The Wonder Nut:Health Benefits from Eating Peanuts
Peanuts have not been extensively studied as a brain healthy food, although there is good reason to believe that they offer brain benefits. But scientist have found out that eating peanuts has increased cognitive function to protection from Alzheimer’s, high antioxidant content for cardio-protective benefits, reduced risk of stroke and lowers risk of weight gain.
- Protect against Alzheimer’s and Age-related Cognitive Decline
In a research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry indicates regular consumption of niacin-rich foods like peanuts provides protection against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline.
Those getting the most niacin from foods ( 22 mg daily) were 70% less likely to have developed Alzheimer’s disease than those consuming the least (about 13 mg daily), and their rate of age-related cognitive decline was significantly less. One easy way to boost your niacin intake is to snack on a handful of peanuts- just a quarter cup provides about a quarter of the daily recommended intake for niacin (16 mg per day for men and 14 for women).
- Peanuts’ Antioxidants Key to their Heart-Health Benefits
According to the research of the British Journal of Nutrition when they identified several nuts among plant foods with the highest total antioxidant content, suggest nut’s high antioxidant content may be key to their cardio-protective benefits.
In this study, researchers have found out that those people consuming nuts at least 4 times a week showed a 37 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who never or seldom ate nuts. Each additional serving of nuts per week was associated with an average 8.3 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
Nuts’ high antioxidant content helps explain results seen in the Iowa Women’s Health Study in which risk of death from cardiovascular and coronary heart disease showed strong and consistent reductions with increasing nut/peanut butter consumption. Total death rates decreased 11 percent and 19 percent for nut/ peanut butter intake once per week and 1-4 times per week, respectively.
- Potentially Reduced Risk of Stroke Based on Preliminary Animal Studies
Resveratrol is a falconoid first studied in red grapes and red wine, but now also found to be present in peanuts. In animal studies on resveratrol itself (the purified nutrient given in intravenous from, not the food form), this phynutrient has been determined to improve blood flow in the brain by as much as 30 percent, thus greatly reducing the risk of stroke, according to the results of a laboratory animal study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Lead researcher Kwok Tung Lu hypothesized that resveratol exerted this very benefecial affect by stimulating the production and/or release of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule made in the lining of blood vessels (the endothelium) that signals the surrounding muscle to relax, dilating the blood vessel and increasing blood flow. In the animals that received resveratrol, the concentration of nitric oxide (NO) in the affected part of the brain was 25 percent higher than that seen not only in the ischemia- only group, but even in the control animals.
The jury is still out on peanuts however, since they contain far less resveratrol than the amounts used in the above study, and also less than the amount provided by red wine. An ounce of red wine can provide as much as 1,000 micrograms of resveratrol, and it almost always provide over 75 micrograms. The same ounce of peanut butter can only provide about 50 micrograms of resveratrol. Still, routine consumption of peanuts or peanut butter might turn out to be significant in terms of the resveratrol provided by this food.
- Eating Nuts Lowers Risk of Weight Gain
Although nuts are known to provide a variety of cardio-protective benefits, many avoid them for fear of weight gain. A prospective study published in the Journal Obesity such fear are groundless. In fact, people who eat nuts at least twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never eat nuts.
The 28- month study involving 8, 865 adult men and women in Spain, found that participants who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight that were participants who never or almost never ate nuts.
And, among the study participants gained weight, those who never or almost never ate nuts gained more ( an average of 424 grams more) than those who ate nuts at least twice weekly.
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 cardio protective diet and also allay fears of possible weight gain.
It’s been known for some time those nuts – which are rich in essential nutrients like fiber, protein, minerals, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants – have plenty of health benefits. One 2010 study notes that “By virtue of their unique composition, nuts are likely to beneficiary impact health outcomes. Epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced incident of coronary heart disease and gallstones in both genders and diabetes in women,” and “studies consistently show that nut intake has a cholesterol-lowering effect.”
But the study is to show that those benefits are so wide-ranging and encompassing. Proper nutrition is the key to good growth and the overall development of yourself.