Did you know that January 24th is National Peanut Butter Day?
Maybe you’re thinking, “No! I still haven’t burned all those Christmas cookies off yet!” Don’t worry, I have some good news for you …
Peanut butter is a health food.
Trust me, I should know. Here’s a picture from a recent grocery-shopping excursion. PB was on sale for $3.99. So, how could I NOT buy enough to build a PB pyramid? Sorry it’s blurry. I was so excited by the sale that I had trouble getting a good shot, haha.
I admit it. I am a peanut butter junkie, but at the same time, I’m a strong advocate of healthy eating. So naturally, I had to find at least a few excuses to keep eating PB without feeling guilty about it.
Here’s what I’ve found: 9 reasons why peanut butter is a health food …
Reason #1: PB can help you lose weight
Some foods offer a double-whammy for weight GAIN. They pack a lot of calories into a small portion, and then they lead to an energy crash shortly after eating them, which entices you to eat even more. Yikes!
Fortunately, PB is not one of those foods. In fact, the macronutrients most prominently found in peanut butter (i.e. fat and protein) are perfect for curbing your hunger, which, as a result, promotes weight loss.
Here’s an experiment you can try at home:
The next time you feel hungry, try eating a low-fat yogurt. Then, wait until you’re hungry again. How long did it take?
Now, try the same experiment, but this time, eat a tablespoon of PB smothered on a few celery sticks. How long did that keep your hunger at bay?
The two snacks are similar in calories, but in most cases, the PB will satiate your hunger much longer because of its fat/protein balance. So, if you’re looking to lose weight, don’t feel bad about reaching for some PB as a snack.
Reason #2: PB is heart-healthy!
Numerous studies have shown that peanuts (and other nuts) lower the risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease. So, enjoy a spoonful, knowing that you’re doing your heart some good.
Reason #3: Peanuts fuel your workouts
Don’t forget that peanuts are an awesome source of calories, which can be used to fuel your workout, and even help you recover afterwards! Just two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 8 grams of protein, which helps your muscles rebuild.
Reason #4: PB can lower your risk of cancer
Including peanuts into your diet has been linked to lowered risk of color cancer in women. This was shown in a 2006 study, and I’m not going to argue with the research!
Reason #5: Peanut butter can protect against Alzheimer’s
Peanuts are one of the foods highest in niacin (B3) content. There’s more than 13 mg of niacin in 100 g of peanut butter, which is literally off the charts. Niacin has been shown to have anti-Alzheimer’s properties and improve your memory.
A 2004 study found that people who get the most niacin from foods are 70 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.
Reason #6: PB can help you avoid gallstones
Including peanuts into your regular diet can significantly lower your risk of getting gallstones. Two studies have shown that people who eat five or more servings of nuts per week had a 25 to 30 percent lower risk of getting gallstones compared to those who rarely eat nuts.
Reason #7: Peanut butter fights belly fat
I already mentioned that PB can be great for satiating hunger, but it goes beyond that. The mono-unsaturated fat found in peanuts, which is the same fat that improves cardiovascular health, also fights visceral fat. Yes, individuals who eat more mono-saturated fat have less belly fat than those who indulge in saturated fat and carbs.
Reason #8: Peanut butter can help you avoid type 2 diabetes
All that mono-saturated fat in peanuts improves glucose and insulin homeostasis, which, in turn, lowers the risk of diabetes. Eating peanut butter has a direct link to lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Reason #9: Peanuts are nutrition powerhouses
The average child eats 1,500 hundred PB&Js by the time they finish high school. Sounds like a lot, but there is some good nutrition in those sandwiches …
In addition to being a rich source of protein and potassium, peanut butter is also packed with fiber, magnesium, vitamin E and various antioxidants. In other words, peanut butter might just be the ultimate healthy snack that kids of all ages love to eat!
Do you love peanut butter as much as I do? —Dave
Dave Smith is a fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. You can catch Dave’s weekly Q&A fitness podcast, or learn about all things health-related on his blog at makeyourbodywork.com.