Can You Eat Peanut Shells? Health Benefits of This Extra Crunchy Trend

by Ella

Peanuts are a beloved snack known for their versatility and nutritional benefits. However, a new trend has emerged where people consume peanuts with their shells still intact, claiming that the health benefits and taste justify this unconventional method. Is there any truth to this trend? Is it safe to eat peanut shells, or should they be discarded? Let’s delve into the reasons behind this trend and evaluate the pros and cons of consuming peanut shells.

Can You Eat Peanut Shells?

You are neither a chipmunk nor a squirrel, so it’s understandable if you question the safety of consuming peanut shells. According to, some individuals do eat peanut shells, possibly due to their salty flavor, crunchy texture, and fiber content.


Matthew Kassel, a writer for MyRecipes, shares his enjoyment of eating peanuts whole, shell included. He describes the “explosion of sodium” taste from a salted shell as preferable to the “earthy” taste of an unsalted one. However, several considerations must be addressed before jumping on this trend.


The Risks of Eating Peanut Shells

Pesticide Contamination: If your peanuts are not organic, the shells may be contaminated with pesticides used during the growth process. These chemicals can pose health risks if ingested.


Indigestible Fiber: Peanut shells are composed of about 60 percent crude fiber, a type of indigestible fiber. According to YSI, an environmental resource company, consuming too much of this fiber can lead to gastrointestinal distress and place a burden on the intestines. In extreme cases, it could cause a mass to form that might require surgical removal.


Disordered Eating Patterns: Developing a craving for non-nutritious, non-food items, such as peanut shells, may be a sign of a condition known as pica. This disordered eating behavior can have serious long-term health effects, including colitis, which is the inflammation of the colon lining. If you suspect any disordered eating patterns, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately.

Can You Eat Pumpkin Seed Shells?

If consuming peanut shells may lead to health concerns, what about pumpkin seed shells? According to nutrition expert Lizzie Streit, M.S., R.D.N., L.D., pumpkin seed shells are safe for most people to eat. Streit notes that the shells offer twice the beneficial fiber content of commercially sold shelled pumpkin seeds and provide nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper.

However, individuals with conditions like Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or those who need to monitor their fiber intake should consult with a medical professional before making dietary changes. For most people, roasted pumpkin seeds, especially with a dash of cinnamon, can be a tasty and nutritious treat.

Can You Eat Sunflower Seed Shells?

Little League baseball players might inadvertently swallow sunflower seed shells, but is it safe to consume them intentionally? According to Healthline, you should avoid eating sunflower seed shells due to their high insoluble fiber content. While sunflower seeds are a popular snack, the edible kernel should be removed from the shell before swallowing to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.


Eating peanut shells is a trend that some people enjoy for their salty flavor and crunch, but it comes with significant risks. Pesticide contamination, indigestible fiber, and the potential for disordered eating patterns are critical concerns. While consuming peanut shells might seem like a crunchy adventure, the potential health risks suggest it’s best to discard them.

On the other hand, pumpkin seed shells can be a nutritious addition to your diet, provided you do not have any conditions that require you to limit fiber intake. Sunflower seed shells, however, are best avoided due to their potential to cause digestive issues.

In the end, while it’s fascinating to explore unconventional food trends, it’s essential to prioritize safety and nutrition. When in doubt, consulting with a healthcare professional can help you make informed decisions about what to include in your diet.



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