I heard a friend ask “are peanuts healthy” the other day, but all I knew to tell him was they were a good source of resveratrol and healthy fats.
So I did some research, a lot really and learned a ton. Did you know that the Nurses’ Health Study, which involved over 86,000 women, found a direct link between peanut consumption and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease? Are peanuts healthy? Well, read on…
A large number of studies found a 25 to 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease when one and a half ounces of peanuts, about 45 peanuts, or nuts were eaten five or more times a week. Those studies and many similar studies led to the US Food and Drug Administration to allow peanuts products to use this message:
“Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, such as peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. See nutrition information, for fat content.”
According to Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University, in the outcome of their randomized, double-blind, cross-over study said “diets that include peanuts and peanut butter daily reduce the risk of heart disease by 21 percent as compared to the average American diet, whereas a low-fat diet reduces the risk by only 12 percent compared to the average American diet.”
Peanuts and Peanut Butter are naturally cholesterol-free and contain primarily (nearly 80%)mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
So Are Peanuts Healthy? Well, that’s just the health benefits of peanuts on your heart. . .
Can Peanuts Improve Weight Loss?
It seems funny to me that one of the health benefits of peanuts would be weight loss. I’ve been told my whole life how peanuts are high in calories and are fatty. So how could that be possible?
A study published in the journal Obesity shows people who eat nuts twice per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than those who didn’t eat nuts. And this was no fly-by-night study. Over 2 years the Spanish researchers studied almost 9,000 people. And to add sprinkles to this cake, the peanut eating participants who did gain weight gained 1 pound less than the non-peanut eaters. So I ask, are peanuts healthy?
Study authors concluded, “Frequent nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of weight gain (5 kg or more). These results support the recommendation of nut consumption as an important component of a cardioprotective diet and also allay fears of possible weight gain.”
Because peanuts are chock full of the types of fats actually reduce cardiovascular disease risk, you actually eat less. Peanuts make you feel fuller faster. And while you are eating them – you’re helping your entire cardiovascular system.
Can Peanuts Prevent Cancer?
Colon cancer is the third most frequent cancer in the world. I thought Taiwan was a weird place to do a peanut study, but in Taiwan the risk from death of colon cancer rose 74% between 1993 and 2002. So some Taiwanese researchers decided to see if peanuts actually helped lower the risk.
Over 10 years, their study involved 24,000 men and women. The participants tracked their food intake of frequently eaten foods like sweet potatoes, bean product, pickled foods, lunch meats and peanuts. They found that eating peanuts 2 or more times each week reduced a male’s chance of colon cancer by 58% and a women’s by 27%.
What do you think the researchers of this study would say if you asked “are peanuts healthy?”
A Doctor Shows That Peanuts Lower Trigylcerides
Dr. Richard Mattes of Purdue University and his doctoral student Corinna Alper proved* in a study funded by the USAID that regular peanut consumption lowered trigylcerides even if you ADDED them to people’s regular diets.
Conducting three trails, Mattes and Alper make sure the foods the subjects had in common are peanuts.Healthy individuals in one trial reduced their regular dietary fat by 500 calories and replaced it with peanuts. The second test the subjects added 500 calories of peanuts to their regular diet and in the final test the subjects were allowed to use peanuts however they preferred.
In all three groups, the subjects’ triglyceride level – a risk factor for cardiovascular disease – was lowered significantly. “We have learned that regular peanut consumption lowers triglyceride levels by as much as 24 percent – even in the group where peanuts were added to regular dietary intake,” Mattes said. “We also saw no significant change in body weight, despite adding 500 calories of peanuts a day for eight weeks.
What If I Want The Health Benefits of Peanuts Without Eating Them?
Well, the reason we can answer yes to the question “are peanuts healthy?” is because of the nutrients found in peanuts.
Peas, lentils chickpeas and other beans are legumes, as are peanuts. Healthy legumes at that. There are four types of peanuts whose nutritional content differ but they all have the same great antioxidants that produce these healthy benefits. Resveratrol, Vitamin E, Oleic Acid, and B vitamins. They actually have more antioxidants that most fruits.
So if you want the health benefits, without having to eat peanuts all the time, try an antioxidant supplement that contains resveratrol and all the rest.
I hope this answers my friend’s question “are peanuts healthy?”.