Are Peanuts Poisonous? Here's How You Can Prepare Peanuts Properly!

Oluwatosin Michael
Jan 24, 2024 By Oluwatosin Michael
Originally Published on Nov 23, 2021
Are peanuts poisonous? Here is the answer.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

Would you like to know if peanuts are safe for consumption?

Peanut products, like peanut oil, peanut butter, roasted peanuts, or raw peanuts, are a part of the daily diet of many people due to their nutritional value. It is a high protein plant with minerals, healthy fats, and vitamins, not to mention its delicious, nutty flavor.

In the US, peanuts have been categorized into four kinds, including Valencia peanuts, runner peanuts, Spanish peanuts, and Virginia peanuts. These raw nuts are also known as groundnuts, monkey nuts, goobers, and so on. This plant is generally a legume that is harvested, grown, and then processed for its seeds, which are edible. In subtropic and tropic regions, they can be found abundantly and grown on farms for better yields. They can be consumed as an oil, roasted, raw, as a sauce, and much more. They are known to greatly enhance the taste of food to a whole new level. This plant has both health benefits as well as potentially problematic effects when consumed. There are about three million Americans in total with peanut allergies. This means that peanuts may not be completely safe for consumption for everyone. This mostly has something to do with an individual's health condition and the compatibility of their body with consuming any types of roasted or raw nuts. Not all people have inherited the same health condition.

For more similar and informative content, you can also learn how peanuts are grown and if a peanut is a legume.

Are peanuts harmful to humans and animals?

A peanut contains fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, magnesium, and much more. Apart from its advantages and the benefits to your health, several factors should be considered before consuming peanuts. Aspergillus flavus, which is known to produce a carcinogenic substance known as aflatoxin, has been discovered among raw peanuts.

Aflatoxin has been widely recognized as a problem when it comes to the metabolism of protein, liver cancer, and so on. This has also caused death among laboratory and farm animals. Among all, the liver is the most affected when exposed to aflatoxin. However, confirmation of if it will affect humans has not been reached yet due to inadequate information. It has characteristics that affect the health of both animals and humans, but not to the extreme if consumed moderately (unless an individual is allergic to these legumes).

The reason why some are allergic to peanuts or peanut products, like peanut butter, oil, and so on, is that they have an immune system that is overactive, identifying the peanut proteins as a danger or threat. Then, immunoglobulin E, which is an antibody that causes the release of the chemicals that result in allergic reactions, has the potential to be dangerous to some people. Among animals, mostly mammals show allergic reactions to peanut consumption. Also, consuming lots of the aflatoxins present among peanuts has led to stunted growth among children.

Are peanuts poisonous before roasting?

In general, raw peanuts are safe for consumption, but their aflatoxin content can be harmful to animals and humans. There are many people who have consumed raw peanuts daily and have experienced no health effects. This is mostly due to their body's adaptability and moderate consumption, even though it may be daily.

Peanuts are not at all poisonous before roasting them. Many people prefer roasted peanuts over raw peanuts. Apart from its toxins, this is mainly due to the fact that they also taste better when roasted. It is completely safe to consume raw peanuts before roasting, but make sure to be cautious when buying them since overseas imports may not always undergo a strict contamination monitoring system. It is also best to avoid overly cheap products too. Also, ensure that the peanuts do not have mold on them. Consuming a few handfuls of raw peanuts or peanut butter may not risk exposure to aflatoxins, but consuming more than a handful daily may leave you exposed.

Peanuts, in general, are healthy.

Do all peanuts have aflatoxin?

Aflatoxin is a group of toxic compounds which are produced by molds in foods and crops, particularly among Aspergillus species. Exposure to this toxin can lead to the risk of liver cancer and damage to the liver. However, you cannot completely cut out nuts or legumes in your diet unless you have allergic reactions to them. This is the reason why it is crucial to get into the details of the toxins in your food before consumption.

Aflatoxins are not only present in peanuts, but they can be found in other foods like eggs, corn, meat, almonds, nuts, spices, herbs, figs, milk, and much more. All kinds of peanuts contain aflatoxins in them up to some level. You can notice aflatoxin presence among peanuts by checking peanuts for shriveled, discolored, and moldy patches. The question is why peanuts are toxin susceptible. The answer to this is that peanuts are not considered to be nuts but legumes. Nuts have protective, hard shells (such as in pecans and walnuts), while legumes or peanut skins are soft, breakable, and permeable, making them more vulnerable to toxins.

Eating Raw Peanuts Safely

It is surely safe and good to eat raw peanuts. You can eat raw peanuts by adding them to your salad, breakfast bowl, or with a sandwich as peanut butter. Anyone eating raw peanuts or cooked ones will have some exposure to aflatoxin, but not so if done in moderation.

You can just add raw peanuts into your food any way that you like, be they roasted, tossed, or even raw. They have great health advantages for your body, even if they contain aflatoxin. In whatever way you wish to add or use raw peanuts in your meal, it is completely safe to eat raw peanuts, as long as you do not over-add them or that you do not have any allergic reactions to them. For better, smokier, and more crunchy peanuts, it is always better to roast or toss them over a medium heat.

Choosing and Storing Raw Peanuts Safely

Since peanuts, or any other grown products, grow underground and are offered to you farm fresh for your consumption, it is essential to inspect them physically for any moisture, mold, form of contamination, or discoloration. This will help you to choose the best raw peanuts for your safe consumption.

To store peanuts and ensure their freshness, make sure to store them in airtight containers among surroundings that are dry, cool, and if shelled, place them in a refrigerator. They can stay fresh for about six months if they are properly stored or kept in a fridge. This way, you can choose the best raw peanuts and store them to increase their shelf life for safe and better consumption. The same method can be used with products like peanut butter, which definitely has a better and longer shelf life unless it is opened.

Preparing and Enjoying Raw Peanuts Properly

You can include peanuts in your daily diet, and raw peanuts may be better than processed products filled with salt, sugar, or artificial additives.

Raw peanuts can be used to improve your recipes. They also work well as a small snack and can be cooked along with meat too. They are best prepared with vegetables in salads, and you can even fry them along with veggies, olive oil, and so on. Peanuts have a wonderful, nutty taste, making them go with whatever you wish to include them in while preparing food. They are highly nutritious and healthy to include in your diet.

The Benefits of Raw Peanuts

As these nuts are high in protein, fiber, and good fat, they have several benefits to your health. Due to their healthy fat content, it has been found that they are very helpful in lowering cholesterol levels.

Eating peanuts on a daily basis can combat colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and breast cancer while also reducing your chances of heart disease. However, due to their high fat and calories content, it is recommended to consume them in moderation along with vegetables as salads for keeping your calories at a good level.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'Are peanuts poisonous?', then why not take a look at 'Can cats eat peanuts?' or 'Where do peanuts come from?'

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Written by Oluwatosin Michael

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

Oluwatosin Michael picture

Oluwatosin MichaelBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology

With a Bachelor's in Microbiology from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Oluwatosin has honed his skills as an SEO content writer, editor, and growth manager. He has written articles, conducted extensive research, and optimized content for search engines. His expertise extends to leading link-building efforts and revising onboarding strategies. 

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