The raw food movement has gained traction over the last few years among the health-conscious. After all, it makes sense that our bodies would benefit the most from eating certain foods exactly as they’re found in nature, with nothing added. But does the same concept apply to peanuts? Whether you regularly spread some peanut butter on a slice of bread — like the 94% of American households who have at least one jar of PB in their pantry — or crack open a handful of raw nuts out of the shell, you’re going to benefit from all the amazing nutrients in peanuts. But is the nutritional value of raw peanuts higher?
Ultimately, the answer is yes — but only by a bit. No matter how you eat peanuts, you’re going to be getting a high protein snack. In fact, both raw and roasted peanuts have the same amount of protein, according to the USDA. They also have the same amount of fiber and potassium! Even when they’re roasted in oil, roasted peanuts have only slightly more fat and slightly less iron and phosphorus than raw peanuts do. When you really crunch the numbers (and the peanuts), roasted peanut nutrients aren’t actually that much different from the ones found in the raw versions, as long as you opt for roasted nuts with no added salts or sugars. And according to a September 2010 study entitled “Plant Foods For Human Nutrition,” heat-treated peanuts may actually have more antioxidants!
That said, you can’t go wrong when you go for raw. Raw peanuts are chock-full of vitamins like folate (which is important for pregnant women), vitamin E, and vitamin B6, as well as minerals like zinc and magnesium. No matter how you chew it, the nutrients in peanuts — raw or dry-roasted — can’t be beat. And of course, there’s nothing better than that irresistible flavor.
While raw nuts are undoubtedly going to be the nutritional winner, they don’t actually win by a landslide. That’s because the nutritional benefits of roasted peanuts are still incredible. In the end, that’s great news: no matter what kind of peanutty snack you’re craving, you’ll still know you’re making a health-conscious decision that will keep you full and satisfied. For more information on raw peanuts nutrition, take a look at the resources below.