The origins of peanut butter can be a little bit hazy, as some credit Marcellus Gilmore Edson to create the first peanut butter of its kind in the late 19th century. Others attribute modern peanut butter to George Washington Carver, though the first mass production of peanut butter happened in Battle Creek, Michigan with John Harvey Kellogg of the famous Kellogg’s cereal brand.
These days, there are a lot of different peanut butter companies, with most of them based in the United States. Among Americans, peanut butter is one of the most popular foods that can go on a lot of different foods while even being its own snack. Peanut butter is loved and hated in the health community, though most of the hate comes from its high calorie content. If you can get past that, then there are a lot of things to love about peanut butter. Here is a nutritional breakdown, and the health benefits that you get from eating peanut butter.
Nutrition of Peanut Butter
While most of us tend to eat more than two tablespoons of butter at a time, that’s the standard serving size. Each serving of peanut butter contains eight percent of your daily recommended value of fiber. Peanut butter is a great way to get protein, as it contains eight grams per serving. In terms of vitamins, you are getting 21 percent of your niacin value and 14 percent of vitamin E. Other significant vitamins to be found in smaller doses include thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate and pantothenic acid.
You’ll also be getting important minerals with each serving of peanut butter. Manganese is the most abundant with 23 percent of your recommended value. Magnesium and phosphorus are also above 10 percent of recommended value. Though in smaller doses, you are still getting calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and selenium with peanut butter. Not only does it taste delicious, but peanut butter gives you a wide range of nutritional benefits.
We mentioned the high amount of protein that you can find in peanut butter, and that’s going to help you in a lot of different departments. Protein helps your body to build muscle, while also providing you with a natural energy boost. Protein not only help muscle, but will also help your cells repair when you are injured. This goes a long way in helping to prevent injury in the first place, as well.
Peanut butter has a high fiber content, which is going to help you feel full for longer. The good news is, you don’t even have to eat a lot of peanut butter to get the benefits of feeling full. Getting 200 calories worth is going to satisfy a lot of the cravings that you’ve had for hours without needing to overeat.
Obviously, feeling full is going to help you lose weight in the long run. Fiber and protein will help to boost your metabolism. As long as you can fit peanut butter into your regular weight loss calorie count, it’s going to have the added benefit that helps to remove belly fat more efficiently. It takes some restraint to fit peanut butter in the diet, it can certainly be done.
Another factor when it comes to your weight is your blood sugar levels. If you can improve your insulin, you have a better chance of maintaining a healthy weight. Peanut butter allows you to control that insulin sensitivity, keeping your blood sugar at a healthier level. A lot of that has to do with the combination of high protein and high unsaturated fats.
Unsaturated fat is much easier for the body to absorb, and peanut butter’s effect has even been noted in the Journal of Nutrition. If you have diabetes right now, peanut butter is a tasty snack that you can use to combat any spikes and crashes. You have to give up a lot of your favorite foods, but thankfully peanut butter isn’t one of them.
That same Journal of Nutrition also states the benefit that peanut butter has on your overall heart health. The conclusion was that higher consumption of nuts led to a lower risk of heart disease over the course of several different studies. The study was was done with people that had diabetes and those that didn’t, finding that there was a heart benefit for anyone that ate more peanut butter.
While there wasn’t a significant change in the HDL (good) cholesterol levels, there was still a reduction in the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in patients. You probably already know that eating more fruits and vegetables can lower your chances of heart disease, but peanut butter probably isn’t one that you think of. Patients that are at risk for heart disease or stroke are typically advised to eat more peanuts, especially from peanut butter.
Peanut butter has a high niacin content, which is going to be good for your brain health. A lot of people don’t get enough niacin in their diet since it can be hard to come by, but peanut butter is an easy way to do it. Taking it that much niacin is going to reduce your chances of developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s by around 70 percent.
That number comes from a study that was conducted for a decade between thousands of elderly patients. Not only that, but those that took more niacin in their system were able to improve their brain’s overall function, including memory. From strokes, heart disease, diabetes and neurological diseases, peanut butter helps keep a lot of problems at bay.
Summing it Up
Of course, as much as most of us love peanut butter, it’s not going to be for everybody. There are many people that are allergic to peanuts, and won’t be able to eat peanut butter. For those of us that can still have peanut butter, there are still a couple of things that you need to watch out for. The store brand that you buy isn’t likely to have any harmful effects, but making your own or buying a small batch presents a small chance of contamination. Again, though, this is rare and not found in the type of peanut butter you’re accustomed to.
The biggest thing to look out for is the calorie count. It’s easy to eat a lot of peanut butter, which could lead to some fast weight gain. This is why you see bodybuilders and weightlifters eat a lot of it, as the protein and calories are a great way to build muscle. If you aren’t lifting a lot of weights, those extra calories can turn into fat in a hurry.
As long as you are eating peanut butter in the right amount each week, you are going to be seeing a lot of fantastic benefits. There aren’t many foods that taste that good that will give you those type of benefits, so peanut butter is certainly a godsend.