Peanuts are a big ally for a healthy heart

Studies of diets with special emphasis on peanuts have shown that this little legume is a big ally for a healthy heart.

Results of the Iowa Women’s Health Study showed strong and consistent reductions of risk of death from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease with increasing peanut consumption. Total death rate decrease 11% for peanut intake once per week.

Results of a review study of the evidence linking peanuts and lower risk of coronary heart disease which was published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that subjects consuming peanuts at least 4 times a week showed a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who never or seldom ate nuts.

That peanuts are indeed an ally for a healthy heart can be attributed to the fact that peanuts are a rich source of monounsaturated fat, a good fat that has amazing health benefits. Aside from lower risk for heart disease and stroke, monounsaturated fat decreases risk for breast cancer, reduces cholesterol levels, weight loss, and less severe pain and stiffness of those who have rheumatoid arthritis, and reduced belly fat.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Industry showed that resveratrol, a flavonoid first studied in red grapes and red wine, but now also found to be present in peanuts has been determined to improve blood flow in the brain by as much as 30%, thus greatly reducing the risk of stroke.

Peanuts are also as rich in antioxidants as many fruits. Roasted peanuts do not only rival the antioxidant content of blackberries and strawberries, but are far richer in antioxidants than apples, carrots or beets.

A research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, which identified several nuts among plant foods with the highest total antioxidant content, suggests peanuts’ high antioxidant content may be a key to their cardio-protective benefits.

In addition to their monounsaturated fat content, peanuts contain an array of other nutrients that, in numerous studies, have been shown to promote heart health.

Peanuts contain a good amount of folate which helps promote fertility. Studies have shown that women who had a daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during early pregnancy reduced their risk of having a baby born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.

Peanuts are a good source of manganese which is vital in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption, and blood sugar regulation.

Peanuts have been tagged as a “brain food” because of their vitamin B3 or niacin content which boosts memory power and normal brain functioning. A study has shown that those who have an intake of most niacin-rich foods like peanuts were 70% less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease.

Peanuts contain copper which aids in reducing bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels. Phytosterols are also found in high concentrations in peanuts. Phytosterols not only protect against cardiovascular disease by interfering with the absorption of cholesterol, they also protect against cancer by inhibiting tumor growth.#