There are many benefits to be had from household and gym-nut favourite, peanut butter, but you might not be aware that some are better than others. So, what should you look out for when buying healthy peanut butter?
Ideally, the best answer is a natural peanut butter, which consists of nothing but peanuts. This would mean that no preservatives or unwanted additives are in the mix and that you won’t find any excessive salt, sugar or palm oil, which are often added to many commercial brands.
Processed Nut Butters
Another very good reason to go natural or organic is that many store-bought peanut butters are most often processed with hydrogenated oils and sugar. Hydrogenated oil is used by manufacturers in order to save on processing costs and to make the peanut butter last longer on the shelves. As you probably know already, food that lasts longer in your cupboard due to additives isn’t always (if ever) better.
Hydrogenation is a process in which a liquid unsaturated fat is turned into a solid fat by adding hydrogen. During this process, trans fat is created. Trans fat increases LDL cholesterol. Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is what many refer to as ‘bad cholesterol because too much is unhealthy.
When you are scanning the shelves for peanut butter, avoid low-fat and light options. This is because when the manufacturer gets rid of the fat, they often up the amount of sugar they put in to make up for it. For this reason, diabetics are advised against buying low-fat types.
So What’s In A Good Peanut Butter?
The good kind of peanut butter is high in healthy monounsaturated fats. By replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats in your diet you can lower your blood cholesterol.
Quality peanut butter is even good for weight loss. That old chestnut, right? Well, peanuts contain more protein than other nuts with 8 grams in 2 tablespoons. Along with the high protein content, the high fat and fibre in each serving mean that it will keep you feeling full for longer, which means you’ve got your energy stores sorted without the need for more and more unnecessary calories throughout the day.
The last thing we want to do is scare monger, but a quick online search will shed a troubling light on a good reason to go natural/ organic: pesticides. Some farmers are heavy-handed with the pesticides, which have been linked to infertility, among other things… let’s look at some more of the positives you should look for.
Protein is, of course, the reason many health nuts opt for a healthy dose of peanuts every day. Protein contributes to the building blocks of your muscle mass, both growing, strengthening and replenishing them after a gruelling workout.
Magnesium, which peanuts are definitely good for, can contribute to a reduction in tiredness and fatigue. Among the many other virtues of magnesium, it can help to regulate your levels of calcium, potassium and sodium, and relieve muscle aches and spasms.