The Adventist Health Study conducted at Loma Linda University has indicated that consumption of nuts at least once per week lowers the risk of heart disease by 25 percent (of the 31,200 people surveyed peanuts accounted for 32 percent of the nuts eaten). Consumption of nuts five or more times a week doubles the protection, the study concluded.
The Harvard Nurses Health Study followed the eating habits of over 86,000 nurses for 14 years. Women who frequently ate small amounts of nuts, including peanuts, lowered their risk of heart disease by about a third, compared to women who rarely ate nuts, said Dr. Frank Hu, principal investigator of the study. It is estimated that peanuts and peanut butter compromised more than half the nuts eaten by women in this study.
The Physicians Health Study conducted on over 22,000 male physicians by Harvard researchers, reported that, ìas nut consumption increased, the risk of cardiac death decreased. In addition, eating peanuts frequently seemed to protect those who did have heart attacks from dying.
Peanuts are a good source of Folate: an essential vitamin for healthy babies and healthy hearts. The March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation recommends including folate in the diet in the earliest weeks of pregnancy for preventing neural tube birth defects. The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of child bearing age consume 400 micrograms of folic acid/folate daily.
Eat Peanuts to get folic acid. Eating enough of the B vitamin, folic acid, in the first weeks of pregnancy can prevent certain disabling birth defects. Additionally, studies show that folate consumption may aid in decreasing incidence of stroke and coronary disease among the elderly.
With these findings in mind the Government recommends increased folate consumption. Women of childbearing age, according to FDA, should consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. On average most only get half that.
A peanut butter sandwich or a snack of peanuts are an easy tasty way to incorporate more folic acid into the diet. For example a one ounce serving of peanuts delivers as much as 17.5% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of folate. When spread on enriched bread, peanut butter delivers even more.
Eating enough folic acid can cut by up to 50 percent a woman's risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect in which the brain and spinal cord form improperly. In addition to peanuts and peanut butter other sources of folic acid are enriched bread and grains, citrus fruits and dark leafy vegetables.
Peanuts are good for people with Diabetes. Peanuts have a low Glycemic Index, which makes them an appropriate food for diabetic diets.
The Glycemic Index measures a food's potential for raising or lowering blood sugar levels. White bread is used as the reference with an index of 100. To compare, peanuts have a desirable low response level of 13. The lower the level, the better.
Blood sugar levels can regulate appetites, energy, moods and control the way food is turned into fat or fuel. Low response foods such as peanuts boost energy levels, burn off calories and build muscle.
In addition to being a low response food, peanuts' good taste and portability make them a favorite snack of diabetic (and non-diabetic) recreational athletes for maintaining their energy levels.
Scientist also find that consumption of at least 400 micrograms is important for all segments of the population to decrease risks of coronary heart disease (in the U.S. 88 percent of adults do not get the recommended 400 micrograms).
One ounce of peanuts contains 41 micrograms of folate or 10 percent of the DV.