Eating peanuts reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and does so without promoting weight gain, according to a study.
Researchers found that regular peanut consumption lowers triglyceride levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, by as much as 24 percent, and study participants had no significant change in body weight.
Since peanuts are high in fat they are often viewed as unhealthy, but researchers point out that they contain healthy fats that contribute to the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk. Along with monosaturated fatty acids, peanuts also contain magnesium, folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine and fiber, all of which have cardiovascular disease risk-reducing properties.
Purdue News July 31, 2003
This study points out some interesting facts; however, the authors fail to appreciate several important points about peanuts such as:
- They are loaded with omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio
- They are frequently contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin
- Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crops
Fortunately, there are some relatively safe ways to reduce these negative effects. First, you can obtain Arrowhead Mills organic peanut butter. These peanuts are grown in New Mexico, and aflatoxin has not been reported to be a problem in that state due to the dry conditions. The organic version of the peanut butter is also pesticide free.
Additionally, you can pour off the oil that settles on the top of the peanut butter jar rather than stirring it into the peanut butter, as this will lower the omega-6 content. If this makes it too dry for your taste you can stir in some olive oil or macadamia nut oil, both of which are very low in omega-6 fats and far higher in safe monounsaturated fats. Avoid using canola oil as a filler, as it is fraught with other potential problems.
To increase the protein in peanut butter (peanuts have about the same amount of protein as soy), Brewers yeast can be mixed in. This is especially useful for vegetarians.