While many people know that nuts are beneficial for their health, some are wary of eating too many because of the high fat content.
However, research confirms that eating a portion of peanuts, or peanut butter, per day may help reduce the risk of heart disease, type II diabetes and gallbladder disease, without the risk of weight gain.
It appears there really is a lot more to the humble peanut than simply ‘good fats' in terms of decreasing the risk of disease.
So, what are the beneficial components of peanuts?
- Folic acid
- Monusaturated fats
- Antioxidants (comparable to broccoli and tomatoes!)
The cardioprotective effect
When a South African research team investigated the effects of nuts on blood fat levels, they found that eating 1½ to 3½ servings of nuts, at least 5 times a week, could significantly lower cholesterol levels.
This is exciting research, because it demonstrates the benefit of eating a diet rich in whole foods, such as nuts.
The largest study ever conducted on the relationship between nut intake and heart health also confirmed that regularly eating nuts, including peanuts could help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
Researchers concluded that simply two servings of nuts per week could help reduce the risk of death from heart disease by 11 percent.
Including nuts in a balanced diet
A lot of research has focused on the benefits of nuts alone, however the 2008 Institute of Food Technologists symposium confirmed that peanut products also have a beneficial impact on health. These include:
- Whole peanuts - 1 ounce serving
- Peanut oil
- Peanut butter - 2 tablespoons
- Fat-free peanut flour
These products are said to have similar positive health benefits, helping reduce the risk of heart disease. And the beneficial phytonutrients in peanut kernels and the skins are actually thought to increase through the processing method, which is great news.
The message is clear that replacing refined carbohydrates snacks with nuts could have a very positive impact on reducing the overall risk of chronic disease.
In fact, the OmniHeart Study showed that partially replacing carbohydrate foods with protein or monounsaturated fats can be more effective in reducing cardiovascular risk, that a simple low fat, high carb diet.
Nuts, including peanuts, provide a very useful source of protein and monounsaturated fat in the one package, so adding them into your diet could be a very healthy move indeed.
Here are six way to add more nuts to your diet:
1. Spread nut butter on your morning toast or bagel.
2. Sprinkle a handful of nuts over your salad at lunch.
3. Snack on celery sticks with nut butter for an afternoon pick-me-up.
4. Use peanut oil in stir-frys and salad dressings.
5. Add half peanut flour in your baked recipes.
6. Or simply enjoy a small handful of nuts as a healthy snack.
Published On: February 25, 2009