Nuts, especially peanuts, often feature on smart snack lists. That’s because they’re crunchy, filling, and nutrient-dense. A small handful of peanuts can add protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, essential minerals and vitamins to your diet.
Additionally, a study says that eating peanuts regularly can help regulate lipid metabolism and lower blood triglyceride levels. As a result, you can better manage the cholesterol level in your blood.
Cholesterol: an overview
Cholesterol is a waxy or fatty substance naturally present in your body. Although your body needs it to produce hormones, synthesize vitamin D, and support cell growth, too much cholesterol can be detrimental.
As your blood cholesterol levels rise, your risk of developing health problems, including cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and stroke, also increases. Therefore, it is crucial that your cholesterol level is in the ideal range.
The two types of cholesterol include LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol. Not enough of the right type or too much of the wrong type increases the likelihood of cholesterol building up in the inner walls of arteries, which poses a threat to the heart and brain.
Peanuts and Cholesterol: The Link
Although many believe that the high fat content of peanuts raises bad cholesterol and leads to weight gain, to research proves otherwise. Moderate consumption of peanuts provides you with high quality monounsaturated fats, which lower bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, in the right amounts, peanuts are incredibly beneficial.
A handful of peanuts a day can help you meet your biotin, copper, folate, vitamin E, manganese, thiamin, phosphorus, and magnesium needs. Peanuts are also a good source of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Due to their excellent nutritional value, peanuts can help increase your metabolism and support your overall well-being.
The inflammation process also impacts high cholesterol levels. Peanuts contain magnesium, vitamin E, arginine, phenolic compounds and fiber which all help fight inflammation. On the other hand, trans-saturated fats raise cholesterol levels, and peanuts do not contain any. So you can eat peanuts without worrying about cholesterol levels rising.
Don’t discard the skin or outer shell of peanuts when you eat them, as they contain resveratrol and other powerful antioxidants that are great for your heart.
Antioxidants attack harmful free radicals in the body and reduce the risk of oxidative stress, which reduces the risk of high cholesterol. The various bioactive compounds contained in peanuts, such as p-coumaric acid, isoflavones, also increase the level of good cholesterol.
The HealthifyMe rating
Try heart-healthy peanuts if you want a cholesterol-lowering snack. These monounsaturated fat-rich peanuts are generally safe and healthy in the right amounts. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, you can eat peanuts 3-5 times a week to keep your heart healthy and manage your cholesterol.
Ways to include peanuts in your diet
Although peanuts are a popular snack, it’s easy to eat too many. Be sure to limit yourself to 30-35 grams per day, or about 25-30 peanuts. Salted peanuts are tasty, but boiled or roasted unsalted peanuts are better for people with high cholesterol.
Here are some healthy ways to add peanuts to your diet, whether or not you have cholesterol:
- You can eat peanuts as a snack during the day or in the late afternoon. You can add them to your morning salad, mid-morning smoothie, or evening protein bars.
- Eat a handful of raw, boiled, or dry-roasted peanuts instead of a cookie or piece of cake.
- Use pure unsweetened Peanut Butter instead of condiments like mayonnaise and hot sauce on your toast.
- Cold-pressed peanut oil can be a great addition to salad dressings.
Peanuts are generally safe, but stop consuming them if you experience allergic reactions. Consider seeing a doctor or avoiding peanuts if you have a family history of peanut allergies or other potential tree nut allergies. Additionally, peanuts are susceptible to cross-contamination. Therefore, be sure to eat fresh peanuts and store leftover peanuts in an airtight container.
A balanced diet is essential for good health. Since too much of anything is bad, be sure to eat peanuts in moderation.
Peanuts are an excellent source of vegetable protein and can be used to reduce the risk of various chronic health conditions. However, remember that a peanut allergy can be deadly. Therefore, if you are allergic to peanuts, avoid peanuts and foods containing them.