Contrary to the controversy surrounding the high fat content of this American staple, peanut butter nutrition is essential to a healthy balanced diet. It’s true that peanut butter is high in fat, but the fat in peanut butter is healthy monounsaturated fat, making it one of the best nut spreads to include in a healthy diet.
Nevertheless, this hugely popular food item has raised quite a few questions about its “healthiness,” partly because of the fact that it contains saturated fats and sodium. These are all valid points, so let’s take a moment to go through each of them to help you determine if peanut butter should be a part of your well-balanced diet.
Benefits of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter does include lot of saturated fat, which are often thought of as unhealthy and a food to avoid, especially for people trying to lose weight. However, most of the fat in this butter, about 80% is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. These fats are beneficial to the body. They can help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease, as well as help keep cholesterol levels in check. In addition and contrary to all beliefs, peanut butter can aid in weight loss by keeping you full longer and providing the protein boost you need either in the morning or after your workout. Paired with whole grain bread, celery or mixed into a breakfast bar, peanut butter can give you the healthy fats you need.
A necessary part of any healthy diet is the inclusion of dietary fiber. Peanut butter contains about 8% of the daily fiber content you need. Fiber does more than keep you full and regulate your digestive system; they also help regulate blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels in your body. In addition to these, dietary fibers are also known to reduce incidents of atherosclerosis and colorectal cancer.
Proteins and Other Nutrients
The essential building blocks of our body can be found in peanut butter. Crucial nutrients like protein and other vital minerals are naturally found in peanuts. In fact, protein makes up 24% of the nutrition found in peanut butter. Other vital nutrients found in peanut butter include:
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin E
Vitamin B3 aids in the protection of cancer by way of recovering DNA cell damage. It’s also known to improve bodily functions by assuring the proper secretion of hormones. Vitamin E is known for its quality to reduce cardiovascular diseases and risk of cancer.
Another interesting component found in peanuts is resveratrol, a chemical compound found in plants that contain antimicrobial properties which keeps plants safe from bacteria and fungi. This compound when ingested by humans is shown to produce the similar properties. In fact, when it tested on mice, it proved to show anti-aging, anti-cancer and anti-viral reactions when ingested.
The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry believes that regular consumption of peanut butter can help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
With a higher antioxidant content than carrot or apples, peanut butter is helpful in releasing free radicals or toxins from the body, thus being important for the overall health of your body.
The bottom line is with so many benefits, peanut butter is nothing short of a good addition to your breakfast table or for snacks. As with anything, eat peanut butter in moderation, but don’t be fooled into believing it’s an unhealthy choice because of its fat content.