Peanut, from the pea family and incredibly high in protein, is a nutritional force to be reckoned with. These tasty nuts feed not only humans but also animals. Plus, peanuts are a great source of healthy fats, making them heart-healthy.
Peanuts are mostly grown in warm, humid climates, which is why botanist Carl Linnaeus named them “hypogaea”, which means “under the ground”.
Peanuts, the most popular type of peanut, are frequently used in pantries and make a delicious roasted snack. Additionally, peanuts are the main ingredient in peanut butter, peanut oil, peanut flour, and protein powder.
Peanuts are tasty and full of protein, fiber and other essential nutrients. But can they help lower cholesterol levels?
To answer this question, this article will delve deeper into the study of peanuts and cholesterol.
Nutritional values of peanuts
Groundnuts come in three main varieties: Bambara, Peanut and Hausa. Indians usually eat peanuts.
There are many ways to enjoy them, such as raw, roasted, in peanut butter or in peanut oil, and they can also be added to foods such as flour. Depending on the mode of consumption, the nutritional value of peanuts varies.
According to USDAone hundred grams of raw (unroasted) peanuts provide the following nutrients.
- Energy: 567kCal
- Protein: 25.8g
- Carbohydrates: 16.1g
- Total dietary fiber: 8.5g
- Fat: 49.2g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA): 24.4 g
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA): 15.6 g
Vitamins and minerals
- Iron: 4.58mg
- Potassium: 705mg
- Sodium: 18mg
- Magnesium: 168mg
- Calcium: 92mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.64mg
- Vitamin B2: 0.135mg
- Vitamin B3: 12.1mg
- Vitamin B5: 1.77mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.348mg
- Phosphorus: 376mg
The nutritional value of peanuts can vary depending on how you eat them. Raw peanuts are generally the most nutrient dense because they have not been heated or processed.
On the other hand, peanut butter is made by crushing peanuts into a paste. Therefore, it generally contains more calories and fat than the whole peanut.
It may also contain added sugar and other chemicals, which could reduce the amount of nutrients it contains.
Peanut for Cholesterol – An Overview
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood and in the cells of our body. The body needs it for its proper functioning. However, having too much cholesterol can lead to health problems, like heart disease. The two main forms of cholesterol are LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and HDL, or “good” cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol helps remove excess LDL cholesterol from the body, while LDL cholesterol can build up in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. So generally having high HDL cholesterol and low LDL is beneficial.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that a 10% lower cholesterol level can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%. Therefore, for those with high cholesterol levels, lowering their cholesterol levels is imperative.
Are peanuts good for cholesterol?
Peanuts are a source of healthy unsaturated fats, including polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Plus, they contain protein, fiber, and minerals like magnesium, folate, thiamin, and vitamin B6.
These nutrients are all essential for maintaining heart health. Moreover, research shows that monounsaturated fats, considered “good” fats, can help lower cholesterol levels, i.e. lower LDL levels and increase HDL.
Peanuts are rich in resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that protects against heart problems by reducing cell damage and inflammation in the body. In addition, it inhibits damage to blood vessels caused by angiotensin.
Moreover meta-analysis showed that taking resveratrol supplements had a noticeable effect on lowering total cholesterol levels.
Peanuts are also a good source of plant sterols, compounds found in plants that are similar in structure to cholesterol. Research shows that plant sterols can help block the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract, thereby lowering cholesterol levels.
Peanuts also contain flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, luteolin and apigenin. According to studiesdietary flavonoids can help significantly lower bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
Note from The Fitness Freak
Peanut is a great addition to your diet because of its cholesterol-lowering effect. This is because of the presence of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (PUFA and MUFA). Additionally, the flavonoids, plant sterols, and antioxidants in peanuts make them healthy for cholesterol management. However, it is essential to remember to consume them in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Ways to Consume Peanuts for Healthy Cholesterol Management
There are many ways to enjoy peanuts. These include:
- Eat raw or roasted peanuts as a snack.
- Add peanut butter to oatmeal or breakfast smoothies.
- Incorporate peanuts into salads or main dishes as a healthy source of fat and protein.
- Use peanut oil for cooking or as a salad dressing.
- Consuming peanut flour in baking or cooking as a gluten-free alternative.
- Add peanut protein powder to shakes or smoothies as a supplement.
It is essential to remember to consume peanuts in moderation. This is because they are high in calories and fat. Therefore, overconsumption can contribute to unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Lowering cholesterol levels is essential for maintaining healthy heart health. Therefore, eating healthy and being aware of portion sizes is essential. You should talk to a nutritionist to help you change your diet if you have high or borderline high cholesterol.
Plus, you can speak with a licensed nutritionist at HealthifyMe to create a personalized plan for you and suggest ways to lower LDL and total cholesterol levels.
To sum up, peanuts can be a healthy snack to lower cholesterol and provide other health benefits. However, it is essential to remember that peanuts are high in calories and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Also, it is best to opt for unsalted peanuts as adding salt can increase blood pressure.
Nutritionally, peanuts are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These antioxidants may help protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of certain health problems.
1. The United States Department of Agriculture
2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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