation, according to a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in September 2008.

Due to the heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals in peanuts, they can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. According to another article published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in September 2008, the people who eat the most peanuts and other nuts have a 35 percent lower risk for heart disease than those who eat the fewest nuts, at least in part due to the cholesterol-lowering effect of eating nuts.

Peanuts also have relatively high levels of the antioxidant resveratrol which, along with other nutrients present in these nuts such as folic acid and phytosterols, might help to lower your cancer risks. The resveratrol in peanuts can cause a type of cancer cell death called apoptosis and limit the spread of cancer cells, according to a study published in "BMC Cancer" in 2010.

Peanuts are relatively energy dense, so eat them in small amounts to maximize their potential health benefits without adding too many calories to your diet. Many types of peanut butter also have added sugars and hydrogenated oils, making them less healthy for you, so choose an organic brand that only contains peanuts and salt for the best health results.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.