Eating Peanuts With Your Meal Can Help Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke
Research has shown your blood levels of fat rise after a meal, which increases the risk of a deadly or disabling heart attack or stroke. A new study has found that when peanuts are eaten with a meal, this clot-causing spike in blood fat decreases by one-third.
“Typically, whenever we eat something, it causes the arteries to get a little bit stiffer during the post-meal period, but we have shown if you eat peanuts with your meal, this can help prevent the stiffening response,” said researcher Professor Penny Kris-Etherton.
Scientists from Pennsylvania State University recruited 15 healthy, but overweight, men for the experiment. All the participants ate a control meal with a shake. The shake of one group contained 3 ounces of ground, unsalted peanuts, while the shake of the control group contained no nuts but had similar quantity and quality of nutrients. Blood samples were taken 30, 60, 120 and 240 minutes following the meal to measure lipoprotein, lipid and insulin levels. The after-meal tests showed the group who ate the peanuts had a 32-percent reduction in triglyceride levels — a fat in the bloodstream — compared to the control group.
Prior research has provided growing evidence that the spike in triglycerides following a meal is an independent risk factor for heart disease. It also has suggested that an elevation in triglycerides increases arterial stiffness. Therefore, since peanuts lower post-meal triglycerides, they will also reduce arterial stiffness and decrease the risk of cardiovascular events.
“When the stiffening response happens in the cells that line the arteries, resulting in decreased elasticity in the arteries, it can limit the availability of nitric oxide, and when there’s less nitric oxide, the arteries don’t dilate that much,” added Kris-Etherton. “What you want is a dilation of the arteries and for them to be really elastic.”
The researchers noted that 3 ounces of ground peanuts is approximately 3 times the size of an average serving. They believe eating peanuts with a meal should produce the same effect. The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.
All Nuts Have Impressive Health Benefits
All nuts have nutrients and other constituents that render positive health effects. A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found snacking on a handful of nuts per day reduces the risk of death from cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Nuts also offer protection from respiratory disorders, such as emphysema, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This food contains healthy fat as well as antioxidants, fiber and vitamins. Interestingly, the lowly peanut shares the health-boosting properties of tree nuts.
What about peanut butter? The 2015 study found no protective effect, probably because the trans fat in the vegetable oil and salt cancel out the beneficial properties of the peanuts.
Clearly, research shows nuts are nutrition powerhouses. It’s best to eat them raw and unsalted. Put some in a baggie and take it to work for a healthy snack. Moreover, adding them to almost any dish will make it more tasty and nutritious.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.