You may have heard that eating a handful of nuts every day is good for your overall health. While this advice typically refers to walnuts and almonds, new research from Purdue University suggests that consuming peanuts offers many of the same health benefits.
The study ran for 12 consecutive weeks and included both men and women who were in good health. Participants were instructed to consume 1.5 ounces of peanuts every day for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the health of each individual was reassessed. Some participants ate only one flavor of peanuts, while others ate multiple flavors of peanuts daily. The peanuts were consumed either as part of a meal or as a snack between meals.
One of the most impressive findings of the study showed that participants who ate peanuts daily decreased their blood pressure readings dramatically. All of the test subjects demonstrated a lower blood pressure within the first two weeks of the study. The readings then stayed low for the remainder of the 12 weeks. The lower readings even occurred in those who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure prior to the start of the study. Study organizers theorize that the results are due to the high levels of a compound called arginine. According to the Peanut Institute, peanuts contain more protein and arginine than any other nut. Additionally, they contain high levels of other beneficial nutrients such as manganese, niacin, vitamin E, folate, magnesium, potassium, copper and phosphorus.
In addition to lowering blood pressure, peanuts also demonstrated the ability to lower cholesterol levels in study participants. Individuals who had been diagnosed with high cholesterol and high triglycerides at the start of the study had substantially lower levels at the end of it.
The study also examined whether flavorings applied to the peanuts had any detrimental effect on the nut’s health benefits. The resulting answer was that they did not. Participants who ate unsalted or salted peanuts had a slightly more substantial decrease in blood pressure than those who ate other flavors. However, all participants showed impressive decreases in cholesterol. Thus, snackers can reach for their spicy chili flavored peanuts with confidence that they are doing something good for their health.