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Peanuts are obtained from the leguminous plant Arachis hypogaea; they contain fatty acids, protein, fibre, and polyphenols. The nutrient-rich snack can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, according to research. The study, carried out by scientists at the University of Barcelona, included the participation of 63 healthy adults, aged between 18 to 33.
For six months, the participants included a daily portion of peanut products into their regular diet.
Professor Rosa Lamuela said: “In this study group, it is more difficult to see any effect of dietary changes on health.”
The professor at the faculty of pharmacy and food sciences revealed that participants who ate peanuts had a “significant increase in urinary levels of phenolic metabolites”.
This was in comparison to the control group, which had eaten cream without fibre or polyphenols.
Professor Lamuela added: “Similarly, participants who ate peanuts or peanut butter also showed improved levels of prostacyclin I2.
“And [improved] the ratio between thromboxane A2 and prostacyclin I2 lipid molecules (eicosanoids), which are considered markers of vascular health.”
The study reinforced the hypothesis that polyphenols offer a protective effect against cardiovascular disease.
Peanuts and peanut butter are said to have “antithrombotic and vasodilator effects”.
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The consumption of peanuts had also been linked to a lower risk of diabetes.
However, the research authors noted: “We need more studies to fully understand the mechanisms that explain the positive effects of peanut consumption on vascular health.”
Improving vascular health
The vascular charity Circulation Foundation highlighted risk factors that contribute to poor vascular health.
These risk factors are:
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Diet and weight.
Anybody who has high blood pressure or high cholesterol must manage their condition effectively in order to improve vascular health.
Additional measures include eating a healthy diet, being a healthy weight, and having regular medical examinations (at least once annually).
In the UK, the NHS offers a free Health Check service for people between the ages of 40 to 74.
The NHS Health Check is designed to spot early signs of:
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
Patients should be invited at least every five years, with others requiring more regular monitoring.
If you would like support in leading a healthier lifestyle, it could be beneficial to talk to your healthcare team.
The research paper is published in the journal Antioxidants, and was carried out by the ARISTOTLE project.
The ARISTOTLE project is an initiative to analyse the prebiotic and postbiotic effects of consuming peanut products, promoted by The Peanut Institute (in the United States).
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