“Man cannot live by bread alone; he must have peanut butter.” You know, 20th American President James A. Garfield might well have been on to something. And it seems that modern day gym-goers and fitness fanatics agree. Peanut butter is (again) fast-becoming one of the most popular foods amongst the health and fitness community, but there are still many people that shy away from this creamy spread due to its high fat content. Yes, it may be high in fat but it is high in HEALTHY fats which are very important to include in a balanced diet anyway! But it’s not just that, peanut butter can provide you with a host of other benefits, so here are the Top 5 Health Benefits of Peanut Butter!
1. High in unsaturated fat
As already mentioned, peanut butter is high in healthy fats. 100g of peanut butter contains 50g of fat, 76% of which is unsaturated fat whilst only 20% is saturated. Unsaturated fats are a vital part of a healthy diet as they play an important role in reducing cholesterol and can protect against heart disease. However, don’t forget that unsaturated fats are still high in calories, so do try to exercise a little portion control (if you can) a golf ball sized dollop is the recommended serving size.
2. Helps prevent overeating
The combination of protein and unsaturated fats in peanut butter contribute to feelings of satiety and can really help to curb your appetite and prevent unnecessary snacking. (Momma Nature is clever, eh?) One study found that when they swapped 500 calories of a person’s normal diet for peanuts, it resulted in the participants feeling fuller than normal. The participants consequently found themselves eating less even though not instructed to.
3. Provides energy
A mixture of fats, protein and fibre is the perfect recipe for slow, sustainable energy release, and this is exactly what peanut butter contains. Try adding it to your morning porridge for an energy boost that will last you way into the morning. Peanut butter is a great snack as it keeps you full until your next meal and provides you with an abundance of energy. Add to apple slices (my favourite) banana or even to celery sticks or toast for a fuel-filled pre-gym snack that really sticks to your ribs!
4. Reduces risk of diabetes
A study undertaken on women found that adding peanut butter to their diet reduced the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It worked by increasing insulin sensitivity and keeping blood sugar levels stable. However, the researchers did note that because of its high calorie content, peanut butter should be eaten as a substitute for foods high in saturated fat and not eaten in addition to, otherwise you could gain weight.
5. Good for brain health
Being high in niacin (vitamin B3) means that peanut butter could help to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. Preliminary studies have investigated the relationship between niacin and Alzheimer’s and found that a sustainable amount of niacin in the diet could protect against the development of Alzheimer’s and provide a slower rate of cognitive decline.
If you’re curious to know which is better for your health – smooth or crunchy, it’s very much swings and roundabouts. Smooth is higher in vitamin E and protein, whereas crunchy is lower in saturated fat and has more fibre and folate. The only thing that is very important when choosing a peanut butter is to make sure you go for one with no added sugar or palm oil. Check the ingredients and go for brands that are made with 100% blended peanuts (or ones with a just the minimum of added salt). Love peanut butter and nut butters as much as we do? Tell us about it and don’t forget to tell us your fave recipes below or @ KeepfitKingdom !