Eating your veggies to support your health can sound like common sense (and we can sense parents everywhere nodding), but it’s easy to overlook the benefits that a plant-based diet can have — especially when you’re including multiple foods with proven health benefits.
And as we might’ve mentioned before, peanuts are loaded with nutrition that can be beneficial for your health.
What is a plant-based diet?
A plant-based diet is simply one that emphasizes foods of plant origin. The focus of a plant-based diet is on what is included in the diet, rather than what is avoided. In many cases, this translates to either a vegan or vegetarian diet. Peanuts are a powerful source of protein that fits well in a variety of plant-based diets.
So, what happens when you combine the powers of a plant-based diet with peanuts?
Peanuts + Plants = Reduction in Health Risks
In a review of 27 clinical trials, researchers found that plant-based diets showed “robust” evidence for promoting a healthy weight, energy metabolism, and reduced inflammation.1
When viewed across different dietary patterns (omnivores, vegetarians and vegans), another study looking at nut consumption specifically found that frequent nut intake was associated with loads of healthy benefits — including having a lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (known markers for potential disease risk), reduced prevalence of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and reduced instances of heart attack, diabetes and gallstones.2
In regards to inflammation, which can set off disorders that include arthritis, cancer, diabetes and more, the news is similarly promising: a review of 40 studies showed that vegetarian diets were associated with lower risk of inflammatory biomarkers than non-vegetarian diets.3
Nourishing Your Mind
If you read our last blog on the impact of diet on anxiety and depression, you know how much what we eat can affect how we feel.
And, as it turns out, a vegetarian diet shows signs of reducing your risk of depression. In fact, in a study of middle-older aged adults, the odds of depression were 43% lower among vegetarians.4
But the benefits don’t stop at mental health— they can also help support overall brain health and how we think. Bioactive compounds found in peanuts and some other plant foods include antioxidants, polyphenols, and unsaturated fatty acids. Studies have shown these compounds can enhance neurogenesis (how our brains create new neurons), synaptic plasticity (how well those neurons communicate with each other), and neuronal survival to support brain health, in addition to improved cognition.5
The foods we eat can have an immeasurable impact on our health, so knowing what types can offer the biggest nutritional bang for your buck is crucial to maintaining (and improving) how we feel and think — not just for now, but all throughout our lives.
And whether you’re just preparing an occasional salad and need a crunchy topping, or want to dive in to an all-vegetarian lifestyle, peanuts can support you every step of the way.
But as you would before starting any new diet, be sure to keep your doctor in the loop.
If you’d like to try working a few vegetarian ideas into your dinner plans, you can find plenty of great recipes right here on our website.
- Medawar E, Huhn S, Villringer A, Veronica Witte A. The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review. Transl Psychiatry. 2019;9(1):226. Published 2019 Sep 12. doi:10.1038/s41398-019-0552-01. Medawar E, Huhn S, Villringer A, Veronica Witte A. The effects of plant-based diets on the body and the brain: a systematic review. Transl Psychiatry. 2019;9(1):226. Published 2019 Sep 12. doi:10.1038/s41398-019-0552-02.
- Brown RC, Gray AR, Tey SL, et al. Associations between Nut Consumption and Health Vary between Omnivores, Vegetarians, and Vegans. Nutrients. 2017;9(11):1219. Published 2017 Nov 6. doi:10.3390/nu91112193.
- Craddock JC, Neale EP, Peoples GE, Probst YC. Vegetarian-Based Dietary Patterns and their Relation with Inflammatory and Immune Biomarkers: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(3):433-451. doi:10.1093/advances/nmy1034.
- Jin Y, Kandula NR, Kanaya AM, Talegawkar SA. Vegetarian diet is inversely associated with prevalence of depression in middle-older aged South Asians in the United States [published online ahead of print, 2019 Apr 25]. Ethn Health. 2019;1-8. doi:10.1080/13557858.2019.1606166
- Najjar RS, Feresin RG. Plant-Based Diets in the Reduction of Body Fat: Physiological Effects and Biochemical Insights. Nutrients. 2019;11(11):2712. Published 2019 Nov 8. doi:10.3390/nu11112712