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Secret Side Effects of Eating Peanuts, Says Science

If you love snacking on peanuts, it's important to be aware of some of the potential risks and benefits
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Peanuts are a quick, easy, and delicious snack to grab on the go or munch on during the workday. And the world seems to agree because it is the most popular nut across the globe!

But even though they're widely loved, are they just as healthy as other nuts? We did some investigating and found a few potential side effects to look out for if you're a peanut lover. Read to learn more, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

They may affect your liver health

Peanuts may be delicious, but they can, unfortunately, be toxic as well. This is because they're often found with aflatoxin, a toxic fungus that is found most commonly in humid, subtropical, and tropical climates.

Aflatoxin can be very harmful to human health and can even lead to some long-term issues like suppression of your immune system, kidney disease, and liver cancer.

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They contain anti-nutrients

Peanuts contain a natural plant substance called phytic acid, which can also be found in other legumes, nuts, seeds, and types of oils. Phytic acid, unfortunately, acts as an anti-nutrient in your body, meaning that it can inhibit your body's absorption of nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Even though peanuts contain higher levels of these same nutrients, the phytic acid can limit how much of them your body can actually benefit from.

You may consume too much salt

Peanuts don't naturally contain a lot of salt, but you may want to watch the sodium levels if you tend to buy any type of packaged peanuts.

A typical 1 ounce serving of dry roasted peanuts from Walmart contains about 150 milligrams of sodium, which is 7% of the daily recommended value. This may not seem like a lot at first, but it is easy to mindlessly snack on peanuts and exceed the serving size.

To limit your sodium intake, try buying ones that are labeled "low sodium" or "lightly salted," or measure out your portions ahead of time!

RELATED: Surprising Side Effect of Eating Too Much Salt, Says Science

You'll get a boost of vitamins

Although peanuts have some potentially negative side effects, they can still be a fairly healthy snack! According to The Peanut Institute, peanuts contain high levels of unsaturated fat, fiber, vitamin E, folate, and potassium. As we know, peanuts also contain nutrients like zinc and magnesium, but phytic acid can limit those levels.

Harvard Health Publishing also suggests that because of the nutrients and vitamins found in peanuts, those who consume them often (along with other nuts) have been found to have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don't eat them.

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Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha