Peanut Butter - 5 Nutty Health Benefits of the Delicious Spread
By Hubert Gu
With Americans eating about 700 million pounds of peanut butter a year, it is no surprise that it has become a staple in every household. Peanut butter was invented in the early 20th century and became highly popularized for its sustenance in the world wars. The spread was also used as a highly digestible source of protein for patients who struggled to chew meat. Nowadays, peanuts have become the 12th most valuable cash crop in the United States, with an average jar of peanut butter requiring 540 peanuts to produce. Not only does the creamy spread pair perfectly with jam in a sandwich, but it also offers numerous health benefits that make it a great ingredient to incorporate into a plethora of foods.
Peanut butter is an excellent source of many health-promoting nutrients including Vitamin E and B6, Niacin, Manganese, and Magnesium. It also boosts bone health and immune system function through its copper contents, which some research suggests can also reduce risks for osteoporosis. Finally, it is an excellent source of protein, making it a highly popular ingredient in various ‘exercise foods’ such as protein bars and protein shakes.
With a heart attack occurring every 40 seconds in the United States, it is imperative to maintain heart health. A great way to achieve this is to improve one’s diet. Peanut butter contains oleic acid, which is proven to maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. These are crucial for maintaining strong heart health and lowering the risk of heart disease. The arginine content in peanut butter also helps to prevent heart and vascular disease by promoting good blood vessel function. In addition, the monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, niacin, magnesium, and vitamin E all contribute to creating a healthy ratio of unsaturated fats to saturated fats, which is needed for a healthy heart.
The fat, protein, and fibre content in peanuts help to improve the feeling of satiety. This helps to make one feel more full while eating less, improving body weight control and aiding in weight loss. The consumption of peanut butter is also known to help improve metabolism, in turn improving digestion. Finally, studies have proven that nuts can help with lower BMI, or Body Mass Index, which is a crucial metric in weight loss.
In Canada, 1 in 8 women develops breast cancer, and 1 in 33 die from it. The consumption of peanut butter has effects that help mitigate this. If consumed from a young age, peanut butter is shown to reduce the risk of benign breast disease (BBD). Furthermore, those with hereditary evidence of breast cancer can significantly lower their risk by eating peanut butter.
People with type 2 diabetes can also turn to peanut butter as a great source of nutrition. Peanuts are naturally low in carbs which helps to regulate blood sugar spikes. This makes peanut butter a great snack for those with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the fulfilling characteristics of the spread help those with diabetes to manage their calorie intake and eat less without feeling hungry.
Finally, the antioxidant compounds in peanuts prevent and repair cell damage in the human body. This property can reduce the risk of cancer and various other chronic diseases. The most notable antioxidant is resveratrol, which is shown to have anti-cancer effects while simultaneously helping to reduce risks of obesity, heart disease, and cognitive decline.
Peanut butter has been a popular food amongst fitness enthusiasts, and not without reason. Its high-calorie content helps bodybuilders to reach calorie goals while simultaneously limiting unsaturated fat intake.
The protein in nut butters also helps to build and repair muscles, and while it is not the most protein-dense food available, it acts as a perfect ingredient to pair with other nutritious foods to maximize protein intake.
In conclusion, the unique properties and benefits that peanut butter provides have made it a must-have household food for the past century. It provides a breadth of different nutrients to ensure healthy bodily function and is very versatile as an ingredient.