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Peanut protein and bioactives help keep arteries healthy

An exciting study from The Pennsylvania State University demonstrates a new way in which peanuts are heart healthy. This study is the first to show that the combination of peanut protein, bioactives, vitamins and minerals help keep your arteries flexible.1

Key Findings:

  • First study to show that the peanut protein and bioactives help keep arteries flexible
  • Peanuts prevent arteries from stiffening after a high fat meal
  • Peanuts reduce the rise in triglycerides by 32%

Peanuts Help Keep Arteries Flexible

The human body has up to 100,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries.2 These blood vessels carry oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and must remain flexible in order to work properly.

After a high-fat meal, levels of fat in the blood tend to rise rapidly, causing blood vessels to become stiff. Over time this stiffening causes the heart to work harder, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In this study, participants who ate peanuts as part of a high fat shake reduced the rise in blood triglycerides by 32% compared to a control shake. The control and peanut shakes were carefully designed to have the same fatty acid profile, therefore researchers attribute this response to peanut protein and bioactives.

Remarkably, peanuts also caused the participants’ arteries to remain open and flexible, despite the shake having a whopping 50% of its calories from fat.

Peanut Protein and Bioactives

Peanut protein, along with bioactives, vitamins and minerals likely play a major role in preventing this stiffening response. Peanuts contain more protein than any other nut and, more arginine than almost all other foods. This is important because arginine is used to make nitric oxide, a vasodilator that helps keep blood vessels open and elastic.

This study is unique because it is the first to show that peanut protein and bioactives work together to keep arteries flexible after a high fat meal. 

Decades of research show that the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts lower blood cholesterol and significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.3 Peanuts recieved a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Qualified Health Claim for Heart Health in 2003, and peanuts are also among the list of foods certified by The American Heart Association's Heart-Check program.

Read the study.

Read the American Society for NutritionPenn State and The Peanut Institute Press Releases.

Read more about the study in the Artery Health issue of Food for Thought.

Find heart-healthy recipes.

Read more about the protective nutrients and bioactives in peanuts.

1. Liu X, Hill AM, West SG, Gabauer RM, McCrea CE, Fleming JA, Kris-Etherton PM. Acute Peanut Consumption Alters Postprandial Lipids and Vascular Responses in Healthy Overweight or Obese Men. J Nutr 2017.
2. The Franklin Institute. The Heart: Engine of Life. Accessed 03-30-17 at:
3. Aune D, Keum N, Giovannucci EL, et al. Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMC Med 2016;14(207).



Read the American Society for Nutrition press release

Peanuts are among the list of foods certified by the American Heart Association. Click here to learn more.