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Popping peanuts may actually be double-edged sword. While the nut is accused of causing severe allergies, munching peanuts can help improve girls’ breast health later in life, researchers have found.
According to the findings of a new study, adolescent girls who ate peanut butter or nuts were almost 40 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30 as compared to girls who never ate them.
In a collaborated study, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard Medical School looked at health records of over 9,000 American girls from 1996 to 2001, when they were between the ages of 9 and 15.
The participants were again assessed in 2005 – 2010, when they were between ages 18 to 30.
Participants’ eating habits, especially during adolescence years, was culled through specially designed questionnaire.
The researchers found that girls who ate peanut butter or nuts twice a week were 39 percent less likely to develop benign breast disease by age 30 as compared to those who never ate peanut butter or nuts.
Interestingly, the link remained strong even if the girl had a family history of breast tumors. Although benign breast disease is non-cancerous, afflicted girls are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer in later life.
“These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women,” senior author Graham Colditz, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, marked.
The researchers also found slight evidence that eating beans, lentils, soybeans and corn, too, bestow a protective effect against breast cancer, but as the items were not consumed in large quantities, a confirmed result could not be established, the team marked.
Eating peanuts is known to provide a range of health benefits. As the nut has a healthy combination of fiber and protein, it aids in losing weight. Its high content of monounsaturated fats is touted to boost heart health.
But researchers cautioned that people allergic to the nut should avoid it completely. “Food allergy is one of the most dangerous allergic reactions,” Dr. Raj Miniyar of Pediatrics P.C. in Rome says. “It is very common in kids.”
The findings of the study are reported in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.