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Healthier popcorn vs peanuts.

Popcorn vs Peanuts – Which is Healthier

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Our Verdict

When comparing air-popped popcorn to peanuts (without an allergy), we picked the peanuts.


Peanuts, if we were to list popular nuts in order of healthfulness, would not be near the top of the list. Many other nuts have more nutrients and fewer/lesser drawbacks.

But the comparison to popcorn shines a different light on it:

Popcorn has very few nutrients. It’s mostly carbs and fiber; it’s just not a lot of carbs because the manner of its consumption makes it a very light snack (literally). You can eat a bowlful and it was perhaps 30g. It has some small amounts of some minerals, but nothing that you could rely on it for. It’s mostly fresh air wrapped in fiber.

Peanuts, in contrast, are a much denser snack. High in calories yes, but also high in protein, their fats are mostly healthy, and they have not only a fair stock of vitamins and minerals, but also a respectable complement of beneficial phytochemicals: mostly assorted antioxidant polyphenols, but also oleic acid (as in olives, good for healthy triglyceride levels).

Another thing worth a mention is their cholesterol-reducing phytosterols (these reduce the absorption of dietary cholesterol, “good” and “bad”, so this is good for most people, bad for some, depending on the state of your cholesterol and what you ate near in time to eating the nuts)

Peanuts do have their clear downsides too: its phytic acid content can reduce the bioavailability of iron and zinc taken at the same time.

In summary: while popcorn’s greatest claim to dietary beneficence is its fiber content and that it’s close to being a “zero snack”, peanuts (eaten in moderation, say, the same 30g as the popcorn) have a lot to contribute to our daily nutritional requirements.

We do suggest enjoying other nuts though!

Read more: Why You Should Diversify Your Nuts!

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