Peanuts contain a wealth of benefits for the brain thanks to functional compounds that have been shown to boost memory, strengthen cognition, protect against cognitive disease, decline and more1. But what exactly is it about this savory superfood that makes it quite so…well, super? The answer can be found in its amazing variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant-based protein. This unique combination has helped the peanut gain traction with nutritionists, doctors, and even those just looking for a simple food with big benefits for the brain.
To learn more about this humble groundnut, though, it’s time to do a little digging.
1. Resveratrol in Peanuts Increases Brain Blood Flow
Bioactives are a type of naturally occurring chemical found in foods that deliver benefits beyond typical nutritional needs. Resveratrol, a bioactive found in peanuts, is believed to improve blood flow to the brain by as much as 30%—which helps reduce the risk of stroke1. This may also help to improve your cognitive abilities2.
2. Niacin and Vitamin E in Peanuts Protect Against Alzheimer’s and Cognitive Decline
Peanuts aren’t just great for helping your brain function now, though; They may also help protect it for the long haul! They’re an excellent source of niacin and an good source of vitamin E, both of which have been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline1.
3. Eating Peanuts May Help You Stay Alert
You might have heard that peanuts contain healthy, unsaturated fats, which is part of why they can help reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease3. What you might not know, however, is that the unsaturated fat in peanuts also gives you energy, which can help you ward off fatigue and stay alert.
4. Polyphenols in Peanuts Make Them a Good Mood Food
In addition to tasting great, peanuts might actually make you feel pretty good, too! Polyphenols (like the ones found in peanuts) have shown the potential to enhance mood, which may also help to reduce depression4.
Final Food for Thought
Outside of the added brain power peanuts provide, they also contain a vast array of benefits that can help improve your overall health—whether you’re living with diabetes, working on lowering your blood pressure, or just looking for a healthy way to change your snacking habits.
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1. “Peanuts as Functional Food: A Review.” S.S. Arya et al. Journal of Food Science and Technology. January 2016, vol. 53, issue 1, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4711439.
2. “Nuts and Brain Health: Nuts Increase EEG Power Spectral Density (μV&[sup2]) for Delta Frequency (1–3Hz) and Gamma Frequency (31–40 Hz) Associated with Deep Meditation, Empathy, Healing, as well as Neural Synchronization, Enhanced Cognitive Processing, Recall, and Memory All Beneficial For Brain Health,” L. Berk et al. FASEB, 2017.
3. Stephens AM, Dean LL, Davis JP, Osborne JA, Sanders TH. Peanuts, peanut oil, and fat free peanut flour reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors and the development of atherosclerosis in Syrian golden hamsters. J Food Sci. 2010 May;75(4):H116-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01569.x. PubMed PMID: 20546405.
4. “Effect of resveratrol on cognitive and memory performance and mood: A meta-analysis of 225 patients.” February 2018, 128:338-344. Pharmacological Research. Epub 2017 Aug 26. Farzaei, et al. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28844841.