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Oil-roasted salted peanuts are now certified heart-healthy by the Washington, D.C.-based American Heart Association (AHA) as a part of an overall healthy diet, the Peanut Institute, a nonprofit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles, has revealed.
As a result of the certification, the association’s well-known Heart-Check mark may now appear on the snack’s packages.
Although salted peanuts are often considered a high-sodium snack, a 1-ounce serving of many varieties of the snack contain just 119 milligrams of sodium, which is below the AHA certification criteria limit of 140 milligrams of sodium per label serving of nuts – lower in many cases than the sodium content of a single slice of bread, the Albany, Ga.-based institute said.
The organization added that as most roasted peanuts are cooked in peanut oil, which has the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, roasting them in oil won’t increase their overall fat content.
AHA research cited by the institution has found that nuts may reduce the risk of heart disease in people with high cholesterol, and other studies have shown that eating peanuts may halve the risk of heart disease.
In addition to heart-healthy properties, the institute pointed out that peanuts are an excellent source of cholesterol-free protein, with 8 grams per 1-ounce serving; an excellent source of niacin and vitamin E.; a good source of folic acid; and a good source of potassium, as well as containing magnesium, both of which help to maintain normal blood pressure.
Heart disease accounts for one in every four deaths, according to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol by eating a diet is low in sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of heart disease, the organization further observed.
The institute also noted that peanuts go well with other heart-healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.