Peanut Butter: Pleasantly Beneficial!

Peanut ButterSusan loved peanut butter when she was growing up. That means she loved anything with peanut butter either in it or on it. Her passion for peanut butter transcended all other foods, almost to the point of excluding anything without peanut butter. It was so extreme that during her younger years her parents were forced to constantly buy and prepare foods with peanut butter, just to get her to stop whining and eat. In other words, she grew up eating way too much peanut butter. You wouldn’t believe what she ate: peanut butter pancakes, peanut butter cereals, peanut butter on celery, peanut butter on apples, peanut butter on crackers, peanut butter sandwiches, peanut butter cookies, peanut butter milkshakes, peanut butter cheesecake, peanut butter fudge…you get the idea. I could go on and on with the list.

However, by the time Susan reached adulthood, she had toned it down quite a bit. She still loved peanut butter sandwiches in the morning, the occasional thai dish with peanut sauce and a peanut butter infused bakery item now and then but, by and large, she ate normal food. Her perspective had changed so much over time that when her doctor told her that she should try to lose 25 pounds for her health, she started wondering if she should remove peanut butter from her diet completely. She had heard that it was calorie dense and high in fat and therefore could be a contributor to her weight issue. I’m proud of her for being willing to contemplate that sacrifice, but the question is, is that a sacrifice she should be making?

Is peanut butter healthy?
Despite having a nut in its name, peanut butter is actually a legume and is related to lentils, chickpeas and other beans. Like those foods, peanut butter is bursting with nutritional value and a multitude of health benefits. Even though peanuts are high in fat, the fat content is beneficial, mainly because the fats are monounsaturated fats. Specifically, the heart healthy fat, oleic acid, which is also found in olive oil, which is very popular in the Mediterranean diet. In addition, peanuts provide a good source of protein, manganese, vitamin E, folate, niacin, zinc, copper and antioxidants (such as resveratrol which is found in red wine and red grapes). That rich antioxidant content of peanuts is important because it can provide cardio protective benefits.

On top of its heart healthy benefits, research has shown that consuming peanuts in moderation may also help decrease the risk of stroke, prevent gallstones, protect against Alzheimer’s and age related cognitive decline, all while helping to control your weight. Research has shown that eating nuts in moderation, such as peanuts, does not lead to weight gain. Rather, the fat in peanut butter helps to satiate your appetite, so that you eat less throughout the day. Researchers have also found that people who never eat nuts are more likely to gain weight then those who do so in moderation.

Even though peanut butter is healthy, it shouldn’t be the main ingredient in your meals. After all, it is a high calorie food. Two tablespoons contains almost 200 calories and if you consume eight tablespoons in one day that is 800 calories you now have to account for. That’s way too much of a good thing. If you eat that much peanut butter on a daily basis and don’t increase your activity level, it can definitely contribute to weight gain. So, even though peanut butter is a great addition to your diet, it needs to be consumed in small doses.

The bottom line:
If you are avoiding peanut butter because you think consuming it is going to make you gain weight, then you are probably wrong. At least if you eat it in moderation. Eating peanut butter is actually a very healthy choice, that will most likely satisfy your appetite, making you less likely to seek an unhealthy snack later. So, spread a little on your sandwich, some crackers, a celery stick or apple and enjoy! You are actually doing your body good!

Disclaimer: If you have an allergy to peanuts, you should obviously not consume peanut butter.

Source: Whfoods.com

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  1. Isabel van Sunder says:

    I used to eat peanut butter but then I got allergic to it that’s why it is out of my meals now.

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