Whether you like it slathered between two slices of bread, smeared on apple slices or right off the spoon, peanut butter is beloved by many.
But does it offer nutritional value? We asked a registered dietitian for the lowdown on the health benefits of peanut butter.
4 health benefits of peanut butter
Peanut butter is rich with positive nutritional qualities, says Dana Purcell, RD, a registered dietitian with the Hartford HealthCare Digestive Health Institute seeing patients in Fairfield and Wilton.
Whether it’s creamy or chunky, the tasty snack offers numerous beneficial boosts, including:
1. A boost of plant protein
Two tablespoons of peanut butter, the typical serving size, contains about 7 grams of plant-based protein. The average person should eat 20-30 grams of protein at each meal.
“It does have higher calorie and fat content, though, and while the majority is unsaturated fat, portion sizes and moderation are important,” Purcell stresses.
2. Fiber that helps with digestion
Peanut butter contains soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which can help heart health, diabetes and digestion. Soluble fiber helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber plus magnesium helps keep bowel movements regular.
“Incorporating protein in snacks and meals helps regulate blood sugar levels. Pairing carbohydrates with a protein helps prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar,” she says.
3. A good source of healthy fats
Peanut butter does not contain cholesterol, and its ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats makes it a heart-healthy food.
Some of the benefits include improved blood cholesterol levels, lower inflammation and stabile heart rhythm.
4. A healthy mix of vitamins and minerals
Just two tablespoons contain measurable amounts of a slew of vitamins and minerals including:
- Vitamins B6
- Vitamin E
But keep in mind – moderation is key.
The benefits of peanut butter are numerous, but it should be enjoyed in moderation since it’s a nutrient-dense food.
“However, if you stick to the recommended serving size, it can be a component of a balanced diet. Because it includes protein, fiber and fat, it helps you feel full longer, which can help prevent over-eating,” she explains.
And be sure to check the ingredients in your favorite spread.
Like many other foods, be sure to check the ingredient list on your favorite peanut butter to check for hidden additives.
“There are so many varieties and the health benefits vary based on their ingredients, so I always advise people to read the labels to ensure they’re getting a healthy option,” Purcell notes.
“Choosing a natural peanut butter that does not have additives like sugar and oil is the most nutritious choice.”