Yes! It is true contrary to what you have always been told…peanuts are not really a nut, they are a legume! Legumes are actually less beneficial to your diet because they contain “anti-nutrients” that are found in all grains as well causing inflammation in the body and preventing the absorption of beneficial nutrients you consume from other foods. Therefore, choose wisely when snacking or adding some nutty flavor to your meals!
Peanuts versus Nuts
First and foremost, we don’t advocate for eating large quantities of nuts. In fact, as a simple rule we say limit yourself to one handful a day or one ounce….definitely not more than two ounces at the most. While peanuts are technically a legume, comparing them to other nuts is worthwhile. All kinds of nuts are fairly high in lectins and overloaded with Omega 6 fats. While Omega 6’s are ok in small amounts, they can be too much of a good thing. Our goal is to be consuming a ratio of Omega 6:Omega 3 fats at 3:1 or less. Currently, our natural diet tends to up that ratio closer to an upwards of 13:1. You are probably thinking what the heck does that mean? Well, when our ratio is out of whack we have more inflammation brewing in our bodies. The closer the ratio is to where it’s supposed to be, the less inflammation we have. When comparing peanuts to macadamia nuts, there are 11 grams of Omega 6’s with trace amounts of Omega 3’s in peanuts and less than 1 gram of Omega 6’s in macadamias per 1/2 cup.
Aflatoxins, toxins shown to stunt growth and increase risk and mortality from cancer, are also found in peanuts.
Why We Shouldn’t Eat Legumes
Legumes for the most part shouldn’t be consumed due to their high load of “anti-nutrients”, lectins and phytates. In order to consume them safely, they typically have to be soaked, fermented, and sprouted. In one study, rats that consume raw kidney beans dies within 2 weeks. Lectins are harmful in that they deplete mucous in the small intestine which disrupts absorbtion and is a key player in autoimmune conditions. Phytates (phytic acid) prevent the absorptions of minerals (magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium) which is a contributing factor to the elevated rates of osteoporosis and diseases in Americans. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much dairy or foods fortied with Vit. D and calcium etc. if we continue to consume these anti-nutrients.
With all of that said, nuts still have amazing health benefits including heart health, prevention of lung cancer and prostate cancer, men’s reproductive health, brain health, stress reduction, and weight maintenance!
In summary, switch your peanut butter to almond butter and fill your trailmix with healthy seeds and more beneficial nuts. Add this to a balanced one-ingredient food eating plan that is varied with healthy fats, fresh vegetables and fruits, H20, and grass-fed, wild-caught, organic and free-range proteins for maximum health benefits. For more great resources on eating real food for better health, check out the Wellness Family Summit, a complimentary online event happening between Oct. 13-20!