Peanut butter is a versatile and delicious addition to any meal, snack or smoothie (or on its own – depending on how much you love it)! In honour of National Peanut Butter Lovers month this November, I thought it would be fitting to write a blog that outlines the numerous health benefits of this wonderful spread, as well as the explaining the potential risks associated with consuming it.
Developed and presented as a health food in the US in 1890, peanut butter has been a household favourite for almost 130 years. Food and Drug Administration requirements specify that peanut butter must contain at least 90% peanuts by weight, while all other ingredients in peanut butter must equal less than 10% by weight. Therefore, eating peanut butter is the equivalent to eating a handful of peanuts, which as stated by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, “provides an important source of plant protein and other nutrients” which we need every day to contribute towards a balanced diet. As with anything, the effects of peanut butter will change depending on how people use it in their diet; it can help them lose weight, or it will help to put on pounds during weight training or bodybuilding.
Any health blogger or nutritionist will advise that nuts and seeds are a valuable source of minerals and nutrients required for a healthy and balanced diet. Peanuts are no exception. Peanut butter provides high levels of proteins, as well as essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, niacin and Vitamin B-6. That said, did you know, peanuts are more pea than nut, as they are actually a legume belonging to the pea lentil and chickpea family?
Peanut butter contains many nutrients that can improve your heart health. It is a great source of iron, magnesium, and potassium, all of which play an integral role in maintaining the proper blood flow in the body. Just a small amount of peanut butter per day can support the maintenance of a healthy cholesterol level which is associated with a reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Peanut butter is high in magnesium, a mineral that fortifies your bones and muscles. It also contains healthy fats and protein which provides us with lots of slow releasing energy. This therefore creates a healthier balance, avoiding the fatigue dips that people tend to get later on in the afternoon.
Weight Loss and Weight Gain
There are a number of studies looking into the role peanut butter plays in weight loss and weight gain. Regarding weight loss, peanuts and peanut butter improve satiety, the feeling of fullness, thanks to their high protein, fat and fiber content. Therefore one is less likely to snack or over eat at other points during the day.
With regards to weight gain, many fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders will incorporate peanut butter into their diet to build muscle mass. Not only is it an easy way to increase calorie intake, peanut butter is also a source of protein, an essential component for building and repairing muscles. Spreading peanut butter on whole-grain bread provides a more complete protein meal or snack.
Enjoy in Moderation
Despite peanuts numerous health advantages, as with anything, moderation is key. Peanut butter’s high calories and fat content means if consumed in high quantities, you will lose any balance you were seeking to gain.
In addition to this, each serving of peanut butter contains approximately 150mg of sodium, which is 10% of an adult’s ideal daily upper intake of sodium. Therefore, whilst peanut butter is packed with nutritional value, it must be enjoyed in moderation for you to reap its benefits!
Nutritional Therapist in Manchester
As a nutritional therapist, I recognise the benefits of using peanut butter in one’s diet and I personally enjoy including it in both my savoury and sweet recipes. Here is one of my favourite smoothie recipes, which includes a dollop of peanut butter for a creamier and nutty flavour:
Rest assured, enjoyed in moderation, you can feel good about digging into your favourite jar to reap the nutrition benefits from peanut butter. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch today to discuss your nutritional requirements, and help on how to create a guilt free food-plan which you can enjoy whilst also meeting your dietary requirements.