Take a stroll down the nut butter aisle these days and you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer selection available (we’re lookin’ at you Whole Foods). Where there once was just classic peanut butter, there is now the chief rival – almond butter, plus cashew, pistachio, sunflower seed, coconut, and about 12 flavors within each category. While we love all our potion children equally, we think it’s time to show OG peanut butter some long-overdue love.
While new and different nut butters bring different tastes, textures, and nutrient profiles, peanut butter is a classic for a reason. Though many have given it up in favor of almond butter, peanut butter brings very similar nutritional value to the table. Here are 5 health benefits of peanut butter that will help you remember why you first fell in love with it.
Healthy fats for your heart (and rest of your bod)
One of the biggest health benefits of peanut butter and most nuts is the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat content. Though fat has been feared by some in the past, it’s been shown that eating the right fats is necessary for normal body processes and has benefits for your cardiovascular health and cholesterol. And for goodness sake, put down the “reduced fat” PB – not only might you be missing out on healthy fats, but there’s usually extra sugar and funky ingredients in there making up for it.
Antioxidants and micronutrients
Those healthy fats also have anti-inflammatory properties, and they work in conjunction with other antioxidants like magnesium, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin K and Vitamin E which all help your body fight disease and inflammation and recover from stress and exertion. Vitamins E & K are fat soluble, so they work great in conjunction with those healthy plant sterols. There’s also small but mighty amounts of fiber and potassium!
Along with those fats and nutrients, PB brings a pretty serious protein game at about 8g per tablespoon. That’s not to say you should use PB as your sole protein source, but it’s an easy way to get more nutrient bang for your snack buck, whether it’s with an apple, carrots, a bar, or #straightoutthepouch.
Niacin for your brains
Peanuts are one of the foods highest in niacin, and studies have shown that regular consumption of niacin can help prevent memory problems and Alzheimer’s.
Feel more satiated
Those healthy fats, protein, fiber, and nutrient density make peanut butter a seriously satisfying snack. It can help you feel fuller for longer, which is helpful on a busy day or if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight.
So why do people shy away from this healthy snack when there are so many health benefits of peanut butter? Some fear its high calories-per-serving, get scared off automatically when they see fat, or are concerned about the added sugars and sodium. Make sure you’re checking out the label when you pick out a jar of PB and don’t rely on a label that says “natural” if you’re looking for the healthiest option. Try to look for peanut butters that don’t have too much added sugar or use healthier sugars like coconut sugar – which are metabolized more slowly by the body – rather than corn syrup or regular sugar. Steer clear of any added hydrogenated oils. And make sure you take a careful look at any added ingredients that are unfamiliar to you. A quick search can help you understand if a new-to-you ingredient is beneficial or being used to artificially improve the taste, texture, or shelf life at the expense of your health.
You can learn all about the ingredients in our superfood nut butter potions here!
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