Peanut butter is extremely popular in the United States, with around 700 million pounds of it getting consumed each year. That equates to around 22 tablespoons for each person. People love to slather it on apples, make PB&J sandwiches, and even eat it straight out of the jar.
But with all of that peanut butter being consumed, it begs the question, “is peanut butter healthy?” While it’s a tasty and delectable treat, it is high in fat and calories.
This guide will go over the health benefits of peanut butter and some of the nutritious ways you can enjoy this smooth treat.
What Nutrients Are in Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is packed with a variety of nutrients, all within a single two-tablespoon serving. You can find the following vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in peanut butter:
- Protein: There are 7.02 grams (g) of protein, which counts toward the recommended daily amount of 56 g for men and 46 g for women
- Phosphorus: A single serving has 107 milligrams (mg), which helps the bones and body build healthy cells
- Magnesium: The 57 mg of magnesium in peanut butter is great for a person’s health
- Zinc: The 0.85 mg of zinc is necessary for protein synthesis, DNA formation, and immunity
- Vitamin B-6: A single serving has 0.17 mg of vitamin B-6, which is nearly 14% of a person’s recommended daily amount
- Niacin: Peanut butter has 4.21 mg of niacin, which benefits nerve function and digestion
While peanut butter is very nutritious, there can be nutritional disadvantages if you eat more than the recommended serving size of peanut butter. This is because peanut butter is high in saturated fats, sodium, and calories. When eating peanut butter, keep the amount you consume within the suggested serving size of about two tablespoons.
The Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
Consuming peanut butter in moderation is a great addition to an overall healthy diet. In addition to enjoying the yummy taste, you can experience some of the following peanut butter benefits.
Heart Health Boost
Many of the nutrients we talked about earlier can improve a person’s heart health. Additionally, peanut butter also contains monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
The proportion of MUFAs and PUFAs to saturated fats in a person’s diet plays a big role in heart health. Olive oil and peanut butter have a similar ratio, and they’re both considered to be heart-healthy options.
Some studies have shown that eating peanuts and other kinds of nut butter can help individuals maintain their weight. Peanuts improve satiety, which gives a person the feeling of fullness. The fat, protein, and fiber content in peanuts helps with that.
If you feel full, you’ll be less likely to overeat. That’s why peanut butter is a great accessory to a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Eating an apple with a serving size of peanut butter is a great way to keep you feeling full until your next meal.
Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels
Peanut butter is a low-carb option that includes good amounts of protein, fats, and fiber. It doesn’t have any added sugar, so it won’t have a big impact on a person’s blood glucose levels. This makes peanut butter a wonderful option for those who have diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that individuals replace saturated fats in their diet with monounsaturated fats. One of their suggestions is peanuts, peanut oil, and peanut butter.
Peanut butter also contains magnesium. It’s an essential nutrient for those with diabetes. When a person has continuous periods where their blood sugar is high, their magnesium levels can drop.
Fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders incorporate different types of healthy peanut butters into their diets for a lot of different reasons. A person’s recommended calorie intake is based on a variety of factors.
However, for women, it usually ranges from 1,600 to 2,400. For men, it can be up to 3,000 calories a day. The more active a person is, the more calories they’ll need to consume.
Peanut butter is a great way to increase unsaturated fat and calorie intake in a healthy way. Another nut butter benefit is that it’s a source of protein. That’s important for repairing and building muscles.
Peanut butter isn’t a complete protein since it doesn’t have all the essential amino acids your body needs, so it won’t count toward your daily protein intake. If you want to make your meal or snack a more complete protein, spread it on a piece of whole-grain bread. Whole-grain bread contains methionine, an amino acid peanut butter lacks.
Ways to Incorporate Peanut Butter Into a Healthy Diet
Unfortunately, it can be too easy to consume a lot of peanut butter. Two tablespoons contain around 200 calories.
One healthy way to add peanut butter to your diet is by making a traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Make sure you use a low-sugar jelly made with whole fruit. Swap out your usual white bread for a whole-grain option.
Do you like rice cakes? Take a rice cake and spread a thin layer of peanut butter and top it with slices of banana.
You can also use peanut butter in your salad dressings. Make Thai peanut dressing with lime juice, soy sauce, honey, and rice vinegar.
If you enjoy making smoothies, add in a spoonful. In addition to making them more delicious, it’ll also ensure they’re more filling.
For your morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt, stir in a spoonful of peanut butter. Top with sliced bananas and a small number of walnuts.
So, Is Peanut Butter Healthy?
Hopefully, we answered the burning question of “is peanut butter healthy?” The thing to keep in mind, as with any type of food, is it needs to be consumed in moderation. Stick to the recommended serving size of peanut butter so you don’t consume too many calories.
For more information on other types of healthy foods, check out one of our other articles.