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Inflammation in the body is a mechanism thought to be at the center of the majority of chronic disease. Certain inflammatory factors in our blood like C-reactive protein (CRP), for example, have been identified as predictors of cardiovascular disease. Fortunately, the foods you choose to eat can have an impact on inflammation. Population studies and smaller human studies have led to the understanding that some dietary factors may play a role in reducing inflammation (Nettleton, 2006). Certain fats, antioxidants, dietary fiber, arginine, and magnesium are components that have been shown to help regulate inflammation (Salas-Salvado, 2007). Foods with low glycemic loads have shown to decrease inflammation as well (Neuhouser ML).
A relationship has also been observed between frequent peanut consumption and reduced inflammatory factors (Jiang, 2006). Peanuts contain many of the components shown to impact inflammation. This may be part of the reason that peanuts are beneficial, but the great thing about peanuts is that they have all of these components together in one small package. Further, reduced inflammation with peanut intake may be contributing the association that is seen with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Since many Americans take in levels of magnesium that are lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), a small amount of peanuts daily is a great way to boost intake. A study at Purdue University showed that eating peanuts every day increases blood magnesium too (Alpher, 2003)!
In those with intakes of magnesium below the RDA, one study showed that CRP was more likely to be elevated. Another study looking at over 11,000 women from the Women’s Health Study showed that low magnesium intake was associated with an increased risk of inflammation (Song, 2005).