There are lots of healthy nuts out there—just don’t forget the humble peanut! Not only do peanuts cram a ton of protein into a little package (about 7 grams per 1-ounce serving), they may also offer the promise of a longer, healthier life, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers tracked data on nearly 72,000 people in the U.S. and found that those who ate more than 18 grams of peanuts a day had a 21 percent lower risk of death from any cause. “Peanuts, like tree nuts, are rich in nutrients such as unsaturated fatty acids, fiber and vitamins, which are all beneficial for health,” says senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, MD. You can get the perks by working in either a small handful of whole nuts or 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter daily.

Want more ways to use peanuts? Check out the recipes below.

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Warm Peanut and Sesame Noodles

Turn regular spaghetti into a flavor-packed dish with this peanut butter sauce. You'll get protein, healthy fats, and minimal sodium. Get the recipe: Warm Peanut and Sesame Noodles

Photo: Quentin Bacon

Carrot Salad and Nut Butter-Ginger Dressing

Ditch calorie-packed creamy dressings and dress up your lunch salad with this nutty, spicy topping instead.  Get the recipe: Carrot Salad and Nut Butter-Ginger Dressing

Photo: Travis Rathbone

RELATED: 18 Ways to Cook with Peanut Butter

Dark Chocolate and Oat Clusters

Dark chocolate is rich in heart-healthy antioxidants, oats are filled with fiber, and peanut butter gives you a delicious dose of protein. Get the recipe: Dark Chocolate and Oat Clusters

Photo: Jim Bathie

Peanut-Butter-Cup Smoothie

If you love peanut butter candy but don’t want to derail your diet, try making this much healthier smoothie version. You only need five simple ingredients to kick-start your morning with 8.5 grams of belly-flattening protein. Get the recipe: Peanut-Butter-Cup Smoothie

Photo: William Dickey

RELATED: 9 Peanut Butter Dessert Recipes