Peanut butter is a food that reminds me of my childhood - maybe you are the same way! I could eat some peanut butter off a spoon but my favorite is in my oatmeal! Of course, if allergies aren’t an issue, there are health benefits that can come from eating peanut butter!
Nutritious and Delicious!
Nuts in particular have been given a bad reputation for their fat content which makes many people question if nuts and nut butters, such as peanut butter, are healthy. To get straight to the point - the presence of saturated fat doesn't automatically kick a food into the "unhealthy category. Foods like olive oil and even tofu - which are both "healthy" foods - have some saturated fat. What makes a food "healthy" is the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two.
Before we dive into the nutrients, here are some terms you may want to familiarize yourself with:
Unsaturated Fat: Generally liquid at room temperature, considered beneficial fats. Predominantly found in foods from plants, such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds.
Saturated Fat: Generally solid at room temperature, known as a less desired fat in the diet. Mainly found in animal foods and few plant foods.
Let's take a look at a peanut butter package for Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter (my personal favorite).
One Serving (2 Tablespoons) contains:
Total fat: 16 g
Saturated fat: 3.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 8
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 7 g
One serving of this peanut butter has 3.5 grams of saturated fat and roughly 12.5 grams of unsaturated fat, or about 80% unsaturated fat. That puts it up there with olive oil in terms of the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat. Peanut butter also gives you some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including roughly 200 milligrams of potassium), and other nutrients. Peanuts also contain one of the highest amounts of protein per serving among nuts and seeds! With the other nutrients found in peanut butter being larger quantities with beneficial qualities, studies have been conducted to show that even though peanut butter contains saturated fats, there are still benefits to the food because of the other nutrients!
A study in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that peanuts themselves can increase metabolic rate. When subjects consumed 505 kcal (+/- 118 kcal) of peanuts daily for 19 weeks, their resting metabolic rate increased by 11%. That is not the only finding of the benefits - numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts. Although it is possible that nut eaters are somehow different from, and healthier then, non-nut eaters, it is more likely that nuts themselves have a lot to do with these benefits.
After hearing this, what are your thoughts?? Were you someone who enjoyed peanut butter or other nut butters before reading this or not? Are you going to try adding peanut butter into your day? If so - take a look at the latest recipe I just posted!