Peanut butter sandwiches are a popular breakfast meal in the West, offering a quick, easy, and highly nutritious option to kickstart your day. Despite being a favorite among kids and deliciously tempting, many health-conscious individuals shy away from peanut butter due to a misconception that it contributes to weight gain. In reality, peanut butter is packed with numerous health benefits, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet. Let's explore the various ways peanut butter can enhance our well-being:
Health Benefits Of Peanut Butter
Let us now discover how peanut butter uses can benefit our health:
1. Weight loss
Peanut butter has gained recognition among diet and fitness experts as an excellent aid for weight loss. Although a serving contains 150-200 calories, its high protein and fiber content effectively suppress hunger, even for emotional eaters. This keeps you feeling full for longer periods.
2. Promotes Cardiac Health
Loaded with healthy fats, particularly unsaturated fats, peanut butter supports cardiovascular health. Moreover, it aids in cell repair, making it beneficial for those with existing heart conditions. Regular consumption can lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
3. Lowers the Risk of Diabetes
For individuals with type 2 diabetes, peanut butter's low carbohydrate content makes it a suitable choice. Its magnesium content helps regulate blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and studies suggest that consuming two tablespoons of high-protein peanut butter five days a week can reduce the risk of developing diabetes by about 30%.
4. Promotes Sleep and Improves Mood
Peanut butter contains tryptophan, an amino acid that regulates sleep hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin, also known as the "happy hormone," contributes to better sleep and improved mood.
5. Prevents Gallstones
Gallstones, which are hard deposits of bile in the gallbladder, often occur due to a high percentage of cholesterol in the body. However, peanut butter's ability to reduce LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels helps diminish the likelihood of gallstone formation.
6. Aids in Bodybuilding
Bodybuilders require a substantial amount of protein in their diet to support their rigorous training. Fortunately, peanut butter comes to the rescue with its high protein content. Just a spoonful of this natural and healthy spread contains 8g of protein, 2g of fiber, 208mg of potassium, and over half a gram of iron – a perfect blend of nutrients for bodybuilders engaged in heavy lifting.
7. Promotes Strong Bones
Peanut butter plays a crucial role in promoting strong and healthy bones. Abundant in iron and calcium, it facilitates efficient calcium transportation throughout the body, contributing to the absorption of essential nutrients. This process prevents muscle cramps and fatigue, ultimately improving bone and muscle health.
8. Antioxidant Properties
In addition to being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, peanut butter boasts valuable antioxidants like folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, resveratrol, and pantothenic acid. These antioxidants carry out specific functions in the body, such as lowering cholesterol levels, enhancing digestion and nerve function (niacin), converting food into energy (riboflavin), and combating chronic diseases (resveratrol).
9. Keeps Cancer at Bay
Research has shown that peanut butter possesses cancer-preventive capabilities, particularly in regard to colon, breast, and prostate cancers. This anti-cancer effect is attributed to Beta-sitosterol, a substance present in peanut butter that regulates the formation and spread of cancerous cells in the body.
10. Suppresses Sugar Cravings
One of the remarkable qualities of healthy peanut butter is its ability to help overcome sugar cravings and reduce the consumption of sugary and junk foods. Its unique blend of salty and sugary flavors makes it an excellent substitute for sugar in healthier dishes. Moreover, the high healthy fat content in peanut butter prolongs the feeling of fullness, curbing unnecessary snacking.
11. Dietary Fibre
Peanut butter is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which plays a vital role in preventing constipation, obesity, and stroke. Including peanut butter in your diet can help maintain healthy digestion and overall well-being.
Types Of Peanut Butter
So, you've made the decision to incorporate peanut butter into your daily diet. As you browse the market, you'll notice three main varieties of peanut butter: chunky or crunchy, creamy or smooth, and natural or organic. The question arises: which one is the healthiest choice? Let's delve into the details to find out!
Both chunky and creamy peanut butter varieties are available in natural, organic, homemade, and regular options. Among these, the healthiest choices are the natural, homemade, and organic versions of peanut butter. Regular peanut butter contains hydrogenated oil, sugar, and preservatives for extended shelf life, but the hydrogenated oil can be harmful to your health.
For a healthier option, go for natural peanut butter, which contains only peanuts and oil from the nuts, without any added preservatives. This type needs to be refrigerated due to its lack of preservatives. Another excellent choice is organic peanut butter, which ensures that no pesticides were used in growing the peanuts. While it might be slightly more expensive, it eliminates exposure to harmful chemicals. Just like natural peanut butter, the organic variety also requires refrigeration.
Among all these varieties, homemade peanut butter stands out as the best option, being both budget-friendly and healthy. When made and stored properly, homemade peanut butter can last up to three months.
How To Make Peanut Butter At Home:
Making peanut butter at home is a simple and quick process. By following a few easy steps, you can create healthy peanut butter right in your kitchen. Here are the required ingredients:
- 2 cups of shelled peanuts
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1-2 tablespoons of honey
- 1-2 tablespoons of peanut oil
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and roast the peanuts on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until they turn light golden and release their oil.
- Transfer the roasted peanuts to a food processor and finely chop them. For chunky peanut butter, pulse them lightly and set aside half a cup of chopped nuts.
- Now, continue grinding the remaining peanuts for about 2 minutes until the mixture becomes smooth and glossy. Add salt, peanut oil, and honey, and grind for another 1 or 2 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth in texture.
- Your homemade healthy peanut butter is now ready. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three months. Before use, turn the container upside down to remix the peanut oils and solids.
Peanut Butter Uses
Peanut butter boasts a variety of uses in popular recipes, such as peanut butter and banana smoothies, peanut butter with ice cream, and peanut butter on toast. It has also found its way into salads and gravies like Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce, thanks to its health benefits.
For those who enjoy baking, peanut butter can be an excellent addition to create healthier baked goods. Consider trying out recipes like flourless peanut butter cookies and peanut butter cupcakes. If you prefer hassle-free desserts, you can make oatmeal peanut butter energy bars, peanut butter crepes, and no-bake peanut butter cookies with oats and flax seeds.
For fitness enthusiasts looking for quick snacks or refreshing drinks, peanut butter in smoothies and energy bars can be a perfect choice. Peanut butter protein offers an excellent way to boost protein intake, similar to branded protein powders and supplements.
Peanut butter is a nutritional powerhouse, providing our bodies with essential proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Embracing the versatility of peanut butter in our daily routines allows us to reap its numerous benefits. When it comes to healthy and crunchy snacks, it's hard to think of a better option. So, why not make peanut butter an integral part of your diet and experience its positive effects firsthand?
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Authored By: Divya Shankar
About Author: Divya Shankar is a multifaceted content writer with 7+ years of experience. She has exclusive writing expertise in ayurveda.