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Health Tips: Peanuts May Help Keep Heart Healthy

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Aug 18, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- PEANUTS MAY HELP KEEP HEART HEALTHY

A study suggests eating peanuts can help you keep your heart healthy without putting on the pounds. Richard Mattes, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University, and colleagues found regular peanut consumption may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease without weight gain. "Peanuts are the most widely consumed nut in this country," Mattes said. "They are a rich source of monosaturated fatty acids, magnesium and folate, vitamin E, copper, arginine and fiber, all of which have cardiovascular disease risk-reducing properties." Peanuts also have satiety properties, meaning you feel full after eating a few, Mattes said. In three tests, peanut-eating participants lowered their level of triglycerides, a risk factor for heart disease, the researchers found.


British researchers say the best way to prevent getting sexually transmitted diseases or having an unwanted baby is to abstain from sex. Using a condom is not enough, Dr. Trevor Stammers, general practitioner and senior tutor at St. George's Hospital London, wrote in the Postgraduate Medical Journal. He questioned the British Health Protection Agency's dismissal of abstinence as ineffective. He said evidence suggests such an approach "can be very effective at delaying the age of first intercourse." He cited U.S. studies showing young people in programs discouraging sexual activity and providing contraceptive advice were more likely to delay their first sexual experience by up to 18 months. And those who were not virgins at the start of the program were less likely to engage in unprotected sex after participating, Stammers said. He said teen pregnancy rates dropped as did the number of young people reporting first sexual intercourse by age 15 after implementation of abstinence-advocating programs in South Carolina, New York and Seattle. Children attending the Seattle program up to age of 12 were less likely to have started having sex by the age of 21 and had fewer sexual partners than those not involved in the program, Stammers said.


Too many women are ignoring the benefits of breastfeeding and not nursing their babies, experts say. New recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published in the Annals of Family Medicine suggest ways doctors can help. The survey found counseling patients during routine clinical visits and providing women with pamphlets are ineffective. Rather, the task force recommends that doctors encourage new mothers to enroll in educational breastfeeding classes that address techniques, common problems, solutions, benefits, myths and skills training. Such programs were shown to work well in getting moms to breastfeed. The study also suggests new mothers who receive in-person counseling with ongoing phone support breastfeed longer than those who do not. The task force recommends against the use of discharge packets, which often include formula samples and were found to decrease breastfeeding rates. A national goal for 2010 is to have 75 percent of mothers breastfeeding immediately after having a baby, 50 percent at 6 months and 25 percent at 1 year. In 2001, 69.5 percent started breastfeeding and 32 percent were still nursing at 6 months. Low-income mothers' breastfeeding rates were even lower: 58 percent at the start and 32.5 percent at 6 months.


Experts offer tips for protecting yourself against the deadly, mosquito-borne West Nile virus, which is expected to hit every state by the end of the year. The virus, which caused 284 deaths in 2002, is particularly dangerous to people over 50. Outdoor expert Brian Brawdy recommends these ways to avoid infection: Wear skin protection such as apparel with ExOfficio's BuzzOff insect shield; choose an insect repellent that is water-based and contains DEET or a citronella-based product for children; wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; limit heavily scented colognes, soaps, shampoos and lotions; limit time outdoors at dawn and dusk; remove standing water, puddles and catch-basins in your yard; patch holes in screens, doors and windows; check children for ticks and insect bites; remember mosquito season is April through October; visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site at for up-to-the-minute, state-by-state virus status reports. More information can be obtained on the website at

(Editors: For more information about PEANUTS, contact Amy Patterson-Neubert at 765-494-9723 or For ABSTINENCE, Emma Dickinson at +44 (0)20 7383 6529 or For BREASTFEEDING, call 913-906-6253 or e-mail For VIRUS, Gail Anderson at 888-633-4279 ext. 216 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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