Are peanuts good for you?

Researchers at Harvard Medical School analysed the diets of more than 6,000 women who had type 2 diabetes, which can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The study suggested that eating peanuts or peanut butter at least five days a week can nearly halve the risk of a heart attack. Peanuts appear to lower bad cholesterol, reduce inflammation in the body and boost the health of blood vessels around the heart.

They found that those regularly eating peanuts had the greatest protection against heart attack and stroke. A report published in the Journal of Nutrition, claimed the risk was reduced by up to 44pc.

“Consumption of at least five servings a week of one ounce of nuts or one tablespoon of peanut butter was significantly associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.”

In Britain, it’s well known that poor diet and lifestyle has led to a surge in cases of type 2 diabetes, from 1.5 million five years ago to 2.2 5million now.

Ellen Mason of the British Heart Foundation said, “It is beneficial to include nuts in our diets as they are low in the saturated fats that raise our cholesterol. However peanut products can be full of added sugar or salt so check the label first. Also don’t forget that nuts are high in overall calories. Eating more of one food in isolation will not make a dramatic difference to your health if you are inactive and don’t have a balanced diet.”

Of course, peanuts are not really nuts but part of the legume family, which includes peas and beans. But it seems they have similar properties to nuts in general.

It would be interesting to compare these findings with results from other types of nut.

Published by DCO. © Copyright 2009, 2010 DCO.