Peanuts are a delicious, crunchy snack that many people enjoy in various forms like roasted, boiled, salted, or raw. They can also be enjoyed by themselves or slathered on a piece of bread to make peanut butter. The shells, however, can be a little tough and jagged, which can lead to people wondering if they are safe to eat.
In general, peanut shells aren't particularly healthy, although they do contain trace amounts of nutrients like water, crude protein, and cellulose. But the main concern is that they are very difficult to digest and can potentially build up in the intestines over time. This can cause a number of health issues including colitis and intestinal blockage.
Because of this, people should avoid eating the shells unless they are being consumed as part of an obsessive compulsion or craving that is associated with a mental disorder known as pica. Pica is a type of eating disorder wherein people crave non-nutritious substances like peanut shells. This condition is a serious problem and has been linked with schizophrenia, malnutrition, pregnancy, anemia, and developmental conditions like autism.
The good news is that, if someone really wants to eat peanut shells, it's fine in small quantities. Just be sure to eat them with the peanut inside so that the chewing action helps break down the shells and makes them easier to digest. Otherwise, it is best to skip the shells and focus on enjoying a nutrient-dense snack that includes a combination of fiber, protein, and healthy fats.