Grab a handful of heart healthy peanuts and nibble away. The popular snack found on bar tables and in nearly everyone’s cupboards can actually prolong your life!
A New Study
A new study conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute found that eating peanuts is linked to a lower mortality rate and can also reduce the risk of death caused by heart attack and stroke.
Participants for the study published earlier this year in JAMA Internal Medicine included more than 70,000 black and white low-income men and women in the United States, as well as more than 130,000 men and women in Shanghai. Researchers followed the subjects for up to 12 years and found that those who ate more nuts on a regular basis decreased their risk of death by 17 to 21% regardless of ethnicity. And cardiovascular deaths were reduced by about one quarter.
Different From Other Studies
Previous studies generally focused on higher-income, white participants, but researchers claim this analysis is the first of its kind to focus on other ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses. Those preceding studies also linked tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts to improved cardiovascular health, but failed to single out peanuts (which are actually legumes). But peanuts, which are more accessible and inexpensive than tree nuts, make the snack an easy option to incorporate into a diet and help improve heart health.
Incorporating Peanuts Into Your Diet
Much like tree nuts, peanuts are high in antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber, and monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial to heart health, and likely the cause of decreased mortality rates. Peanuts are also part of the Mediterranean diet, a plant-heavy eating plan that focuses on consuming fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, fish, and poultry. The diet has also been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease.
If you’re already snacking on peanuts, keep it up. If you’re not, add peanuts to your regular, well-balanced diet, but stick to the recommended serving size—a handful of nuts (one to 1.5 ounces) every day. And be sure to opt for low sodium or unsalted peanuts with no oil, as peanuts and other tree nuts are high in calories.