Good for Every Body
A number of studies looked at the health benefit of peanuts in adults. They tell us that peanuts lowers cholesterol, help prevent chronic disease, help manage hunger and weight, and they improve the nutrient quality of our diets.
Peanuts improve nutrient intake
Data reported from the Continuing Survey of Food Intake by Individuals and Diet and Health Knowledge Survey (CSFII/DHKS) from 1994-1996 showed that women who consumed peanuts had higher intakes of healthy fats, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron leading to higher healthy eating index scores. Folate is important to women of childbearing age to help prevent neural tube defects in fetal development, while iron can contribute to reducing anemia in women. The nutrient contribution from peanuts is one reason why the Women, Infants, and Children program has included peanut butter in food packages for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Women who eat peanuts have a lower body mass index according to CSFII/DHKS data. So if you are trying to manage weight, they are great to start including in a healthy diet. Just a handful a day is all that is needed.
Less risk of diabetes
The Nurses’ Health Study included over 80,000 women who were all studied in regards to type 2 diabetes. In those who consumed an ounce of peanuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter 5 or more times per week, risk of type 2 diabetes was lowered over 20%.
Less heart disease in those who are diabetic
In over 6,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study who had type 2 diabetes, those who consumed at least 5 servings per week of peanuts (1 ounce) or half a serving of peanut butter also significantly reduced their risk of heart disease. In fact, the American Diabetes Association website shows that nuts like peanuts “can go a long way in providing key healthy fats along with hunger management.”
Post-menopausal women with high cholesterol who were fed a low-fat diet that included healthy fats from peanuts ended up improving their cholesterol. Peanuts can be added to all types of diets at any age and the research continues to show their benefits. They also have phytosterols, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Reduced mortality from heart disease
In over 30,000 postmenopausal women studied, those who ate nuts and seeds including peanuts more than 4 times per week had a 40% risk reduction in death from coronary heart disease. Imagine that! Adding a small amount of peanuts to your diet can have a large impact.
Decreased risk of colon cancer
The effects of nut and seed intake on colorectal cancer risk was studied within a large population study in Europe called the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Researchers found that women with the highest intake of nuts and seeds, including peanuts had the lowest risk for colon cancer.
Reduced incidence of gallstone disease
Women from the Nurses’ Health Study who ate 5 or more servings of peanuts per week were less likely to have gallstone disease. Since this disease has been on the rise, it is great to know that making some dietary changes can help reduce the risk.
Reduced mortality from coronary heart disease
Over 20,000 male physicians were followed in the US Physicians’ Health Study. Compared to those who rarely or never ate nuts such as peanuts, those who ate them two or more times per week cut their risk of cardiac death in half and their risk of coronary heart disease by a third.
Whether you’re a modern-day woman that’s always on the go or a young woman stepping out into the world on your own for the first time, peanuts and peanut butter give you the energy/strength to do so.