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Heart-Healthy Compound Found in Peanuts

By Jill Lee
June 16, 1997

Enjoying a glass of wine before dinner to help your heart? You might want to try a handful of peanuts, too, scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service say.

To some, this may seem like a contradiction because of peanuts’ high fat content. It’s well established that 100 grams of shelled peanuts with skins contain 47.5 grams of fat.

But ARS research has shown that tasty, healthy peanuts also contain a compound called resveratrol. That’s the same compound behind red wine’s apparent ability to offset the heart-harming effects of a high-fat diet.

The peanut discovery will be discussed in detail today at the 1997 USA Peanut Congress in Amelia Island, Fla.

Red wine’s resveratrol levels average approximately 160 micrograms per fluid ounce. By comparison, one ounce of peanuts contains an average of 73 micrograms of resveratrol, the ARS researchers say.

Research at Loma Linda University has revealed that people who ate nuts five times a week cut their heart attack risk by 50 percent. The Iowa Women’s Health Study, which included 40,000 post-menopausal women, also found a connection between nut consumption and reduced coronary disease risk. The findings suggest that, in moderation, peanuts can be a heart-healthy food.

The ARS peanut studies indicate that the type of peanut and the environment in which it is grown can affect resveratrol levels in the nuts.