Peanut butter is one of the hallmarks of American cuisine. It’s in our sandwiches, our cookies, and even alights on our celery from time to time. It’s delicious, sure, but how good is peanut butter for us? It is one of the most caloric foods found in the average American kitchen, weighing in at roughly 170-200 calories per two tablespoon serving – and for some of us, limiting ourselves to two tablespoon servings of our favorite nut spread can be quite difficult. Most of the calories come from fat.
The good news is, most of the fats contained are monounsaturated, and have been shown to improve the cholesterol profile by lowering “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. The positive effect it has on cholesterol levels is further enhanced by peanut butter containing polyunsaturated fats, which in turn help raise “good” HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. This synergistic effect makes peanut butter a good choice for those trying to naturally regulate their cholesterol levels.
Peanut butter is also fairly high in fiber, providing about 8% – 10% of the recommended daily allowance in each serving. Dietary fiber has been shown to play an important role in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and colo-rectal cancer, and helps to regulate cholesterol and blood-sugar levels. What’s more, it’s fairly high in protein, suppling roughly seven or eight grams per serving. Protein is vital to our entire physical system, making up about 16% of our total body weight, and playing a role in all of the cells and most of the fluids our bodies contain.
Along with beneficial minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, calcium, and potassium, peanut butter is a good source of vitamins E and B3, also known as niacin. Vitamin E is a powerful lipsoluble antioxidant, which means that it blends with the fatty or lipid portions of our bodies. It’s able to remove toxins from the body, and promotes protection against numerous forms of cancer, including lung, colon, and breast cancers. Vitamin B3, or niacin, is a water-soluble nutrient, which means it cannot be stored in our fatty tissues and should be replenished frequently. It also has antioxidant properties, and aids bodily function by regulating the secretion of sexual hormones. Yowza!
Incorporating moderate amounts of peanut butter into your diet has a number of highly beneficial health effects. So go ahead and spread!