When it comes to healthy food that’s also delicious, it’s not like we’re exactly spoilt for choice, is it? Everyone’s a sucker for rich, delicious snacks from time to time yet if you’re not careful, one moment of weakness can cancel out your hard work in the gym. A good dollop of peanut butter on the other hand, can be the middle man between delicious treat and healthy addition to your daily nutritional habits. Let’s have a look at the 5 primary benefits to eating PB and why you need to eat more peanut butter.
1. It’s a great source of protein…
When it comes to protein intake, there’s a contingent of food items that tend to be overlooked in favour of the most common sources: poultry, beef, seafood and diary. Unless you’re vegan, it’s not actually all that frequent you hear about alternative sources of protein……like peanuts. Protein is an essential macro nutrient that plays a vital role in the maintenance and repair of cells in the body.
With peanut butter providing the same amount of protein as the equivalent of real peanuts in weight, we’re often surprised it’s not being given the credit it deserves. Two tablespoons of PB is going to provide you with around 7-10g of protein which will certainly contribute to your daily macro-nutrient goals.
2. …and energy
Whilst carbohydrate acts as your body’s primary and preferred energy source, fat is another usable energy source providing your body with a sustainable amount of calories for a very low volume of food. Fat packs a whopping 9 calories per gram – over double the 4 calories provided in the equivalent of proteins or carbs. The fat in peanut butter (which we refer to as “good” fats) can be used by the body very quickly, resulting in an instant boost in energy.
Try adding a splodge of PB on some rice cakes for a light, energy dense snack that will be sure to perk you up and boost performance, at any time in the day!
3. They bulletproof your heart
Okay – big claim. Whilst we’d hope all readers to acknowledge that this is a slight exaggeration, it doesn’t change the fact that peanuts and peanut butter can be a one of the best foods you can eat for good heart health. The high levels of polyunsaturated fats found in peanuts aid in the reduction of inflammation around the body and help make the blood vessels around the heart stronger and healthier. They can also help reduce bad cholesterol. A study found that people who ate peanuts or peanut butter at least 4 times a week had a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease in comparison to people who rarely ate them!
4. They’re packed with potassium
Move over bananas! Another one of the recognised health benefits of peanut butter is the potassium content. Potassium is often neglected and many people fail to realise the role it plays in the body. Potassium is an electrolyte that has various different roles and functions. Potassium helps maintain normal water balance in the cells and can help reduce the harmful effects of sodium including heart disease, obesity and stroke.
To really enjoy the benefits of peanut butter (and peanut butter, for that matter) incorporate it into your daily eating habits in moderation whilst minimising your exposure to foods with added salt. Scrap that, as general rule, aim to avoid foods with added anything.
5. Packed with nutrients
Protein, good fats and potassium. The good news doesn’t stop there, it seems like the list of health benefits of peanut butter is endless. One serving of PB will give you a healthy does of essential micro-nutrients like vitamin E, an antioxidant, magnesium, vital for building strong ones and aiding muscle recovery and vitamin B6 that can help boost immunity.
Peanut butter needn’t be regarded as a guilty treat. Instead, we can look at PB as an healthy addition to our eating habits that has a number of health benefits. With the incredibly versatile nature of peanut butter, it can be used in a number of ways to suit your individual food preferences and lifestyle. Just be careful to log your intake and watch those calories! The high fat content in PB can quite quickly turn into a calorie laden nightmare capable of sabotaging your goals if it’s not moderated.