Peanut butter is so much more than a last minute sandwich spread. It is high in energy, protein and healthy fats, making it a popular food across the world.
Whether for vegans, bodybuilders or those who want to keep healthy – peanut butter can be a valuable and highly nutritious food.
Peanut butter health benefits
1. Source of protein
Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain seven grams of protein. And since peanut butter is made from a legume – namely the peanut – it contains a really large portion of protein. This makes them a coveted food for many veggies and fitness fans.
Protein not only helps build and repair muscle tissue, it is also digested more slowly than other nutrients, so you feel full and satisfied longer.
2. Lower cholesterol
The amount and composition of the fats in peanut butter is comparable to that in olive oil. Because both unsaturated and monounsaturated fats are present, you can even eat peanut butter every day without putting your heart at increased risk.
The unsaturated fats in peanut butter can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL, low density lipoprotein) and promote the circulation of good cholesterol (HDL, high density lipoprotein).
3. More potassium
Another mineral in peanut butter is potassium (70 mg per 100 g), which acts as an electrolyte and is needed for the body’s fluid balance.
Most of us consume far too much sodium, although it is well known that sodium can wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system. Peanut butter is an excellent source of potassium and potassium in turn counteracts the dangers of sodium.
4. Healthy fats
Peanut butter is rightly considered to be very high in fat. However, it mainly contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on the brain and heart, among other things.
Please note, not all peanut butters are the same. Some may contain trans fats, usually refined butters. Below, we have a few tips when going grocery shopping.
5. High in fiber
Peanuts and peanut butter are both high in fiber. One cup (about 125 g) of peanuts or peanut butter contains 12 g and 20 g of fiber, respectively.
Fiber is one of the most important parts of our diet as a lack of fiber can lead to several health problems and diseases, such as constipation, diabetes, high cholesterol and various heart diseases.
6. Peanut butter reduces the risk of gallstones
Gallstones are one of the biggest health risks in Western countries, caused by obesity, crash diets, cholesterol-lowering drugs or the pill.
The results of a study on the link between peanut consumption and gallstones show that women who regularly consumed peanut butter and nuts actually had a reduced risk of developing gallstones over a period of 20 years.
7. You stay full longer
The high fat and protein content in peanut butter ensures that it is digested more slowly, so you can feel full longer. Carbohydrate-rich snacks such as crackers or fruit alone only satisfy hunger for a very short time.
But if you combine them with peanut butter, your snack will have a balanced ratio between protein, carbohydrates and fat, which will keep you full and satisfied longer.
8. Other nutritional values
Protein, fiber, healthy fats, potassium and antioxidants, magnesium, and the list of healthy ingredients in peanut butter goes on. A serving of peanut butter provides you with at least 3 mg of the antioxidant vitamin E. It also contains magnesium (about 49g), which is very important for building bones and muscle recovery.
It also contains a small but essential amount of vitamin B6 (0.17mg), which helps to strengthen your immune system. The same goes for the small amount of zinc that is also included.
What’s the best peanut butter?
Of course, not all peanut butter brands are made the same way. When shopping, don’t just pay attention to the fat content. This is actually about the same for all brands and is not the best indicator of whether the product is good. Here are some simple tips to help you choose the healthiest peanut butter:
- Any organic peanut butter is a good choice if you want to eat less unhealthy fats. Peanut butter, which contains only natural ingredients, is usually made primarily from peanuts, while others can sometimes contain artificial additives to improve the taste.
- The sugar content of the peanut butter should be a buying factor. Commercial peanut butter brands sometimes contain up to 250mg (per tablespoon) more sugar than organic brands. The sugar, on the other hand, adds a lot to the taste, though if you’re on a diet, this type might not be for you.
- Also, look for the sodium content on the ingredient list. Here, too, organic brands usually contain less sodium. Too much of it can mask the nut taste.
Peanut butter with no additives is a good alternative too if you can’t find an organic brand. However, if you want a particularly healthy peanut butter, you should opt for a purely organic peanut butter with no added sugar.
Nutritional information (per 100 g)
|Omega 3||78 mg|
Hardly any other purely plant-based food is as energy-dense as peanut butter.
Whether peanut butter has any health benefits depends on whether it’s natural. If it contains only peanuts, it has roughly the same value as peanuts themselves. In this case, for example, peanut butter provides a good portion of high-quality vegetable protein as well as various B vitamins, including especially folic acid and vitamin E, which works against premature signs of aging and generally protects the body’s cells from free radical damage.
The magnesium content in peanut butter is particularly high: At 180 milligrams, 100 grams contain more than the same amount of peanuts and cover almost two thirds of the daily requirement of women and almost half that of men. Among other things, this makes peanut butter valuable for a well-functioning nervous system and the smooth flow of tension and relaxation of the muscles.
Of course, peanut butter is also high in fat. However, these are predominantly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial to health and are of vital importance for many body functions.
Overall, it can be said: peanut butter is not the best choice for anyone looking to lose weight. Everyone else, especially athletes, can benefit from the healthy ingredients, as long as they consume a healthy amount (around 2 tablespoons daily).