05 April 2005

Peanuts and Garlic

Do you like eating peanuts and garlic?

For patients with gout or high blood uric acid levels, you probably have heard your doctor advising you to cut on peanuts and other food items which, when eaten, might further aggravate the gout condition.

As for garlic, I think many more people avoid it than eat it --- owing perhaps to its reputation to mess up and ruin one's breath.

There are now new findings about these two.

For peanuts:

Health Benefits Help Peanuts Shed Stigma

ALBANY, Ga. Apr 3, 2005 — Peanuts, a dietary outcast during the fat-phobic 1990s, have made a comeback, with consumption soaring to its highest level in nearly two decades and more doctors recommending nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet.

"Now we know that the type of fat found in peanuts is actually good for us," said Lona Sandon with the American Dietetic Association. "It doesn't clog our arteries like saturated fat. It helps keep the arteries clean."

But that's only if you don't overdo it, and that's the part that often trips up peanut lovers. There are 14 grams of fat in one serving of peanuts, which is only one ounce. A handful can have up to 200 calories.

"The problem is that the portions need to be low so you don't overconsume the calories that's where the public has a disconnect," said Madelyn Fernstrom, director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

"It's a well-spent 200 calories if you can limit it to that. The problem is volume. It's very hard to have a small serving of peanuts, meaning a small handful."

[ABC News]

For garlic:

Garlic May Ward Off...a Lung Condition

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An ingredient in garlic appears to prevent a potentially deadly type of high blood pressure affecting the lungs, at least in rats, according to new research presented Saturday.

The garlic ingredient, called allicin, seems to ward off pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the arteries that bring blood to the lungs. In humans, pulmonary hypertension can lead to potentially fatal complications in the heart and blood vessels.

"Garlic is very effective against pulmonary hypertension," researcher Dr. David D. Ku of the University of Alabama at Birmingham told Reuters Health.

Ku added that humans would need to eat two cloves of garlic every day to equal the rats' dose of allicin. He also cautioned that these findings are still very preliminary, and a lot more research is needed before doctors can recommend garlic in people who run the risk of developing pulmonary hypertension.

[Reuters Health]

Bottomlines for these two food items:
  • Eat peanuts in moderation - a one ounce serving has 14 grams of fat and a handful can give you about 200 calories. The fat from peanuts is good for your arteries as long as you do not eat more than 1 ounce or a handful.

  • Eat two cloves of garlic everyday - according to Dr. David D. Ku of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, this is the serving size needed for garlic to prevent pulmonary hypertension.

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