Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Raleigh, North Carolina » Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #333489

Research Project: Improvement and Maintenance of Flavor, Shelf Life, Functional Characteristics, and Biochemical/Bioactive Components in Peanuts, Peanut Products and Related Commodities through Improved Handling, ...

Location: Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit

Title: Peanut fatty acids and their impact on human health

item Dean, Lisa
item CONSTANZA, KAREN - North Carolina State University
item DAVIS, JACK - Former ARS Employee
item SANDERS, TIMOTHY - Retired ARS Employee

Submitted to: Peanuts: Bioactives and Allergens
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2015
Publication Date: 5/4/2016
Citation: Dean, L.L., Constanza, K.E., Davis, J.P., Sanders, T.H. 2016. Peanut fatty acids and their impact on human health. Peanuts: Bioactives and Allergens. Chapter 2:7-45.

Interpretive Summary: Peanut composition consists of approximately 50% lipids, of which the majority are triglycerides. The major fatty acids are palmitic, oleic and linoleic. The health effects of these fatty acids are of importance. Consumption of palmitic acid, the major saturated fatty acid present has been associated with increases in plasma cholesterol and diseases of the liver and gall bladder. Intake of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid has been found to lower serum cholesterol, blood pressure, risk of cardiovascular disease. Linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid, is an essential fatty acid in the human diet and is required for formation of docosapentaenoic acid which is further hydroxylated and aids in inhibition of platelet aggregation. It is also involved in membrane formation and prostaglandin synthesis. The health effects of the other fatty acid present at lower amounts is discussed. Chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are affected by fatty acid consumption in both positive and negative ways and the effects of peanut fatty acids are presented. Although the impact of individual fatty acids from peanut consumption cannot be isolated, the increased introduction of peanut cultivars with high levels of oleic acid will have more beneficial human health effects.

Technical Abstract: Peanuts contain a large amount of fat. Much of it is unsaturated, giving peanuts a positive effect on human health. A number of positive health effects from consuming peanuts have been reported in the scientific literature. These include lowering blood pressure, decreasing the risk of heart disease, reducing blood sugar and reduced cancer risk. Most of these health effects are attributed to the fat contained in peanuts. This book chapter reviews the effects of fatty acid from peanuts on human health.