When I read about this study, I immediately ran into the kitchen and ate some peanuts. That's because researchers found that Asian adults who ate 4 to 5 unshelled peanuts a day had a 20% lower risk of ischemic stroke than those who didn't eat any peanuts. Ischemic strokes happen when a blockage, such as a blood clot, stops blood flow to the brain.

The researchers also found that eating peanuts reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease for people in the study. But the legume did not lower the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which happens when a blood vessel in the brain breaks and bleeds out.

“The beneficial effect of peanut consumption on risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke was found, despite the small quantity of peanuts eaten by study participants,” says Dr. Satoyo Ikehara, a researcher from Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan. “Adding even a small amount to one’s diet could be a simple yet effective approach to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The American Heart Association lists peanuts as being packed with heart-healthy nutrients, such as monounsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and fiber.

The study is published in the journal Stroke.

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