If you’re looking for the ultimate heart-healthy food, look no further than the nation’s favorite nut, said successive speakers.
Packed with cholesterol-busting phytosterols, monounsaturated fat, potassium and magnesium; vitamin E, niacin; folic acid; and the same kinds of phytonutrients found in berries, green tea and red wine (resveratrol, phenolic acids and flavonoids), peanuts are a nutritional powerhouse.
Less well-known is the fact that they also contain the highest levels of the amino acid arginine of any whole food (arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which helps expand blood vessels and decrease blood pressure), said Peanut Institute program director Pat Kearney.
Delegates were also given a presentation from Professor Tim Sanders about recent research he conducted with Amanda Stephens at the University of North Carolina showing that peanuts, peanut oil and fat-free peanut flour all significantly lowered LDL cholesterol in hamsters. Click here for details.
Meanwhile, hamsters on the peanut diets also showed lower levels of several pro-inflammatory biomarkers including Endothelin-1 (ET-1); higher levels of glutathione; lower levels of oxidative stress; and lower levels of kynurenine, elevated levels of which are linked to several diseases arising from chronic inflammation including Alzheimer’s, he said.