Are peanuts inflammatory? The short answer is no, and in fact, peanuts and some peanut products have been shown to be anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation in the body is a mechanism thought to be at the center of the majority of chronic diseases. Certain inflammatory factors in our blood, like C-reactive protein (CRP), have been identified as predictors of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Fortunately, the foods and nutrients you choose to eat can have an impact on inflammation including certain fats, antioxidants, dietary fiber, arginine, and magnesium. For example, linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in peanuts, has been shown to reduce inflammation and is therefore seen as anti-inflammatory. In fact, the 2009 American Heart Association Advisory Panel recommended that Americans include omega-6 in their diets, citing its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Foods with low glycemic loads have been shown to decrease inflammation as well. Fortunately, peanuts are a low-glycemic index food and are full of anti-inflammatory ingredients. A relationship has also been observed between frequent peanut consumption and reduced inflammatory factors. A 2016 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined over 5,000 participants. Results showed that peanut intake was associated with lower markers of inflammation in the blood. This may be why peanuts are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Since many Americans don’t consume levels of magnesium that match the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), a small number of peanuts daily is a great way to boost intake. A study at Purdue University showed that eating peanuts every day increases blood magnesium too!
For those who don’t get enough magnesium, one study showed that levels of inflammation-causing CRP was more likely to be elevated. Another study looking at more than 11,000 women from the Women’s Health Study showed that low magnesium intake was associated with an increased risk of inflammation.
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