For the Love of Peanut Butter

peanut-butter.jpgToday, a peanut butter primer from Jules, because as she and I agree, a day without peanut butter is a day without joy:

I LOVE peanut butter. I mean, really, really love it. I remember joking to my husband when I was pregnant for the first time that if our son had a peanut allergy, we might have to house him elsewhere. I eat peanut butter with sweet things, savory things, salty, chocolate, noodles, and most often, off a big kitchen spoon right out of the jar.
Though peanut butter is high in fat, it's also packed full of nutrients. Peanuts are full of monounsaturated fat, which can help lower total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, plus raise HDL (good) cholesterol. The end result may be a decrease in the risk of coronary heart disease. Peanuts also are a great source of:

  • Niacin. According to researchers from the Chicago Health and Aging project, subjects consuming approximately 22 mg of niacin per day were 70% less likely to have developed Alzheimer's disease (Morris et al., 2004).

  • Vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant can help fight free radical damage, aiding in the prevention of diseases such as cancer.

  • Phosphorous. It’s important for bone and tooth structure, plus works in energy metabolism.

  • Magnesium. This mineral may help control hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

  • Fiber. Helps to manage blood glucose (sugar) levels, keeps us full longer, and aids in constipation relief and overall digestive health.

    However, there is one caveat to all of this: the all natural peanut butter is the one you must eat for the most benefits. Now, admittedly I’m not typically "all natural" obsessed, but in this case, I am a convert. In an attempt to reduce processed foods and sugars from my diet, I bought Trader Joe’s crunchy salted all natural peanut butter to replace my favorite, chunky, super fabulous other brand. And I must say that I was turned off when I opened the jar to see a layer of oil on the top (by the way, don't dump the oil -- it will lead to crumbly peanut butter within a few days).

    However, I gave it a good stir, loaded up my favorite spoon, and dove in. And HOLY PEANUT BUTTER. It was what peanut butter should taste like: real peanuts. And, I needed to eat less of it to satisfy my salty peanut-y craving. And, when I turned the jars over to compare ingredients, it affirmed that I was making the right decision. My new natural peanut butter has two measly (but amazing) ingredients: peanuts and salt. The other brand is chock full of preservatives and tons of sugar and included about twenty ingredients that I could not pronounce.

    Bottom line: If you are used to classic (i.e., not all natural) peanut butter brands, you will need to find the natural brand that suits your tastes, because surprisingly, the tastes do vary. But in my opinion, all are delicious and every little spoonful packs a nutritional punch.

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    Are you as obsessed with peanut butter as we are? What's your favorite all natural brand? Feel free to comment in below and share.

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    Image credit: Wikipedia

  • Christine Koh9 Comments