Peanuts are believed to have originated in South America and to have been spread worldwide when Spanish explorers returned to Europe with them. From there, they traveled to Africa, Asia, and North America. Sometimes called groundnuts, goober peas, earthnuts, or ground peas, many cultures and cuisines use peanuts as a staple in their cooking. Despite being commonly classified as the most consumed nut in the world, peanuts are actually legumes! However, they share many characteristics with nuts including high amounts of protein, fatty acids, and fiber. Peanut products are an affordable, healthy meal and snack option and a new study published in the scientific journal Antioxidants shows that they may have surprising health benefits for your vascular system as well!
The study looks at the effects of regular peanut and peanut butter consumption in young adults between the ages of 18 and 33. Conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Barcelona, the study had participants consume either 25 grams a day of skin roasted peanuts, 32 grams per day of peanut butter, or 32 grams a day of a control butter that was a peanut oil product containing no fiber or polyphenols. The amount of peanuts and peanut butter consumed are equivalent to roughly one serving of peanuts per day. The participants consumed their assigned peanut product for 6 months while being monitored by the scientists. At the end of the study, the participants who had consumed the peanuts and peanut butter as opposed to the control butter showed markers that indicate improvement in vascular function.
The vascular system is also known as the circulatory system. Maintaining this system’s health is important because the vascular system is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout your body while removing waste from your tissues. Blood moves throughout your body through this system which is composed of arteries, capillaries, and veins. If the vascular system is weakened or blocked, it can lead to heart disease – which according to the CDC is the number one cause of death among adults in the United States.
While this study is promising, researchers would like to remind the public that more research is necessary to fully understand these findings. However, peanuts are delicious affordable nuts that also have a variety of other health benefits. Peanuts contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals that are important for health and may also help to promote satiety due to their high protein and fiber content. Additionally, peanuts contain antioxidants that may help to prevent various diseases. So next time you are looking for a snack, consider grabbing a package of peanuts! Or, check out one of Peaceful Dumplings peanutty recipes!
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Photo: Corleto Peanut Butter via Unsplash