Peanut Butter: A spread of nutrients on your morning toast


The healthy and wholesome peanut butter

Peanut butter is a bread spread or paste which is produced from roasted peanuts.  It is popular all over the world because of their taste and texture. Peanuts are roasted and further made into a paste, which is the end product.  A healthy and natural peanut butter contains only peanut paste as well as some low quantity of salt. It is always advised to be consumed only when they are not processed.  Peanut butter is abundant in nutrition and contains a high concentration of proteins, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, niacin, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin E, as well as vitamin B6.

Due to the presence of high amounts of nutrition, there are several health benefits associated with them.  Some of the health benefits include weight loss, heart health, improved muscle mass, regulated blood sugar levels, reduced the risk of breast disease.  It is also known to provide high levels of calories. It is well known that peanut butter is a favorite for many all over the world, but peanuts do not seem to suit everyone since there are many individuals who are allergic to peanut and peanut allergy is common among people who have food allergies.

Peanut butter nutrition

Peanut butter is abundant in nutrition and is also rich in calories.  Two tablespoons of peanut butter provide:

  • 188 calories.
  • 7 grams of protein.
  • 3 grams of saturated fat.
  • 6.63 grams of monounsaturated fat.
  • 3.63 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
  • 7.67 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 1.80 grams of fiber.
  • 2.08 grams of sugars.
  • 17 mg of calcium.
  • 0.69 mg of iron.
  • 57 mg of magnesium.
  • 107 mg of phosphorous.
  • 189 mg of potassium.
  • 152 mg of sodium.
  • 0.85 mg of zinc.
  • 4.21 mg of niacin.
  • 0.18 mg of vitamin B6.
  • 1.90 mg of vitamin E.

Why should you consume peanut butter?

Powerful antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances, which are known to reduce the process of oxidation.  During oxidation, there is a rise in free radicals, which causes serious health issues and in some cases is known to multiply the cancer cells and can lead to an acceleration of tumor size.  Increased number of free radicals may cause health issues such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, etc. Peanut butter is the source of a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol is helpful in reducing free radicals and reduce the risk factors associated with cancer, heart disease, as well as arthritis.  

Strengthen your heart

A healthy heart refers to the normal functioning of the heart.  Peanut butter is helpful in promoting a healthy heart mainly because of the presence of powerful antioxidant effects.  The antioxidants present in the peanut butter are helpful in reducing the levels of free radicals present in the body. This, in turn, reduces the oxidative process and helps to reduce the stress exerted on many internal organs including the heart.

Reduce cancer risk

Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells which is not able to be controlled. The increase in the number of free radicals present in the body promotes oxidative stress and promotes the multiplication of malignant cells.  Due to the tumor enlargement, it tries to occupy the space surrounding the organs and may even spread to the organs causing malignancy.

Peanut butter has a high concentration of nutrients and antioxidants, which help in the prevention of the oxidative process and reduce the multiplication of malignant cells.  This drastically reduces the cancerous cells through a process called apoptosis (programmed cell death) and promotes the growth of healthy cells.

Nurture your brain

Brain health is referred to the normal functioning of the brain, which involves memory, cognition, the transmission of neural signals, etc.  There are numerous factors, which affect brain health. Lack of nutrition is also considered to be one of the causes of impaired brain health.  Peanut butter has high concentrations of unsaturated fats as well as vitamins including vitamin E and vitamin B6.

All these collectively are helpful in promoting a healthy brain and improve brain function.  Improved brain function promoted adequate concentration, enhanced memory, as well as accurate transmission of brain signals.

Lose weight and stay healthy

Losing weight is a tedious process and involves a strict diet and regular physical exercise.  Peanut butter has high concentrations of fiber and also provides calories. A small quantity of peanut butter as little as 2 tablespoons provides sufficient calories as well as fiber required for the body, which makes it a good choice to consume during breakfast.  This provides an adequate level of energy and feeling of fullness, which enables a person to stay active without consuming additional food.

The side-effects of eating processed peanut butter

Contains harmful Trans Fats and added sugar

Trans Fats are produced when vegetable oil is processed by adding hydrogen.  Trans Fats cause several health problems including diabetes, heart disease, etc.  There are numerous brands of peanut butter, which are available in the market that is processed and contains Trans Fat as well as added sugar.  

People who choose this type of processed peanut butter are at higher risk of acquiring diabetes, heart disease, etc. It is always advised to choose peanut butter, which is organic and pure.  This type of peanut butter does not contain Trans Fat and added sugars and hence do not cause serious health problems.

May cause allergy symptoms

Peanut butter is popular among a huge population all over the world.  There is also a downside on the part of peanut butter, which is related to allergy.  Peanut is known to cause allergy to some individuals and people who generally have food allergies are more susceptible to have a peanut allergy.  This can be considered as one of the biggest drawbacks of peanut butter. Studies have indicated that peanut is known to contain a high level of allergens and caution is advised when consuming peanuts or peanut products since there are cases when people have experienced the severe type of allergy symptoms.

May cause pesticide and fungus contamination

It is quite common that peanut is cultivated with the help of pesticides to remove any pests.  The shells of peanuts are not strong and there are high chances that these pesticides may enter the peanut shells and cause pesticide contamination.  Another contamination may be caused in the form of fungus and mold since peanuts are grown in moist soil. Many people choose unprocessed peanut butter, which may contain these contaminations such as pesticides as well as mold and fungus.  

Omega-6 present in peanut butter may be harmful

Omega-6 is found in high concentrations in peanut butter.  It is essential in numerous health benefits such as the production of energy, heart health, as well as brain health.  It is also known to cause inflammation in the body when consumed in large quantities. If there is regular use of peanut butter, the amount of omega-6 intake increases and the chances of inflammation increase.  Inflammation in the body causes stress on the internal organs, which lead to abnormal functioning of the organs.

Oxalates in peanut butter are not good

Peanut butter is known to have high concentrations of various nutrients, as well as a substance called oxalates.  Due to the regular consumption of peanut butter, the levels of oxalates increase and these oxalates are known to crystallize and may form stones in the gallbladder or kidneys.  The stones, which accumulate in gallbladder and kidneys cause severe health problems when they are excreted from these organs and cause severe pain.

Which peanut butter to buy?

There are several peanut butter brands available in the market.  Many claim them to be pure peanut butter. It is always advised to read the label and choose the organic type of peanut butter and not only that, it is important to choose the peanut butter, which is made from Valencia peanuts or choose peanut butter, which is made from Jungle peanuts.

 These types of peanuts are not grown in damp conditions and are grown in dry soil and bushes and due to this reason, the contamination of fungus or mold is eliminated. Valencia peanuts and Jungle peanuts have high concentrations of monounsaturated fat. These fats are helpful in reducing the levels of triglycerides and help reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease.  They also contain several essential amino acids and the powerful resveratrol antioxidant. Due to these reasons, it is important to choose the right type of peanut butter and enjoy the benefits of them.

Final thoughts on peanut butter

Caution is advised with people who are allergic to peanut and they should avoid peanuts in any form.  It is always advised to consult a doctor at the first sign of a peanut allergy. A skin prick test or IgE test would confirm if there is a peanut allergy and the doctor would provide the recommended precautions that need to be undertaken.  It is advised to choose organic peanut butter, which is produced from Jungle peanuts or Valencia peanuts, which are free from fungus and mold. It is always advised to consume peanut butter in moderate levels to reap its benefits.

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