The $2.48 Snack That Could Extend Your Life
We love it when health experts get caught up in semantics. It shows just how simple – er, dumb – humans can be.
You see, when it comes to peanuts, the debate isn’t whether they are good for us or not.
The debate is about whether they can be compared to more high-brow tree nuts like almonds, cashews and walnuts. Food snobs are quick to point out that peanuts aren’t actually nuts. They’re legumes – just like soybeans and peas.
We say phooey… it’s nonsense.
The fact is that peanuts – whether they have the same high-dollar price tag as a fancy tin of cashews or not – are one of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Caviar? No. Healthy? You Bet!
It’s especially true when it comes to heart health.
Peanuts offer an ideal all-around mix of nutrition and appetite-suppressing fiber.
But any discussion of the “legume” must start with fat.
Many folks will tell you that peanuts are chock-full of fat. The less informed will tell you to avoid them because of it.
Yes, they’re high in fat (about 50% of the overall content)… but it’s the good kind of fat.
In fact, peanuts have roughly the same fat profile as oh-so-popular olive oil. They contain roughly 80% unsaturated fat and just 20% saturated fat (and most of that is the heart-friendly monounsaturated fat).
In other words, study after study shows the sorts of fats contained in a handful of peanuts go a long way to reducing cholesterol levels and overall risk of heart disease.
But peanuts aren’t good only for our heart. They’re good for our brain, too.
Get this. Folks with low daily folic acid intake have higher associations with a number of nasty ailments. They’re more likely to suffer from depression… have heart issues… and develop certain types of cancer.
Studies have shown that we can fight back by simply boosting folic acid intake to about 400 micrograms per day. That’s good news for fans of the “lowly” peanut. It’s one of the highest sources of folic acid on the planet.
And, as a bonus, folic acid is believed to be an essential element in preventing cognitive decline.
In other words, you’re literally smarter for eating peanuts.
Finally, there’s one oft-overlooked mineral that’s packed into every peanut. It doesn’t get nearly enough attention from the health press.
Copper is essential to our good health.
It helps maintain our energy production and the activity in our brain. Our neurons need a healthy dose of copper to create and protect the axons that make our brains work efficiently.
If we don’t get enough of the stuff, big trouble ensues.
Recent research shows that copper appears to play a leading role in nasty brain conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Beyond the brain, studies have shown that even mild levels of copper deficiency can lead to heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
The simple way to prevent a deficiency – and ensure you get enough heart-healthy fats and folic acid – is to simply eat a handful or two of peanuts each day.
A quarter of a cup is all it takes to take full advantage of this “lowly” legume.