The American Heart Association has certified select peanuts with the Heart-Check mark to make it easy for consumers to identify heart-healthy foods. Due to the strength of evidence of peanuts and heart-health, the FDA released a qualified health claim for peanuts over a decade ago. Peanuts now also meet the The American Heart Association's strict criteria for a heart-healthy food and are among the list of foods certified with the Heart-Check mark.
"According to research from the American Heart Association the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, 75 percent of consumers report they are familiar with the Heart-Check symbol," said John Powell, Executive Director of the The Peanut Institute. "We are pleased the AHA has awarded the peanut with such an important mark and that more people will realize the many health benefits of eating peanuts daily."
Peanuts are considered Heart-Healthy for a variety of reasons, including:
- The oil in peanuts is mostly monounsaturated fat, which contains the same heart-healthy properties as olive oil. Unsaturated fat in peanuts helps to decrease the bad cholesterol while increasing heart-healthy cholesterol
- Peanuts meet the saturated fat limit set by the American Heart Association for nuts and are trans fat-free.
- Peanuts are an excellent source of Niacin which can reduce cholesterol
- Peanuts are a good source of Folic Acid and Vitamin E, which have been shown to prevent heart disease
- Peanuts also contain potassium and are a good source of magnesium, which can help maintain normal blood pressure
AHA-certified nuts must meet specific nutritional levels. Some brands of oil-roasted salted peanuts meet these nutritional criteria, just look for the Heart-Check mark. Peanuts are naturally very low in sodium and most of the sodium in salted peanuts comes from surface salt. One ounce of salted peanuts typically contains less sodium than a slice of bread.
Four large studies totaling over 160,000 men and women showed that eating about one ounce of peanuts daily can cut the risk of heart disease in half. The risk of heart disease decreases the more frequently consumers eat peanuts or peanut butter.
The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization supporting nutrition research and developing educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles that include peanuts and peanut products. The Peanut Institute pursues its mission through research programs, educational initiatives, and the promotion of healthful lifestyles to consumers of all ages. As an independent forum, The Peanut Institute is uniquely positioned to work with all segments of the food industry, the research community, academia, consumer organizations, and governmental institutions.