World-wide Study Finds Linoleic Acid Benefits the Heart

May 22, 2019 | News

The Peanut Institute Reports Fatty Acid in Peanuts Lowers Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events

Albany, Ga. (May 21, 2019) – A large-scale study recently published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, showed that higher levels of linoleic acid in the body are associated with a lower risk of major cardiovascular events. Specifically, linoleic acid, the main omega-6 fat found in peanuts, was associated with a 22-percent reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and 12-percent reduced risk of stroke.

Researchers examined data from 30 studies in 13 countries that included 68,659 participants. They concluded that linoleic acid can be an important tool in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.

“Omega-6 is an essential fatty acid that we need but, unfortunately, our bodies don’t produce it. That’s why it’s important to incorporate foods that contain omega-6, like peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil, into a healthy, balanced diet,” says Dr. Samara Sterling, director of research for The Peanut Institute. “In fact, the American Heart Association has been touting the benefits of omega-6 for heart health since 2009.”

In addition to the recent study in Circulation, other research is showing beneficial relationships between peanut consumption and a reduction in heart disease.

A study published in the Current Atherosclerosis Reports in 2018 found those who consumed peanuts regularly had a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. A 2017 study that examined more than 200,000 participants showed that regular peanut consumption was associated with a 15-percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

“Research continues to accumulate around the health benefits of peanuts. It’s truly accurate to call them a superfood because they’re nutrient-dense and deliver superior health advantages in a very small serving,” says Dr. Sterling. “Peanuts are an affordable way to get a significant dose of vitamins and minerals in a small handful. Today’s researchers are looking into the impact that dietary patterns have on chronic disease prevention and peanuts are, once again, proving themselves beneficial in those studies.”

According to Dr. Sterling, the recommended daily serving is a handful of peanuts or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. A serving of peanuts is one ounce or approximately 35 peanuts.

A one-ounce serving of peanuts is close to 170 calories and delivers a number of cardiovascular advantages:

  • 19 vitamins and minerals, many of which fight heart disease – The heart-healthy vitamins and minerals delivered by peanuts include vitamin E, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, copper and potassium. Peanuts are also a good source of magnesium, copper, vitamin E and biotin and an excellent source of niacin, manganese and molybdenum.
  • 19 vitamins and minerals, many of which fight heart disease – The heart-healthy vitamins and minerals delivered by peanuts include vitamin E, folic acid, niacin, magnesium, vitamin B6, zinc, copper and potassium. Peanuts are also a good source of magnesium, copper, vitamin E and biotin and an excellent source of niacin, manganese and molybdenum.
  • Bioactive compounds – Polyphenols, phytosterols and antioxidants are plant substances that offer health benefits beyond vitamins and minerals. They’ve been shown to help reduce cardiovascular disease and cancer risk, lower inflammation and cholesterol and improve blood flow.
  • Healthy fats – The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in peanuts, like those in olive oil and avocados, help decrease “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol.
  • Fiber – Studies have shown that diets high in fiber can contribute to lower levels of LDL cholesterol. Plus, high-fiber diets are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

A link to the study published in Circulation is available: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.038908

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Dr. Samara Sterling is a Nutrition Scientist with expertise in the use of plant-based nutrition for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. She currently serves as the Research Director for The Peanut Institute and has also worked as a nutrition consultant for various community-based nutrition projects. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University, a master’s degree from Andrews University and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Based in Albany, Ga., The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization supporting nutrition research and developing educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles that include peanuts and peanut products. The Peanut Institute pursues its mission through research programs, educational initiatives and the promotion of healthful lifestyles to consumers of all ages. As an independent forum, The Peanut Institute is uniquely positioned to work with all segments of the food industry, the research community, academia, consumer organizations and governmental institutions.

References

Coates, A.M., A.M. Hill, and S.Y. Tan, Nuts and Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. Curr Atheroscler Rep, 2018. 20(10): p. 48.

Agarwal, P., et al., MIND Diet Associated with Reduced Incidence and Delayed Progression of ParkinsonismA in Old Age. J Nutr Health Aging, 2018. 22(10): p. 1211-1215.

Chen, X., et al., Dietary Patterns and Cognitive Health in Older Adults: A Systematic Review. J Alzheimers Dis, 2019. 67(2): p. 583-619.