Go Nuts! Peanuts Are Heart Healthy - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on May 13, 2015

Go Nuts! Peanuts Are Heart Healthy

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314
Katrina.Stier@crozer.org

Peanuts are a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.

High in protein, fiber and fatty acids,
peanuts are a good addition to a
heart-healthy diet.

It seems we are constantly on the lookout for the newest, latest and greatest superfood – the one food that will serve as our fountain of youth or key to longevity, like kale, tofu or chia seeds.

But you may not have to keep looking for the next best thing. New research confirms that some of our tried and true foods are great for our health, and that list includes peanuts.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that eating nuts, including peanuts, was associated with fewer deaths, especially from heart disease.

“Peanuts are high in protein, fiber and healthy fatty acids, which makes them a good addition to a heart-healthy diet,” said Sandra Vasquez, a Crozer-Keystone nutritionist.

But that’s not all peanuts have to offer – According to Vasquez, 1-ounce of peanuts serves as a great source of folate, providing you with more than 10 percent of your daily needs. This nutrient is especially important during pregnancy and infancy.

“Peanuts also include other important vitamins such as niacin, thiamin, and vitamin E,” she said.

While all peanuts contain these all important components for your health, not all peanut products are created equally.

“The best choice would be plain, dry roasted peanuts rather than those roasted in oil. The serving size for dry roasted peanuts is 1-ounce, which is about 28 peanuts,” Vasquez said. With dry roasted peanuts in mind, 1-ounce contains 164 calories, 6.6 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates, 2.2 grams of fiber and 13.9 grams of fat.

“Peanut butter is another option, but you should look for brands containing only peanuts or peanuts and salt, while avoiding hydrogenated oils and sugar,” she said, noting that the recommended serving size of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons.

Peanuts aren’t the only nuts you can nosh on to promote heart health.

“Other nuts, such as almonds, cashews and walnuts have a better fatty acid profile than the peanut, so I usually recommend eating those more often than peanuts,” Vasquez said.

But, of course, your diet should contain more than nuts in order to maintain your overall heart health. A true heart-healthy diet should also include plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and fish for omega-3 fatty acids, she said.

Peanuts and nuts are a great addition to a heart-healthy diet, but you should remember the saying “you are what you eat.”

“It’s important to keep in mind that overall diet quality matters more than focusing on one particular food. It’s important to focus on eating fresh, unprocessed foods, avoiding refined carbohydrates, sugary beverages, and fried foods, which can negatively impact heart health,” Vasquez stated.

While the study found that peanuts and other types of nuts have the potential to reduce the risk of mortality, that’s in addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking.

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