Researchers investigating peanuts for cholesterol and its lowering benefits have news to share that will have peanut lovers jumping for joy. You can spread some peanut butter on your morning toast, enjoy a handful of peanuts in the afternoon, or sprinkle your salad with a dressing made of peanut oil and actually lower your blood cholesterol levels.
Research Proves Peanuts and Cholesterol Reduction Go Together
Numerous research studies prove that diets abundant in peanuts, peanut oils, and peanut butter are as beneficial to your heart health as diets abundant in olive oil. Even more, the high peanut diets provide you with better protection against heart disease than a diet very low in fat.
Studies showed that participants who ate a diet high in peanut products lowered their total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and maintained their level of HDL “good” cholesterol. (1)
Peanuts And Cholesterol – The Secret Is The Monounsaturated Fats
In the past, health experts gave peanuts a bad rating because they contain fat. However, peanuts moved back into the healthy food column once it was understood that the fats they contained were heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
All fats are not created equal concerning the health of your heart. You want to lower the number of saturated fats you consume. These means eating less red meat and foods from other animal sources such as bacon. Consuming these fats can raise your bad (LDL) cholesterol count.
You can replace saturated fats with monounsaturated fats such as peanut oil or polyunsaturated fats that come from plant sources such as safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and soybean oil. These types of fats lower your cholesterol level.
You do need to understand that even though monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for you, you cannot eat them without limitation because they are packed with calories. Eat peanuts and other nuts in moderation to avoid weight gain, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
You may be reading about this link between peanuts and cholesterol and wondering if peanuts contain cholesterol. The answer is no. You do not get cholesterol from eating peanuts. In fact, your liver produces most of the cholesterol in your body, and this leads to an additional benefit of peanuts having to do with their fiber content.
Peanuts and Cholesterol and Fiber
To lower your cholesterol naturally, you want to eat a diet high in fiber and peanuts are a good source of fiber. When you eat foods with fiber the fiber does not get digested like other nutrients. Instead, fiber travels through your digestive tract binding to bile, which contains cholesterol, and fatty acids, and carries them out of your body as waste.
Fiber also helps your liver make less cholesterol because the bacteria that feed on it as it moves through your digestive tract make fatty acids that find their way back to your liver and tell it to lower cholesterol production.
Peanuts and Cholesterol – The Bottom Line
Peanuts and cholesterol-lowering go hand-in-hand. You can enjoy peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil for cholesterol-lowering benefits but do so in moderation. Peanuts contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats but also contain a high number of calories, which could lead to weight gain.
Adding peanut products to your diet is just one of many ways you can naturally lower your cholesterol.
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(1) The Peanut Institute. (1998). Diets with peanuts plus peanut butter or peanut oil lower total cholesterol and LDL-C…eliminate triglyceride increase. Retrieved from http://www.peanut-institute.org/news-and-information/downloads/19980420_peanut_lower_cholesterol.pdf