A new study conducted at Penn State University suggests that eating peanuts leads to supple arteries, which in turn can stave off cardiovascular disease, according to a press release from the university. The study involved having 15 overweight and obese men drink a shake with three ounces of ground unsalted peanuts added. A control group drank a shake that did not contain the peanuts. The researchers drew blood at various time intervals to measure the presence of blood lipids and used an ultrasound machine to measure blood flow.
The group that drank the peanut enhanced shake with their meal had a 32 percent decrease in triglyceride levels compared to the control group. A spike in triglycerides causes a stiffening of the walls of the arteries, which in turn reduces the levels of nitric oxide, which causes the arteries to not dilate as much. This process can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease by limiting blood flow and making the heart work harder than necessary.
The researchers think that the same effect can be achieved by eating three ounces of peanuts whole with every meal. Three ounces is about three times the typical serving size of peanuts.
Peanuts are already recognized as being heart healthy because they are high in monounsaturated fat. They are also rich in antioxidants that promote heart health. Peanuts are part of the famous Mediterranean diet that many have pursued to maintain cardiovascular health.
The next step that the Penn State researchers plan to take is to repeat the experiment on a larger group that is comprised of both men and women.
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