With the happiest of childhood memories filled with PB sandwiches and lashings of it on celery sticks, it’s no disappointment to any of us that peanut butter has become a go-to “health food”; a regular addition to wholefood recipes or even encouraged to be eaten straight out of the jar. Marketed as a rich source of healthy fats and some essential vitamins and minerals, the utter deliciousness of peanut butter can make it hard for some to believe that it really is good for us. So the question lingering over us… Is peanut butter actually good for us? Read on to discover some of the awesome health benefits you can reap from your all-time favourite pantry staple.
Rich in Healthy Fats
A common worry about eating peanut butter is its fat content, however with a higher content of unsaturated fat than saturated fat, when consuming in moderation the fat content is actually a great thing! Unsaturated fats, i.e. the good fats, are satiating, great for your skin and hair health, and will help keep your heart in great shape. Healthy fats are something we want to include in our diets everyday and peanut butter is a great avenue for getting a good dose.
High in Protein
As a protein-rich food, consuming peanut butter is the perfect snack that will help kick your hunger to the curb. This makes it a great mid-morning or afternoon snack to tie you over between meals, or even pre- and post-workout to aid in muscle repair and recovery. The protein combined with healthy fat content will also give you a great wee energy boost at anytime of day!
For those peanut butter lovers out there (aka everyone) you’ll be happy to hear that the health benefits of peanut butter can extend to heart health! While peanut butter does have its share of saturated fats, similarly to olive oil, its higher content of unsaturated fat helps it to qualify for the healthy camp when it comes to heart health. When consumed in appropriate amounts, e.g. approx. 2 tablespoons per day, it can improve heart health by regulating healthy cholesterol levels.
High in Potassium
Potassium is a super important electrolyte in the body that is one of the first to be lost through common bodily fluids, such as sweat and urine. With most of us being at risk of too much sodium in the diet, including good amounts of potassium can help to counteract the potentially adverse effects of sodium in the body. It can also be a great help for maintaining optimal hydration levels by replenishing potassium and maintaining an appropriate electrolyte balance in the body.
As not all peanut butters are made alike, when choosing peanut butter off the supermarket shelves, there are a few key points to look out for…
It seems obvious but unfortunately is not always the case… The main ingredient of peanut butter should always be peanuts! Some non-natural varieties can contain other artificial ingredients to enhance the taste but this is a big no no. Always read the ingredients on the label and remember, go NUTS!
No Added Sugars
The sugar content and any other additives and preservatives present on the ingredients list and NIP of a peanut butter jar are super important to take into account when making your choice. Commercial peanut butter brands can sometimes have significantly more sugar than natural brands and added refined sugars is another big no no.
It is always best to keep your eye on the sodium content in your peanut butter as excess sodium in the diet can have some disadvantageous effects on health. In general, natural brands that use 100% nuts with a small amount of added salt will have good amounts of sodium. Too much sodium can have a not-so-nice effect on the beautiful nutty flavour too and may make it overpoweringly salty in taste.
Keep It Natural
Natural peanut butters (and all nut butters!) are always the better option and luckily for us, are prominent on all supermarket shelves these days. Even better, if you can opt for organic to really ramp up that nutritional value and minimise exposure to potentially harmful chemicals, absolutely go for it!
As with all things in life, moderation is key when it comes to peanut butter! Yes, you can get some great health benefits as discussed above, but that doesn’t mean to say you should down a whole jar in one go. If peanut butter is an absolute must each day, try and limit your intake to 2-3 tablespoons as a tasty, filling and nourishing snack.
Ceres Organics Crunchy Peanut Butter was a popular inclusion in the November Delight Box and ticks all the boxes being made with just nuts and a dash of salt PLUS it is of course organic!