Peanut Butter is a paste made by grinding roasted, skinned, and degermed peanuts. Other ingredients, such as salt, sugar, and palm oil are often added to the products sold in grocery stores. Peanuts are not actually nuts but legumes, and thus belong in the same category as peas, beans, and lentils. However, they are more often than not grouped with other nuts, such as cashews, almonds and walnuts since they have similar nutritional profiles.
Peanut butter is considered an energy-dense food, that means a small amount provides a high number of calories. One recommended serving (about two tablespoons) packs around 190 calories, 135 of which come from both saturated and unsaturated fats. But beware of the distinction: unsaturated fats are essential to a healthy diet and can help prevent cardiovascular disease, while saturated fats may increase the risk of heart disease.
But peanut butter isn’t all bad— and those who eat it may even be healthier overall.Peanut Butter is Fairly Rich in Vitamins and Minerals. Peanut butter contains high amounts of healthy fats and a decent amount of protein. As with most things, it should be used in its most natural form and in moderation.
It helps you lose weight
Calling peanut butter a diet food, with 180 to 210 calories per serving, may seem counter-intuitive. But it has the enviable combination of fiber (2 g per serving) and protein (8 g per serving) that fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer, so you eat less overall. Plus, there’s nothing more indulgent than licking peanut butter off a spoon–and indulgence (in moderation) helps dieters fight cravings and stay on track.
It’s packed with nutrition
A serving of peanut butter has 3 mg of the powerful antioxidant vitamin E, 49 mg of bone-building magnesium, 208 mg of muscle-friendly potassium, and 0.17 mg of immunity-boosting vitamin B6. Research shows that eating peanuts can decrease your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. One study published in theJournal of the American Medical Association found that consuming 1 ounce of nuts or peanut butter (about 2 tablespoons) at least 5 days a week can lower the risk of developing diabetes by almost 30%.
It’s got the good fat
Peanut butter is chock-full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. A recent study found that insulin-resistant adults who ate a diet high in monos had less belly fat than people who ate more carbohydrates or saturated fat. PS: If you’re buying reduced-fat peanut butter because you think it’s better for your waistline, save your money. The calories are the same (or even a little higher) thanks to the extra ingredients that are added to make up for the missing fat (including more sugar).
Source of Protein
2 tablespoons of peanut butter are what you should consume if you want to stay on the healthy end of the peanut butter consumption scale. These 2 tablespoons pack in 7 grams of protein. This is why peanut butter on toast makes for a great breakfast or mid morning meal choice.
As a protein-rich food, when you eat peanut butter you feel fuller for longer. Additionally the protein is also good for building and repairing muscles, which is especially important if you work out a lt.
Peanut butter has its share of saturated food, but like olive oil, it also has a high percentage of unsaturated helping it qualify itself for the healthy camp.
When consumed in moderate amounts, eating a high quality peanut butter like this can actually improve your heart health, especially when compared to those who seldom or never eat nuts.
Most of us have way too much sodium in our diets and as you probably already know, sodium can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system. Peanut butter acts as an excellent source of potassium, and potassium can go a long way towards countering the dangers of sodium.
As already discussed, peanut butter contains good amounts of healthy fats and protein. This means it contains plenty of calories that will give you lots of energy for your activities. Again, perfect for a morning meal as it gives you an energy hit for the day.
Your 2 tablespoon serving of peanut butter not only packs in lots of protein but also gives you 2 grams of fiber. Adequate consumption of fiber is important for the healthy functioning of your body and of course you can get more fiber from other meals but peanut butter can help supplement this.
A 100 gram portion of peanut butter supplies a whole bunch of vitamins and minerals:
Vitamin E: 45% of the RDA.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 67% of the RDA.
Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDA.
Folate: 18% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 39% of the RDA.
Copper: 24% of the RDA.
Manganese: 73% of the RDA.
There’s also a decent amount of Vitamin B5, Iron, Potassium, Zinc and Selenium in peanut butter.
However, be aware that this is for a 100 gram portion, which has a total of 588 calories. Calorie for calorie, peanut butter actually isn’t that nutritious compared to low-calorie plant foods like spinach or broccoli.
How To Buy The Right Peanut Butter
Of course all peanut butters aren’t made alike so you should shop with care. Don’t just go by the percentage of fat. This will be fairly similar across most brands and is not the best indication of whether a peanut butter is good for you. Here are some quick little tips to help you make a decision.
• All natural peanut butter is a good choice if you want to minimize your intake of unhealthy fats. Natural nut butters usually have peanuts as their main ingredient while others (non-natural) can sometimes contain other artificial ingredients to enhance the taste.
• The sugar content on the peanut butter should be a decisive factor. Commercial peanut butter brands can sometimes have up to 250 mg (per tablespoon) more sugar than natural brands. The sugar however contributes greatly to flavor so if you’re using the peanut butter to cook with, then a little more sugar can be better.
• Look out for the sodium content on the ingredients list at the back of your jar of peanut butter. Again, natural brands usually have less sodium. Too much sodium can also mask the nutty flavor.
Natural peanut butters are a better option however if you’re unable to find a natural option or find the organic nut butters too expensive, don’t stress. If you’re eating only 2 tablespoons of peanut butter a day, a commercial brand peanut butter with slightly more salt and sugar isn’t going to be the end of the world.
So since there are so many health benefits of peanut butter, does it mean you should eat several spoons full of peanut butter straight out of the jar every day? Absolutely not!
What this means is, peanut butter should be a part of your diet and feel free to include one or two tablespoons of it as part of your daily meals. It is perfect on crackers as a snack and will give you a good hit of protein too.
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This article is not intended to take the place of a competent nutritionist or doctor. It is solely intended to educate people on the vital and perhaps underestimated importance of this nutritional element.
The information in this site is presented for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or prescribe.
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