Posted on Apr 20, 2023, 5 p.m.
A study from the University of Barcelona has found that eating peanuts and peanut butter may benefit the hearts of young, healthy people(1). The findings are significant since the incidence of heart disease, heart failure and endocarditis has been on the rise in young adults(2) – an alarming trend because those conditions are typically seen in an older population.
"The bottom-line finding is that peanuts can play an important role in promoting heart health by preventing atherosclerosis, reducing inflammation and improving vascular health," says Dr. Samara Sterling, a nutrition scientist and research director for The Peanut Institute. "It's encouraging because this is the first study of its kind to show this kind of protection in young people simply by eating peanuts."
The six-month study conducted by the University of Barcelona involved 63 healthy young adults ages 18-33 who included a single serving of peanuts or peanut butter in their regular, daily diet. Researchers discovered that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds in peanuts may lead to key changes in the gut microbiota, which in turn produce compounds that improve vascular biomarkers.
"There's an urgent need to focus cardiovascular disease education and prevention efforts on young adults," says Dr. Sterling. "The increases in high blood pressure and obesity are impacting the hearts of young people and leading to serious conditions that are usually seen in those who are decades older."
A serving of peanuts, which is about a handful, costs approximately 15 cents and delivers seven grams of plant-based protein plus 19 vitamins and minerals, heart-healthy fats and beneficial fiber. A daily serving of peanut butter is two tablespoons and costs about 19 cents.
"In addition to protecting the heart, optimal vascular health is important for a variety of other functions like cognition, memory, mental health and even sexual function," says Sterling.
Rosa M. Lamuela, professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences of the University of Barcelona and member of the Institute for Nutrition and Food Safety Research (INSA) and the Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBEROBN), led the study.
"In addition to helping lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, the consumption of nuts and peanuts has been linked to a lower risk of diabetes, especially due to the protective effect of the polyphenols found in these foods," says Isabella Parilli-Moser, first author of the study.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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References/Sources/Materials provided by:
- Parilli-Moser, I.; Domínguez-López, I.; Vallverdú-Queralt, A.; Hurtado-Barroso, S.; Lamuela-Raventós, R.M. "Urinary Phenolic Metabolites Associated with Peanut Consumption May Have a Beneficial Impact on Vascular Health Biomarkers". Antioxidants, March 2023. Doi: 10.3390/antiox12030698
- Allen N, Wilkins JT. The Urgent Need to Refocus Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Efforts on Young Adults. JAMA. 2023;329(11):886–887. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.2308