Move over, red wine:

Peanuts contain heart-healthy compounds

provided by ThePeanut Institute


ou've heard that small doses of red wine may be good for your health. Now, United States Department of Agriculture scientists say that peanuts may contain the heart-healthy chemical compound - resveratrol - important in red wine. The latest findings that edible peanuts also contain resveratrol were presented at a national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Research on red wine conducted by other groups has associated a compound called resveratrol with what's now known as the "French paradox" - that is, despite a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet, the French population has a surprisingly low rate of heart disease. Dr. Timothy Sanders and coworker Robert McMichael of USDA's Raleigh, N.C., Agricultural Research Center adapted analytical methods used for resveratrol in wine to isolate and identify resveratrol in peanuts. Dr. Sanders' group examined Spanish, runner and Virginia-type peanuts from different production locations in the United States.

"Frequent consumption of peanuts and/or other nuts result in reduced cardiovascular disease and lowered total cholesterol," according to Sanders. "The findings suggest that, in moderation, peanuts can be a heart-healthy food."

Earlier research on resveratrol in the 1970s and 1980s indicated that the compound was only found in peanuts that had been inoculated and incubated with microorganisms, making them inedible. But the more recent work by Sanders' group has found that resveratrol is present, even without any indication of fungal attack.

Reports suggest that the average concentration of resveratrol in red wine is 5.7 micrograms/ml or 160 micrograms per fluid ounce. Sanders' data indicate that peanut seeds contain an average of 2.6 micrograms per gram (with a concentration range of 1.68 to 3.7), which is equivalent to 73 micrograms per ounce. The typical serving size of peanuts is considered to be one ounce, whereas an average glass of wine is about five fluid ounces.

This work was funded by the Peanut Institute.