Nuts, especially peanuts, are often included on lists of smart snacks. That is because they are crunchy, filling, and nutrient-dense. A small handful of peanuts can add protein, fibre, monounsaturated fats, essential minerals, and vitamins to your diet.
Furthermore, a study says that regular peanut consumption can help regulate lipid metabolism and reduce triglyceride blood levels. As a result, you can better manage cholesterol levels in your blood.
Cholesterol: An Overview
Cholesterol is a waxy or fatty substance naturally present in your body. Though your body requires it to produce hormones, synthesise vitamin D, and support cell growth, too much cholesterol can be detrimental.
As your blood cholesterol level rises, so does your chance of developing health problems, including cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it is crucial to have your cholesterol levels within the ideal range.
The two types of cholesterol include LDL cholesterol (bad) and HDL cholesterol (good). Not enough of the good kind or too much of the bad kind increases the likelihood of cholesterol build up in the inner walls of the arteries, posing a threat to the heart and brain.
Peanuts and Cholesterol: The Connection
Though many believe that the high-fat content of peanuts raises bad cholesterol and causes weight gain, research proves otherwise. Moderate consumption of peanuts provides you with high-quality monounsaturated fats, which reduce bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, in the right amounts, peanuts are incredibly beneficial.
A handful of peanuts a day can help you meet your needs for biotin, copper, folate, vitamin E, manganese, thiamine, phosphorus, and magnesium. Peanuts are also a good source of protein, fibre, and healthy fats. Due to their excellent nutritional value, peanuts can help increase your metabolism and support your general well-being.
The inflammation process also has an impact on high cholesterol levels. Peanuts contain magnesium, vitamin E, arginine, phenolic compounds, and fibre which all help to fight inflammation. On the other hand, trans-saturated fats cause cholesterol levels to rise, and peanuts do not contain these. So, you can eat peanuts without worrying about increasing cholesterol levels.
Don’t discard the skin or outer coat of peanuts when eating them because it contains resveratrol and other powerful antioxidants that are great for your heart.
Antioxidants attack harmful free radicals in the body and lower the danger of oxidative stress, which reduces the risk of high cholesterol. The various bioactive compounds in peanuts, such as p-Coumaric acid, isoflavones, also increase good cholesterol levels.
The HealthifyMe Note
Try heart-healthy peanuts if you want a snack to lower cholesterol levels. These monounsaturated fat-rich peanuts are generally safe and healthy in the right amounts. Unless you’re allergic to peanuts, you can have a handful of them 3-5 times a week to keep your heart healthy and manage cholesterol.
Ways to Include Peanuts in Your Diet
While peanuts are a popular snack, it’s easy to eat too many of them. Be sure to limit yourself to 30-35 grams per day, which is 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 you have cholesterol or not:
- 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.
- Have a handful of raw, boiled or dry-roasted peanuts rather than a biscuit or piece of cake.
- Use unsweetened pure peanut butter instead of condiments like mayonnaise and hot sauce on your toast.
- Cold-pressed peanut oil can be an excellent addition to salad dressings.
Peanuts are generally safe, but stop consumption if you experience allergic reactions to them. Consider consulting a doctor or avoiding peanuts if you have a family history of peanut allergies or other potential nut allergies. Also, peanuts are susceptible to cross-contamination. Therefore, ensure to eat fresh peanuts and store leftover peanuts in an air-tight container.
A balanced diet is essential for good health. Since too much of anything is bad, ensure that you eat peanuts in moderation.
Peanuts are an excellent plant-based source of protein and can be used to reduce the risk of various chronic health concerns. However, remember that a peanut allergy can be fatal. Therefore, if you have a peanut allergy, avoid peanuts and foods containing them.