Including peanuts in a high-fat meal may protect your heart from the negative effects of such a diet, suggests a new study.
Peanuts can be substituted for high-fat, nutrient-poor foods in the diet that contain solid fats, said the study recently presented at the American Society for Nutrition's 79th scientific sessions and annual meeting in Boston.
"Previous studies have shown that individuals who consume peanuts more than two times a week have a lower risk of coronary heart disease," said lead researcher Xiaoran Liu, graduate student at the Pennsylvania State University, US.
"This study indicates that the protective effect of peanut consumption could be due, in part, to its beneficial effect on artery health," Liu added.
The purpose of this research was to evaluate vascular function after a high-fat meal.
Overweight males were randomised to consume either shake with peanuts or a control meal (a shake without peanuts) that were matched for energy and macronutrients.
The lipid profile, glucose and insulin were measured five times after each meal.
Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) was measured to assess vascular function.
The control meal decreased FMD by 1.2 percent compared to baseline. In contrast, there was no decrease in FMD after the peanut meal.
These results demonstrate that the peanut meal maintained normal vascular function whereas the control meal impaired vascular function acutely, the researchers noted.
Vascular dysfunction plays a major role in the development of atherosclerosis, the formation of coronary plaques and lesions that lead to coronary artery disease.