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Peanut palooza: The good, the bad and the ugly of your favorite snack


Healthy or hazardous? When it comes to the popular peanut, the story isn’t that simple. Here’s a quick look at the benefits and drawbacks on snacking on peanuts and peanut butter.

The benefits:

  • Protein. An important building block for a healthy mouth and body, the protein in peanuts helps form and repair cells.
  • Monounsaturated fats. The “good fats” in peanut butter aren’t just beneficial to your heart. Research suggests that they can also decrease your chances of gum disease. Just make sure to buy brands with only natural peanut oils — not added fats.

The dangers:

  • The shell. Using your teeth to break the shell is a major no-no. You’ll risk chipping or even cracking a tooth, which can be seriously painful. Instead, use your hands or opt for the already shelled variety.
  • Sugar. Even though peanut butter boasts some great nutritional benefits, it may come with a load of unnecessary sugar. But there’s no reason for your diet to cause decay. Always check the ingredients and pick brands free of added sugars and syrups.
  • Sticky. Save peanut butter for when you’ve got a toothbrush handy. The sticky snack can stay on your teeth, promoting plaque-causing bacteria.

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