Peanuts are one of the most delicious and healthiest snacks but can peanuts raise your cholesterol levels?
Though peanuts are high in calories and fats, they do not raise your bad cholesterol. Rather several studies have concluded that eating a handful of peanuts every day can be very beneficial for your heart health.
Many people believe that because of the high-fat content in peanuts, they can increase the bad cholesterol level and cause weight gain. But research and studies prove otherwise.
Peanuts are rich in high-quality monosaturated fats which are proven to reduce the growth of bad cholesterol and protect heart health. In addition to that, peanuts contain many essential nutrients like biotin, copper, folate, vitamin E, manganese, thiamine, phosphorus, and magnesium. It is also a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
Peanuts and Cholesterol: What does the research say?
Research shows that consuming peanuts at least twice a week can improve heart health. A study quoted that women who consumed peanuts were found to have a lower risk of heart disease by 34%. Another study found that women with diabetes who were given peanuts five times a week had a lower risk of heart disease by 44 percent.
Not just that, Harvard researchers found that people who ate peanuts at least twice a week reported a 15 percent lower risk of heart disease. Other studies have suggested that consuming peanuts 5 times a week can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Another study quoted that eating peanuts daily can reduce the risk of death by heart disease by 29%. A clinical study examined the effects of consuming peanuts for 12 weeks. The participants were healthy and weren’t suffering from any pre-existing conditions. After 12 weeks, the participants reported a significant decrease in blood pressure. The findings were similar for both salted and unsalted peanuts.
Studies suggest that the arginine found in peanuts promotes the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels. Thus, causing the vessels to widen and easing blood flow. This aids in lowering blood pressure.
Heart benefits of eating peanuts
1. Peanuts can help manage Cholesterol
It is the trans saturated fats that raise the bad cholesterol in the blood and lead to fatty deposits inside the arteries. These deposits can clog up the arteries and result in heart disease. Peanuts do not contain these trans-saturated fats. They are rich in monosaturated fats which help lower the levels of LDL in the blood. It is also rich in protein and fiber which can help reduce cholesterol.
2. Peanuts can lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Research shows that peanuts can help manage blood pressure and curb the risk of its associated heart diseases. Peanuts are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium, which can help control your blood pressure. It also contains manganese, niacin, copper, and phytochemicals like resveratrol and phytosterols.
3. Peanuts are rich in Antioxidants
Rich in antioxidants, peanuts help protect the cells against damage caused by free radicals. This oxidative damage caused by free radicals is responsible for many chronic diseases ranging from heart disease to cancer. The antioxidant content in peanuts is as high as in strawberries. Peanut skin is rich in antioxidants and resveratrol, both of which are good for heart health.
4. Peanuts can help prevent inflammation
Several nutrients in peanuts including magnesium, vitamin E, arginine, phenolic compounds, and fiber can help fight inflammation. Inflammation is the main reason responsible for heart disease, arthritis, and a range of other chronic ailments. A study quoted that eating peanuts is associated with lower levels of inflammation.
5. Peanuts can lower the risk of Diabetes
Several studies have reported that diabetes can increase the risk of heart disease by many folds. High blood sugar can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. Research has shown that eating peanuts is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Peanuts can help manage weight
Rich in monosaturated fats and calories, peanuts in the right amounts can aid in weight loss. Peanuts are also rich in good-quality protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. It can keep you satiated for a long time and help you avoid unnecessary food cravings. Furthermore, peanuts aid in boosting your metabolism and improving your core strength.
Peanuts are generally safe and healthy when consumed in the right amount. However, some people might experience allergic reactions to nuts. So, if you have a potential allergy or family history then you should consider consulting a doctor or avoiding having peanuts.
Also, peanuts are susceptible to contamination, especially aflatoxins which are produced by a fungus. Experts have marked aflatoxins as a carcinogenic substance which means a cancer-causing substance. So, make sure to eat fresh peanuts and store them properly in a tight container.
Peanuts are one of the most widely consumed snacks, either in the form of nuts or peanut butter, or chutney. Some like it roasted, some salted, and some boiled. There are different ways of including this healthy snack in your diet. So, unless you are allergic to nuts, make sure to take a handful of peanuts every day or at least 5 times a week. It will not only keep your heart healthy but also your metabolism strong, your weight under control, and your skin young!