A credible safety statement for peanut and certain tree peanut was issued by the FDA in 2003. It basically says scientific evidence shows that consuming 1.5 ounces of most nuts per day (as part of a low-saturated fat and cholesterol diet) could minimize the risk of heart disease.
Many studies suggesting health benefits of nuts included reducing the risk of heart disease and cardiovascular disease or its risk factors. But there is some evidence that nuts can also help with other diseases. For example, peanuts (also found in grape skins and red wine) are a source of phytochemical resveratrol. A recent German research explored the possible effects of resveratrol on cancer prevention in colorectal cells.
The funny thing is, the peanut is actually a legume, native to South America, that happens to look and taste like a nut.
Nutritionally, peanut act like nuts, too. About half their weight comes from fat, with the rest split fairly evenly between protein and carbohydrate (with fiber). About half of their total fat comes from monounsaturated fat, the kind that is linked to more healthful blood lipid levels. One-third of the fat comes from polyunsaturated fat (all of which is omega-6 fatty acid, not the superhealthy omega-3). About 14% of the fat is naturally saturated.
What to Look for in Peanut Butter
Search for a natural style brand with little or no applied fat or sugar while shopping for peanut butter. Several companies add to the standard form of peanut butter partially hydrogenated oils. And this could add trans fats to the equation, depending on the amount added.