It has been established for some time now that adding nuts to the diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But data on peanuts - the most popular "nut" - has been lacking. Since peanuts are actually legumes and not nuts, some (DrRich, for instance) have worried that their nearly compulsive consumption of peanuts may be adding only calories, without providing benefit of the much-touted "nut effect" on cardiac health.
Thankfully, researchers from Purdue University have now demonstrated that chronic peanut consumption has a beneficial effect on markers of cardiac health. They studied 15 healthy men and women for 30 weeks, in a complex study assessing the effect of peanut consumption under 3 different dietary conditions. Their conclusions were that peanut consumption reduces serum triglyceride levels by up to 24%, even in situations where peanuts were added to the regular diets, and thus ought to reduce cardiovascular risk by up to 6 - 8%. Furthermore, peanuts added significant magnesium, folate, fiber, copper and arginine to the dietary intake.
The researchers also noted no increase in body weight during the 30-week trial. They speculated that peanuts may create a sense of satiety (fullness,) thus reducing their subjects' overall caloric consumption.
The FDA now allows peanuts - along with walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and pistachios - to be advertised as providing a health benefit.