Canadian Marcellus Gilmore Edson was the first person to patent peanut butter in 1884. For the past 133 years, this sticky goodness has been a staple in homes across North America.
Despite what you might think, peanut butter is as nutritious as it is delicious. Besides, it goes with everything. You can stuff celery with it, dip apples in it, make an uptown peanut butter and jelly sandwich with it or just dig in with a spoon and take in all of its goodness.
Defining Real Peanut Butter
You must consume only real peanut butter! Real peanut butter is simply ground peanuts, nothing more. Peanut butter is actually a pretty balanced energy source.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of peanut butter:
Carbohydrates: 20 grams (13 percent of calories)
Fat: 50 grams (72 percent of calories)
Protein: 25 grams (15 percent of calories)
There are 558 calories in a 100-gram portion of peanut butter. Although peanut butter is a rich protein, it lacks some essential amino acids such as lysine. If you want to make use of the protein you need to eat a lysine-rich source of protein along with it, such as meat or cheese.
Peanut butter contains about 50 percent monounsaturated fat and 20 percent saturated. The remaining fat is polyunsaturated fat, comprised mostly of omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid, which can cause a problem (more on that to come).
Heath Benefits of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of my favorite foods for health. If you have been blacklisting peanut butter, it is time to move it forward in your pantry and take a look at some of its amazing health benefits.
Peanut Butter is Nutritious
A 100-gram serving of peanut butter provides a plethora of vitamins and minerals including:
Vitamin E: 45 percent of the RDA
Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 67 percent of the RDA
Vitamin B6: 27 percent of the RDA
Folate: 18 percent of the RDA
Magnesium: 39 percent of the RDA
Copper: 24 percent of the RDA
Manganese: 73 percent of the RDA
In addition, peanut butter also includes a good dose of vitamin B5, potassium, iron, zinc and selenium.
Peanut Butter Makes You Feel Full
Peanut butter is loaded with monosaturated fat that helps make you feel full and satisfied. Consuming peanut butter in moderation can help keep you from snacking on unhealthy junk. A good serving size is about two tablespoons.
Peanut Butter May Help Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating peanut butter may help reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The study found that consuming two tablespoons of peanut butter at least five days a week can lower your risk of diabetes by as much as 30%.
Peanut Butter Helps You Become an Energy Powerhouse
The happy trio of protein, fat, and fiber in peanut butter can give you the midday kick that you need. Better yet, try a couple of tablespoons before your next workout and take it to the next level. Because it helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, you won’t crash later – an added bonus.
Peanut Butter Can Help You Drop Pounds
Peanuts contain more protein than other nuts; in fact, they contain 8 grams in 2 tablespoons. Combine that with the fat and fiber and this tasty snack will help keep you from eating too many calories which can help with weight loss. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, peanuts may even fuel your metabolic furnace. In the study, the subjects’ metabolic rate increased by 11% when they ate about 500 calories of peanuts daily for 19 weeks.
Peanut Butter Can Help You Have Healthier Muscles and Nerves
Peanut butter is high in the essential mineral magnesium. Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Eating peanut butter as part of a healthy diet can help the body with temperature regulation, energy production, the formation of strong teeth and bones and the maintenance of healthy muscles and nerves.
Peanut Butter Can Promote Brain Power
Peanuts are high in niacin. In fact, ½ cup of peanuts contains 50% of the RDA for niacin. Niacin deficiencies have been linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. In addition, there is some indication that niacin may help keep Parkinson’s disease at bay.
Despite the great things in peanut butter, there are a couple of things to be aware of. I can tell you that peanut butter is still top on my list regardless.
One of the most concerning things I think about peanuts is that they contain aflatoxins. Peanuts, which grow underground, are colonized by a fungus known as Aspergillus, a source of aflatoxins. These are toxic and highly carcinogenic. Although we can resist short-term exposure to these toxins, no one is quite sure what long-term exposure might do. Research says it may not be a good thing. Studies done in humans show a link to aflatoxin exposure and liver cancer, stunted growth in children and mental retardation in children whose mothers ate a lot of foods containing aflatoxins – corn, rice, peanuts, and milk
However, I must also note that the actual processing of peanuts into peanut butter can reduce aflatoxins by up to 89 percent. This is a good thing.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Remember earlier when I mentioned there would be more to come on these? Well, here it is. Peanut butter is comprised of about 30 percent omega-6 fatty acid and linoleic acid. Researchers have associated excessive omega-6 fatty acids with inflammation and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The problem is severe when most people already eat too many omega-6s and not enough omega-3s. Note that peanut butter contains no omega-3s.
Eating small amounts of peanut butter at a time will most likely not threaten your health or the health of your family members. That is, as long as you are eating 100 percent real peanut butter without any added ingredients like sugar, trans fats, and vegetable oils. Shop carefully and enjoy in moderation!
-The Alternative Daily