Originally published March 28 2015
Eating more peanuts may reduce your mortality risk by 21 percent
by Jennifer Lilley
(NaturalNews) In the first study to assess nuts' health benefits across all races and not just high-income, white populations as has previously been studied, researchers have found that consumption of the food is heart-protective. Specifically, peanuts were linked to a lower incidence of death stemming from heart disease -- as much as a 21 percent reduction in mortality in lower-income Americans of African and European decent.
To conduct the study, researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Shanghai Cancer Institute assessed three large, ongoing cohort studies over more than five years, taking into consideration factors such as smoking habits, alcohol intake, metabolic conditions and mass body index.
Those studied included over 70,000 Americans of African and European descent with a mostly low income from the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) and more than 130,000 Chinese from the Shanghai Women's Health Study (SWHS) and the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS). A series of questionnaires about nut consumption, along with review of National Death Index and Social Security Administration mortality records and even home visits were analyzed across the three groups.
Peanuts, the legume with heart-healthy benefits Ultimately, it was determined that peanuts, which are actually a legume, have similar heart benefits as other touted nuts such as walnuts and almonds. The researchers discovered that among the U.S. group, people who ate the most peanuts were 21 percent less likely to die during the time of the study. As for the Chinese group who consumed peanuts, their total risk of dying was 17 percent lower when compared to Chinese people who did not regularly eat nuts.
The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine in an article titled, "Prospective Evaluation of the Association of Nut/Peanut Consumption With Total and Cause-Specific Mortality." It states that the study was conducted to evaluate what heart and related reduced mortality benefits might exist among peanut eaters who fell into a wide range of races as well as a lower socioeconomic status (SES) than other groups previously studied. An abstract about the article concludes:
Nut consumption was associated with decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality across different ethnic groups and among individuals from low SES groups. Consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.
Peanuts affordable, "rival fruit as a source of antioxidants" "Nuts are rich in nutrients, such as unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, arginine and other phytochemicals. All of them are known to be beneficial to cardiovascular health, probably through their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and endothelial function maintenance properties," says Xiao-Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D. In addition to being the senior author of the paper that details the findings, Shu is also the associate director for Global Health at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) as well as a professor of Medicine in the Department of Epidemiology.
In fact, so healthy are peanuts that the World's Healthiest Foods website explains that "peanuts rival fruit as a source of antioxidants." The site goes on to say that they contain more antioxidants than apples, carrots, strawberries, blackberries and beets; only pomegranate was noted to have more of the beneficial compound. Several studies are mentioned on this web site, honing in on the health benefits of peanuts including heart, anti-colon cancer and an ability to diminish Alzheimer's-related decline.
So, what are you waiting for?
Of course, if you have peanut allergies, avoid this food. Otherwise, take this study's findings more seriously and eat, or eat more, peanuts. Even the American Heart Association encourages eating peanuts, urging people to enjoy unoiled, unsalted nuts (they recommend eating four 1.5-ounce servings weekly) so you experience improved health, affordably.
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