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FDA says Peanuts Can Be Heart-Healthy

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - Here's heartening news: recent research may mean healthy foods can be fun foods, too.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently affirmed a qualified health claim that peanuts and some other nuts may reduce the risk of heart disease when consumed daily in small amounts. A large number of studies found a 25 to 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart disease when one and a half ounces of peanuts or nuts were eaten five or more times a week. Some labels will soon carry the government-approved message "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, such as peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. See nutrition information for fat content."

According to Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University, "Our research shows that diets that include peanuts and peanut butter daily reduce the risk of heart disease by 21 percent as compared to the average American diet, whereas a low-fat diet reduces the risk by only 12 percent compared to the average American diet."

Study subjects following the "peanut diet" lowered total cholesterol by 11 percent and "bad" LDL cholesterol by 14 percent in just four weeks. Triglycerides were also lowered while the level of "good" HDL cholesterol was maintained.

The recommended daily dose to help your heart is a small handful of most nuts which is about 65 peanuts. Manufacturers have moved quickly to provide consumers with small, portion-control packets, such as the Planters one-ounce on-the-go packets and 1.75-ounce tubes of peanuts that can now be found in grocery stores, airports and vending machines.

Over half of the nuts eaten in the U.S. are peanuts. Peanuts are one of Mother Nature's original health foods. In addition to containing over 75 percent of the heart-healthy unsaturated fat, peanuts contain protein and fiber that helps satisfy hunger for two to three hours. They are very rich in arginine which helps to improve the flow of blood through the blood vessels. Peanuts are a fine source of fiber as well as of antioxidants, vitamin E, folate, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phytosterols, all of which are thought to be important to health.

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