It is very obvious that peanut butter is one of the most consumed foods in the USA and statistics have shown that we consume around three pounds of it annually. A lot of people have some sort of allergy to peanuts itself but is peanut butter healthy for most of us? Let’s dig in.
Peanut butter is made up of nutrients that are known to improve cardiovascular health and reduce blood sugar levels. Its effect on body weight largely depends on how it is consumed. As you very well know, peanut butter is simply a paste derived from the natural roasted peanuts. However, commercially sold peanut butter will have some other additives and ingredients such as sugar, fat and oils. This is an issue because studies have shown a correlation between diets high in sugar and fats with heart disease.
PEANUT BUTTER NUTRITION STATS
The stats that follow are gotten from the USDA and it is applicable to 2 tablespoons (32g) of peanut butter.
- Calories: 190
- Fat: 16g
- Sodium: 140mg
- Carbohydrates: 8g
- Fiber: 2g
- Sugars: 3g
- Protein: 7g
PEANUT BUTTER IS RICH IN PROTEINS
Proteins can be classified into two categories: complete and incomplete. Our body requires 21 amino acids to be healthy and a complete protein is one that contains 9 amino acids. As the body is not capable of producing all 9 amino acids, it has to source the deficit from food that we ingest such as nuts, eggs, meat, dairy and soy. Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein but it does not contain all 9 amino acids either. Due to this, it is not considered a complete source. Methionine is the amino acids lacking in peanut butter.
Peanut is a legume and as such, peanut protein as with other legume protein sources is very low on methionine and cysteine. You cannot completely rely on legumes as your primary source of protein.
PEANUT BUTTER IS LOW IN CARBS
Peanut butter in its natural form without additives and sugar contains only about 20% carbs. It has a glycemic index of just 14 and this means that in two tablespoons of peanut butter, you have no worries your blood levels unlike with foods that have a higher glycemic index such as bread (75). Peanut butter is excellent for carb conscious people and those dealing with diabetes. Research has even shown that women who eat peanut butter at least 5 times weekly are less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes.
PEANUT BUTTER IS RICH IN HEALTHY FATS
In a 100 grams of peanut butter, you have about 588 calories. This is because it is rich in fat and despite it having this much calories, when you consume moderate amounts of natural peanut butter, it works very well in alignment with your weight loss programs.
Peanut butter contains monosaturated fats and this is made up of oleic acid which boosts insulin sensitivity.
Peanut butter is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids and they are of high benefit to fighting inflammation and cardiovascular issues.
PEANUT BUTTER IS RICH IN NUTRIENTS
In 100 grams of peanut butter, you have an abundance of vitamins and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium etc. these minerals are vital for the proper functioning of the body. This is a breakdown of the key nutrients to be found in 32 grams of peanut butter:
- 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
PEANUT BUTTER IS RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
There are high levels of antioxidants found in peanut butter and studies have shown that it rivals a lot of fruits in this regard. Peanuts are rich in polyphenols and p-coumaric acid. With roasting the levels of these compounds even increase and the overall antioxidant content can boost as much as 22%.
Peanuts do not have as many antioxidants as fruits such as berries but they do come close. You can also find some resveratrol in peanut butter and this has been found to be very beneficial to reducing the risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.
PEANUT BUTTER FOR ATHLETES AND BODY BUILDERS
Body builders love peanut butter because it is very rich in calories and monosaturated fats. This is very healthy for the body and reduces the risk of heart disease and plaques in your arteries. This category of fat is also less likely to remain in your body as stored fat and most athletes needs high amounts of protein to adequately recover from their work outs.
There are many sources of protein such as eggs, soy, fish and milk. Over one third of the total weight of peanut butter is from proteins and this makes it one of the most suitable sources for non-meat protein. Peanut butter is very easy to buy, it is affordable, tasteful and nourishing. This is an excellent way to get your proteins.
DOWNSIDES OF PEANUTS (AFLATOXINS)
Aflatoxins are very harmful to your body and they have been linked to cancer. They are produced by the molds in soil and as it is, peanuts grow underground and they tend to have the mold known as Aspergillus. Tis mold contains a lot of carcinogenic aflatoxins.
The exposure to aflatoxin from peanuts can be minimized just by visually inspecting them and looking for mold, discoloration and shriveled specimen. It is recommended to only purchase nuts and nut butter that has been produced in the USAs. This is your best bet to protect yourself from aflatoxins.
Peanut butter has a load of benefits and a few negatives. You need to find a moderation in how you consume it and ensure you get it from a reputable brand in the USA.
Peanut butter is very dense in calories so it is recommended that you consume no more than two tablespoons per serving. It is also rich in heathy fats but it is vital you peg your fat consumption at 25 to 30 % of your daily calorie intake.
Peanut butter can be consumed in a variety of ways and it is highly beneficial to you and your health.