Peanuts are even better than we thought before. The latest research from the Washington University School of Medicine in St.Louis and Harvard Medical School showed that girls eating peanut butter or peanuts had 39 percent less chance of developing benign breast disease (BBD) that often leads to breast cancer. Cancer fighting abilities of peanuts are adding up to many health benefits of this pulse often mistaken for nut.
The last study showed that young girls, whose family history makes them more at risk of developing breast cancer, can lower their chances by regularly eating fat and proteins from vegetable sources such as peanut butter, peanuts, beans, nuts and corn.
For girls without risky family history, adding peanuts to their diet is also very beneficial. One daily serving lowers their possibilities to develop lumps and other benign anomalies in their breast tissue by age 30. That is a very good news since BBD increases chances to develop breast cancer for young women at the older age.
The Growing Up Today Study started in 1996 when girls, nine to 15 years of age, were asked to fill out questionnaires annually for five years describing all their food intake. Starting in 2005, these same girls as adults were also asked to report if they ever have been diagnosed with BBD confirmed by biopsy. 9,039 women were participating in the study. After analyzing all the data, researchers came to a conclusion that girls who consumed more vegetable fat and proteins were 39 percent less likely to develop breast anomalies.
New research is adding up to wonderful properties of peanuts. Being as cheap as peanuts is a description that definitely doesn’t apply to their health benefits. Rich in monounsaturated fat, peanuts are not only responsible for lowering the risk of breast disease, but also reduce LDL cholesterol for up to 14 percent if taken daily. According to one randomized study, they are able to decrease risk of heart disease by 21 percent.
Peanuts are found to be good in type-2 diabetes prevention. Women who take peanuts and peanut butter five times a week or more have a 21 percent less chance of developing this disease compared to those who never ate them.
Even if peanuts actually are not nuts, but one of the pulses such as lentils and beans, they contain more protein than any real nut – up to 25 percent. They are very rich in potassium, thiamine, niacin, vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, selenium and zinc.
Paradoxically, eating peanuts or peanut butter might even help you to control weight. Though peanuts are very high in calories – one serving contains about 280 calories, they keep your hunger away and thus reduce daily food intake. Studies showed that people who ate nuts or peanuts at least twice per week were 31 percent less likely to gain weight. So if you are not allergic to peanuts, substitute eating junk food snacks with a reasonable amount of healthy peanuts. It will keep your hunger at bay for much longer time.
A peanut allergy is unfortunately the worst drawback for including peanuts in your diet. Another one is mold often contaminating these legumes. Peanut mold is associated with cancer-causing aflatoxins affecting liver. Peanut oil also might turn rancid very fast, so it’s vital to eat them fresh or keep them shelled in a refrigerator or a freezer.
Because of their very dangerous drawbacks, peanuts are included in the list of most controversial foods. They are not for everyone. However, if you are lucky enough to be able to eat them, do it and enjoy the benefits. And don’t forget about your kids, especially girls. They might thank you forever for that small, delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich you taught them to eat to reduce their chances of developing breast disease.
By Alsu Salakhutdinov