Saturday, May 7, 2016

Peanut Butter's Surprising Health Benefits


Plus, 4 easy ways to add it to your diet!

Spread the Good News ~ Peanut butter is not just for kids. Adults, too, can reap health benefits from adding it to their diet. Granted, it’s not exactly low in calories, but we’re only talking about a few tablespoonfuls in exchange for a pile of nutrients: protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber, bone-building magnesium, and potassium, a mineral important for blood pressure and heart function. For the healthiest choice, pick peanut butter without added sugar, salt or hydrogenated oil.

Control Your Cravings ~ Eating 3 tablespoons of peanut butter (or 1½ ounces of peanuts) at breakfast helped overweight women feel fuller and have fewer hunger cravings, a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed. Not only did the women report feeling satiated eight to 12 hours after breakfast, but the peanut butter helped keep their blood sugar levels steady in the afternoon.

Protect Your Heart ~ Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes compared to those who rarely eat nuts, says Walter Willett, professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. PB also is a good source of potassium ~ a mineral crucial to heart function.

Good for Your Glucose ~ Two ounces of nuts (or peanut butter) a day improved both glucose levels and blood fats in those with type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Toronto found. Aim for natural peanut butter, which has less sugar. Some PB spreads, including reduced-fat versions, have high amounts of added sugar.

Build Your Muscles ~ We lose muscle mass as we age, which is why older adults need to be sure they get enough muscle-building protein in their diets. In 2015, researchers found that those who ate the most plant protein ~ like that found in peanut butter and nuts ~ had the strongest thigh muscles, which are important for balance.

Help You Live Longer ~ Eating more peanuts or peanut butter ~ roughly 2 tablespoons of either daily ~ is linked with 20 percent fewer early deaths from all causes, according to a 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that looked at the diets of more than 200,000 people in the U.S. and China. Researchers think it may be because peanuts are rich in heart-healthy nutrients.

Here’s How to Add It to Your Diet

~ Swirl a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter into your morning oatmeal.
~ Make a peanut butter smoothie with PB, bananas, non-dairy plant milk or yogurt, a little Bee Free Honee and ice. Blend until smooth.
~ Pack a midmorning snack of apple slices and peanut butter.
~ Enjoy a slice of whole-grain bread (toasted if you like!) slathered with peanut butter.

Be sure your choice of peanut butter is a healthy one! Look for less than 3 grams of sugar per serving. In general, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter should contain about 200 calories, 15 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbohydrate (1 to 2 grams of sugar), and 7 grams of protein.

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