Talk about munchies and nuts are sure to make it to the most favorite list. They are packed with essential nutrients, which when consumed regularly can help you in many ways than one. They are a great source of energy, proteins, and good fats.
And with such a diverse range of nuts - peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, hazelnuts, etc - there are many ways you can include them in your diet to stay fit and healthy. According to a new study done by Pennsylvania State University in the US, benefits of eating peanuts along with a meal may help protect you against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.
After a meal, there is a spike in blood lipids and triglycerides - a type of fat found in the bloodstream, which stiffens arteries and leads to cardiovascular disease. The findings showed that healthy men who ate about three ounces of peanuts with a high-fat meal had a blunted increase of lipids in their bloodstream. There was also a 32 percent reduction in the triglyceride levels after the consumption of the peanut along with the meals.
"Typically, whenever we eat something, it causes the arteries to get a little bit stiffer during the post-meal period, but we have shown that if you eat peanuts with your meal, this can help prevent the stiffening response," said Penny Kris-Etherton, Professor at Pennsylvania State University.
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When the stiffening response happens in the cells that line the arteries, it results in decreased elasticity in the arteries as it limits the availability of nitric oxide -- which helps arteries in dilation for them to be elastic.
"After a meal, triglycerides increase and this typically decreases the dilation of the arteries, but the peanuts prevent that big increase in triglycerides after the meal," Kris-Etherton said, in the paper published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Over time, the arterial stiffening response can limit blood flow throughout the body and cause the heart to work harder, increasing the risks of serious cardiovascular problems over time.
"As the heart works harder and harder, over a longer period of time, it could lead, ultimately, to heart failure," Kris-Etherton added.