Peanut research is on my radar since my husband eats a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich every day. Happily for us, the research is always positive. My recent find from the March 2017 issue of The Journal of Nutrition looked at the health benefits of peanuts from a different angle.
Serum triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. Blood tests for serum triglycerides are taken while fasting. But there is growing evidence that postprandial (after-a-meal) increases in serum triglycerides are an independent risk factor for heart disease. Additionally, high postprandial triglycerides can be contributory to inflammation and oxidative stress.
Fifteen healthy overweight or obese men between the ages of 20-65 completed the study. Subjects had blood tests of triglycerides, glucose, insulin as well as endothelium (the thin membrane lining blood vessels) function before and after drinking either a shake with or without peanut powder. Both shakes had the same nutrient profile including the same amount of monounsaturated fat.
Consuming the shake with 3 ounces of peanut powder reduced postprandial triglycerides when compared to the nut-free shake with the same nutrient profile. The nut shake also had a positive impact on endothelial function. The authors suggest that inclusion of peanuts in a high-fat meal may have favorable postprandial cardio metabolic effects.
Similar findings have been reported for walnuts and pecans. All nuts have bioactive substances that are health promoting. Another study from last month demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering ability of cashews.
There are so many ways to boost crunch, flavor and nutrition with nuts. Toss slivered almonds into most any vegetable, add walnuts to oatmeal, and cashews to a stir fry. Pack an ounce of almonds in a plastic bag or small container for a super snack loaded with vitamin E. A few of my favorite recipe sites for nuts are https://www.walnuts.org/, http://www.almonds.com/ , http://nationalpeanutboard.org/ and http://www.americanpistachios.org/
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.