nutrition

The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

After the popularization of healthy eating and the westernization of our food habits, peanut butter has become one of the most renowned names in spreads and breakfast foods. It is arguably the most popular breakfast food for the Americans and now, is quickly making its way to all the Indian households too because of its taste and its nutritional value.

Peanut butter carries the dual benefits of being a great source of protein and being amazingly delicious and tasty so much so that an average American consumes up to 3 pounds per year! It can be easily found in the market or can also be made at home. It is one of the best sources of good fat and the most affordable source of protein that one can find in the market.

Though reportedly, peanut butter is one among the eight well-known allergens found in the American food which affects close to 1.4% of the American population (4.6 million people), peanut butter is the main source of protein and nutrition for people who do not have ample nutrition in their daily diet or are heavily malnutritioned.

What is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is made by finely grinding roasted peanuts and making a fine paste out of it. If the peanut butter is home-made, it is mostly an unprocessed food. The ones found in the market however, have added ingredients in the likes of sugar, vegetable oil and in some cases, even trans-fat.

The ones found in the market can rob you off your immunity and health as consuming regular amounts of extra sugar added in the peanut butter can have adverse effects on the insulin levels on your body, can accumulate an added layer of fat under your skin and around the essential organs of your body, ultimately contributing to worsening your heart’s well-being. It is advisable to have a good look at the ingredients list on the cover of a peanut butter bottle before you buy one. A bottle of good peanut butter should contain nothing but roasted peanuts, olive oil and a bit of salt. While buying peanut butter, you should keep in mind that the nutritional value of peanut butter should essentially be same as that of peanuts because peanut butter is nothing but a paste made out of the roasted peanuts.

Nutritional benefits of Peanut Butter:

Peanut butter is on the higher side in the scale of calories. It is advisable to consume a tablespoon of peanut butter per day for your daily dosage of protein. If you happen to work out religiously, consuming two tablespoons of peanut butter as your pre-workout snack can give your body the required nutrition it needs just before you sweat through the workout. The calorie count of peanut butter is so high that it can deliver almost a quarter of one’s recommended daily portion of fat. Although the calorie count is higher in peanut butter because of its richness in good fat, the nutritional benefits of peanut butter outweigh its calorie count.

The calorie and the nutrition content in peanut butter makes one feel fuller faster than any other breakfast alternative, making you cut down your consumption considerably throughout the day. As little as a single tablespoon of peanut butter daily proves to be extremely healthy for you and your heart. A daily intake of peanut butter or 1.5 grams of nuts considerably reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases as per a multitude of studies and researches.

The Carbohydrate Content in Peanut Butter:

The carbohydrate content in peanut butter or in peanuts makes up for just 13% to 16% of its total weight. This means that the Glycemic Index (GI) of peanut butter is only 14 which is living proof of the fact that peanut butter is friendly for your heart as well as your blood sugar levels. Peanut butter mostly has complex carbohydrates, making the body work harder for to digest the food leading to a greater burn in calories.

The Fat Content in Peanut Butter:

Peanut butter has 16 grams of fat per serving, most of which is the healthy variants of fat – the monounsaturated and the polyunsaturated fat. Oleic acid is the source of the monounsaturated fats in the peanut butter which is responsible for regulating the cholesterol levels in the body. Similarly, linoleic acid is the source of the polyunsaturated fats present in peanut butter which aids in building muscles in the body. Other than monounsaturated and polyunsaturated acids, peanut butter also has a considerable amount of omega-3 fatty acids, the fatty acids responsible for bringing down the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Though peanut butter is rich in fat content, it is absolutely 100% cholesterol free.

The Protein Content in Peanut Butter

Unlike the carbohydrate content, 35% of the total weight of peanut butter is comprised of protein. This makes peanut butter the go-to source of protein for the vegetarians and the vegans. Peanut butter has 7 grams of protein per serving, making peanut butter one of the richest sources of plant protein.

The Micronutrient Content in Peanut Butter

The nutrition content in peanut butter is not just limited to complex carbohydrates, good fats and protein. Peanut butter helps you reach your daily portion of vitamins and minerals too – it consists of important B-complex vitamins, significant minerals and antioxidants. Peanut butter is rich in copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), Vitamin E, Zinc, etc.

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

As peanut butter is so rich in nutritional content, it also comes associated with a ton of health benefits. A few of the health benefits of peanut butter are listed below:

Great for weight loss: Add a tablespoon of peanut butter in your breakfast and in your pre-workout snack to burn off those extra inches of stubborn fat from your body. Peanut butter also helps in cutting down your food consumption all day by making you feel full faster, thus bringing down your calorie consumption considerably.

Has high content of good and healthy fats: Peanut butter is one such rare food which has greater amounts of good fats in it (the heart-friendly monounsaturated fat) – the kind of fat which contributes towards increasing the metabolic rate of the body and in aiding the fat burning process.

Rich in micronutrients and other valuable nutrition: Peanut butter supplies the body with essential amounts of potassium, zinc, and iron in addition to protein and healthy fats which contributes to greater levels of immunity, fitness, lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases, brings down the cholesterol levels and keeps the heart healthy and active.

Has a considerable amount of fibre: Peanut butter is filled with fibrous content which is good for your bowel health, has a healthy content of magnesium to alleviate your bone health and strengthen your bones, and is rich in Vitamin E and B complexes and antioxidants.

Alleviates blood circulation in the body: Since peanut butter is rich in iron, copper, magnesium, and potassium, consumption of peanut butter helps maintain an appropriate blood flow in the body.

Makes you feel active all day: Since peanut butter has significant amounts of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein, consumption and digestion of peanut butter releases and requires quite a lot of calories, resulting in making you feel active and energetic all day.

Though peanut butter is loaded with health benefits and positive nutritional contributions to the body, it also contains aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are known to cause harm to the body of the consumer in the long run. Thus, it is advisable to consume peanut butter only in a limited amount each day. Binge eating on peanut butter can have some adverse effects on the body with hastening the processing of filling the body with toxins, making the person fall sick in the future inadvertently.

 

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