Good for Every Body: A Dietary Defense Against Cancer and Heart Disease

Peanuts and peanut butter aren’t just good for everyone—they’re good for every body! That’s because peanuts offer an affordable, sustainable source of vitamins, minerals and more that help people around the world to feel their best, while supporting their long-term health. Including providing natural protection against two of the world’s leading causes of mortality: heart disease and cancer.

A (Super)Food that Fights Heart Disease

‘Heart disease’ is a term that covers a wide range of heart-related conditions—this can include things like coronary artery disease (which can lead to a heart attack), and atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the arteries that prevents blood flow).

There are a number of factors that can raise your risk for developing heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes—but the good news is that peanuts can reduce your chances of developing those risk factors.

Supporting healthy blood pressure

Peanuts are a good source of monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to lowering blood pressure levels.1 And, a recent study from the University of South Australia found consuming lightly salted peanuts twice a day before meals led to weight loss, lowered blood pressure and improved fasting glucose levels.2 According to a study from Purdue University, the benefits peanuts provide for blood pressure are seen regardless of whether peanuts were flavored, salted or unsalted3—so find your favorite and get snacking!

Controlling cholesterol the natural way

High LDL cholesterol, known as the “bad” cholesterol, can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries, making it harder for them to carry blood to the heart. Peanuts are naturally cholesterol free, and have mono- and polyunsaturated fats that helps raise levels of HDL (aka ‘good’) cholesterol to improve overall cholesterol levels.4

Managing weight

Studies show that swapping unhealthy snacks for peanuts or peanut butter can support decreases in body mass index (BMI) and improve overall health.5

Preventing or controlling diabetes

Peanuts and peanut butter are considered ‘low GI’ foods, which means they release sugar more gradually into the bloodstream. This can help prevent blood sugar spikes that lead to ‘crashing.’ Eating healthy low GI foods can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while also helping you feel fuller, longer. And the best part? No crash!

Nourishing the fight against cancer

Consuming nuts like peanuts has shown a significant association with a reduced risk for cancer and cancer mortality. A number of studies have investigated the link between peanuts and their cancer-fighting powers:

  • A 10g daily increase in nut consumption has been related to a 20% reduction in overall cancer mortality.6
  • Peanut/tree nut intake has been associated with 84% lower odds of breast cancer when comparing participants who consumed the most to those who consumed the least.7
  • In a 2008 study, participants who consumed the most nuts had a 40% reduced risk of esophageal cancer compared to those who consumed none.8
  • Peanut and tree nut consumption were associated with a reduced risk of small cell carcinoma (a type of lung cancer) per 5g/day increment.9

Peanuts fight cancer with nature

Rather than one component working alone, it’s believed that a number of compounds found in peanuts work together in a synergistic way to help stop cancer cells from developing.10Two of these compounds are phytosterols and resveratrol.


Found naturally in high concentrations of plant oils, seeds, and legumes like peanuts, phytosterols offer an amazing array of healthy benefits. Research shows that in addition to inhibiting colon, prostate and breast cancer cell growth, they can also protect against heart disease.

– Research suggests phytosterols may prevent cancer from growing and spreading, and may help to inhibit the spread of lung, stomach, ovarian, prostate, colon and breast cancer.

– In a study at the University of New York at Buffalo, phytosterols reduced prostate tumor growth by over 40%, and decreased risk of cancer spreading by almost 50%.11,12


Used by plants to protect themselves against diseases, this phytochemical demonstrates anti-cancer properties. Some studies have shown that resveratrol may be beneficial for colorectal, prostate, brain, and bladder cancers.13-16

It’s also been noted that resveratrol has been used in conjunction with radiation and certain chemotherapy treatments to increase their effectiveness and potentially reduce side effects.

Good for Every Body, Every Day

Combined with a varied, healthful diet, a daily serving of peanuts or peanut butter can offer incredible benefits for both your immediate and long-term health—even against serious diseases like heart disease and cancer.

Hungry to know more? Get a daily serving of recipes, studies and more by following The Peanut Institute on Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Threads, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn!

  1. Kris-Etherton PM, Pearson TA, Wan Y, et al. High-monounsaturated fatty acid diets lower both plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(6):1009–1015.
  2. Petersen KS, Murphy J, Whitbread J, Clifton PM, Keogh JB. The Effect of a Peanut-Enriched Weight Loss Diet Compared to a Low-Fat Weight Loss Diet on Body Weight, Blood Pressure, and Glycemic Control: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2022; 14(14):2986.
  3. Jones JB, Provost M, Keaver L, Breen C, Ludy MJ, Mattes RD. A randomized trial on the effects of flavorings on the health benefits of daily peanut consumption. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Mar;99(3):490-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.069401. Epub 2013 Dec 18. PMID: 24351876.
  4. Lokko P, Lartey A, Armar-Klemesu M, Mattes RD. Regular peanut consumption improves plasma lipid levels in healthy Ghanaians. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2007;58(3):190–200. doi:10.1080/09637480701198067.
  5. Moreno JP, Mohammed A, Moore CE, Johnston C. Benefits of a snacking intervention as part of a school-based obesity intervention for Mexican American children. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk 2015;6(2).
  6. Chang Cao, Xinyan Gan, Yan He, Shiqi Nong, Yonglin Su, Zheran Liu, Yu Zhang, Xiaolin Hu & Xingchen Peng(2023) Association between nut consumption and cancer risk: a meta-analysis, Nutrition and Cancer, 75:1,82-94, DOI: 10.1080/01635581.2022.2104880
  7. Sharif Y, Sadeghi O, Benisi-Kohansal S, Azadbakht L, Esmaillzadeh A. Legume and Nuts Consumption in Relation to Odds of Breast Cancer: A Case-Control Study. Nutr Cancer. 2021;73(5):750-759. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2020.1773874. Epub 2020 Jun 1. PMID: 32475175.
  8. Hashemian M, Murphy G, Etemadi A, Poustchi H, Sharafkhah M, Kamangar F, Pourshams A, Malekshah AF, Khoshnia M, Gharavi A, et al. Nut consumption and the risk of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in the Golestan Cohort Study.Br J Cancer. 2018 Jul;119(2):176-181. doi: 10.1038/s41416-018-0148-0. Epub 2018 Jun 28. PubMed PMID: 29950612; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6048068.
  9. Nieuwenhuis L, van den Brandt PA. Nut and peanut butter consumption and the risk of lung cancer and its subtypes: A prospective cohort study. Lung Cancer. 2019 Feb;128:57-66. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.12.018. Epub 2018 Dec 18. PMID: 30642454.
  10. 10.Falasca M, Casari I, Maffucci T. Cancer chemoprevention with nuts. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Sep 10;106(9). pii: dju238. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju238. Print 2014 Sep. Review. PubMed PMID: 25210199.
  11. 11.Awad AB, Fink CS. Phytosterols as anticancer dietary components: evidence and mechanism of action. J Nutr. 2000 Sep;130(9):2127-30. doi: 10.1093/jn/130.9.2127. PMID: 10958802.
  12. 12.Woyengo TA, Ramprasath VR, Jones PJ. Anticancer effects of phytosterols. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jul;63(7):813-20. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2009.29. Epub 2009 Jun 3. Review. PubMed PMID: 19491917.
  13. 13.Buhrmann C, Shayan P, Goel A, Shakibaei M. Resveratrol Regulates Colorectal Cancer Cell Invasion by Modulation of Focal Adhesion Molecules. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 27;9(10). pii: E1073. doi: 10.3390/nu9101073. PubMed PMID: 28953264; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5691690.
  14. 14.Chen YA, Lien HM, Kao MC, Lo UG, Lin LC, Lin CJ, Chang SJ, Chen CC, Hsieh JT, Lin H, Tang CH, Lai CH. Sensitization of Radioresistant Prostate Cancer Cells by Resveratrol Isolated from Arachis hypogaea Stems. PLoS One. 2017 Jan 12;12(1):e0169204. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169204. PMID: 28081154; PMCID: PMC5231355.
  15. 15.Alayev A, Salamon RS, Schwartz NS, Berman AY, Wiener SL, Holz MK. Combination of Rapamycin and Resveratrol for Treatment of Bladder Cancer. J Cell Physiol. 2017 Feb;232(2):436-446. doi: 10.1002/jcp.25443. Epub 2016 Jun 10. PubMed PMID: 27225870.
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