Peanut: Good for the Brain

Most of the nutrients that are essential to keep our body and health in perfect condition are acquired from the foods that we eat.

We should not just think of eating just to relieve the hunger but also eating to keep leaving. When most people think about food, they don’t think of it as a way to increase their brain power. That’s a mistake. Research has shown that certain foods can give us a mental boost. From helping us think clearer to making us feel happy, food is terrific way to keep our brain sharp.

There is a common food that can improve brain functioning and boost memory. These foods are rich in a variety of nutrients like Vitamin E, folate, niacin, manganese and protein. It’s time to enjoy some delicious and crunchy peanuts. Known by several names like groundnut, earthnut, monkey nut, pygmy nut, pignut or goober peas, peanut is a member of the legume family along with beans and peas. Thus, unlike its name, peanut is not really a nut but a legume and like most legumes, an excellent plant based source of protein.

Peanuts and peanut butter are nutritious foods for the brain. They contain many essential nutrients the brain and body require, while being low and sodium and cholesterol-free. Few foods are as versatile as peanuts and peanut butter, which also provide protein and other nutrients less expensively than many other foods.

The peanut and peanut butter are popular and nutritious foods, containing protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber and primarily unsaturated fat. Since the brain requires all of these nutrients to function properly, peanuts and peanuts butter are good natural source to nourish the brain and nervous system. Peanuts and peanut butter also are cholesterol-free and maintain heart health, making them good foods to include as part of a balanced diet.

Few foods are so packed with protein as the peanut and peanut butter. They contain 10% of the recommended daily intake or RDI of protein, according to the American Peanut Council. Protein is required for the brain to manufacture chemicals called neurotransmitters, which brain cells use to communicate with one another. Two important neurotransmitters are nor epinephrine and dopamine.

Peanuts and peanut butter are good sources of particular vitamins the brain needs to function properly. They contain high amounts of vitamin E, which brain cells use as an antioxidant to protect them from chemical breakdown. These foods are also rich in niacin, a B vitamin the brain uses to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related degeneration. Another B vitamin, folate, is also found in high concentrations in peanuts and peanuts butter. A pregnant woman needs folate in her diet in order for her fetus to develop a normal brain. Folate deficiency can cause a birth defect known as anencephaly, where the baby’s brain forms outside its skull.

The brain requires certain minerals that the body turns into electrolytes, which then become absorbed by cells. Peanuts and peanut butter are especially rich in magnesium, copper, phosphorus and potassium, containing 10-12% of the RDI for these minerals. Each of these minerals is important for brain and nerve cells to generate electrical signals in order to communicate with themselves and the rest of the body.

Many people think that eating nuts is good for the brain. A large study from Harvard recently found that eating nuts was strongly correlated with longevity. In the study of over 100,000 people, the researcher found that people who ate the nuts daily had a 20% lower death rate compared to people who didn’t eat nuts.

However, from a brain health perspective, not all nuts are created equally. There is great variation in the health benefits to be found in different types of nuts, especially from a brain health perspective.

Walnuts are the top nut for brain health. They have a significantly high concentration of DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid. Among other things, DHA has been shown to protect brain health in newborns, improve cognitive performance in adults, and prevent or ameliorate age-related cognitive decline.

Additional research has found that people with walnuts and walnuts oil in their diets have lower resting blood pressure as well as lower blood pressure responses to stress in the laboratory.

Almonds and Hazelnuts are two of the most concentrated sources of vitamin E available, and vitamin E intake is generally associated with less-age related cognitive decline. In one study, participants who received vitamin E improved statistically and clinically in some memory and verbal measure, while participants who received a placebo did not. ¼ cup of almonds or hazelnuts packs in nearly 50% of the RDA for vitamin E.

Peanuts have not been extensively studied as a brain healthy food, but there is good reason to believe that they offer brain benefits. Peanuts are high in niacin (1/2 cup of peanuts offers about 50% of the RDA for niacin). Studies have correlated niacin deficiencies with a higher incidence of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. There has also been preliminary research that suggests that eating peanuts may help stave off Parkinson’s.

To boost memory power are high levels of Vitamin B3 or Niacin content aid brain function and boost memory power. Fatty acid provides excellent nutrition for nerve cells in the brain.

Additionally, a falconoid called Resveratrol helps improve blood flow to the brain significantly. Peanuts have low amounts of saturated fat, which is found in many animal products, and have no trans fat at all. A study by the US Department of Agriculture found that levels of trans fat are non-detectable in all types of peanut butter, and yes, even the creamy kind.

When peanuts are included in the diet as a protein source, studies show that blood pressure is lowered, this also may benefit heart disease risk.  Peanuts have a unique mix of functional components, vitamins, and minerals that help the body prevent heart disease.  So, do yourself a favor and continue to enjoy peanuts and peanut butter each day.

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/445843-are-peanuts-brain-food/

http://www.studyskillsblog.com/peanut-as-brain-booster/

http://www.braintraining101.com/five-fun-foods-that-can-increase-your-brain-power/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=101

http://www.biotechpharmacal.com/2012/04/food-for-thought-good-nutrition-for-the-brain/

http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-healthy-foods-nutrition/nuts-brain-health

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