Crunchy or creamy? Shelled or unshelled? Roasted or boiled? This is usually about how deep one gets when discussing peanuts and peanut butter. The humble peanut might just get a lot more important to men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Peanuts have been around for probably more than 3,500 years. Ancient South American pottery has been discovered decorated with, and in the shape of peanuts. Peanuts became popular around the American Civil War, and many know George Washington Carver as the father of the peanut industry.
So how did the peanut get to this point where it is being touted as a preventative against prostate cancer death?
A major 2016 study published in the British Journal of Cancer showed that patients who consumed nuts five or more times per week after a prostate cancer diagnosis had a significant 34 percent lower rate of overall mortality than those who consumed nuts less than once per month. It is important to note, however, that increased or decreased nut consumption has no correlation with preventing malignant tumors. The men who were followed in the study had already been diagnosed with the prostate cancer.
These findings are quite interesting. This study is suggesting that the peanut (which is technically a legume) and other tree nuts (such as cashews, pecans, and almonds) might just help prevent prostate cancer-related death in men who have received a prostate cancer diagnosis. The study suggests consuming five, one ounce servings each week. One ounce of nuts is about one good handful.
Why nuts? Nuts are high in tocopherols, which is a form of vitamin E and is an important antioxidant that fights cancer, among having other important health benefits. Nuts also contain phytochemicals, which have disease-fighting properties. Our bodies can benefit greatly from nuts – they have been linked to weight loss, lowering systolic blood pressure, and better cardiovascular health.
The study also outlined that these men who ate five servings of nuts a week also often practiced other healthy habits as well, such as regular exercise, vitamin consumption, and eating a diet rich in olive oil, seafood, and whole grains, commonly known as the Mediterranean diet.
It is important to choose wisely when grabbing a handful. Choose nuts that are raw or have been dry roasted, are unsalted or low-salt, and have preferably not been encased in chocolate.
So, if you, or a man in your life, have received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, by all means grab a handful of peanuts. One ounce of peanuts (about 28 unshelled nuts) contains about 170 calories and 7 grams of protein. A great, filling snack. But, they might just save a life!