Peanut butter is a protein-packed spread popular around the world. It’s made of ground peanuts — often roasted first — blended into a thick paste.
The final product contains a range of nutrients that may offer health-boosting benefits. Peanut butter is a good source of vitamin E, Niacin (B3), Manganese, Vitamin B6, and Magnesium. Peanut butter is also a good source of copper, a mineral that helps maintain our bone health, immune function, and blood vessels. Some research suggests that getting enough copper in your diet may reduce your risk for osteoporosis and heart disease.
A quarter-cup of peanuts (the approximate amount in a 2 tablespoon serving of peanut butter) contains:
- Calories: 207
- Protein: 9 grams
- Fat: 18 grams
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 1 gram
Potential Health Benefits of Peanut Butter
One study showed that eating peanuts every day can decrease the overall risk of death by up to 21% – and reduces the occurrence of heart disease by 38%.
However, peanuts are high in calories and, while they contain “good fats,” too much can be a bad thing. Moderate your intake to avoid unwanted weight gain or health problems caused by excessive fat intake.
Improved Heart Health
One of the main fats in peanut butter is oleic acid. When substituted for other fats in your diet, oleic acid is shown to help maintain good cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Managing these levels in your body can lower the risk of heart disease. Peanut butter also contains omega-6. This fatty acid lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol and increases protective (HDL) cholesterol.
Reduced Risk of Diabetes
Oleic acid has also been shown to reduce the body’s insulin resistance, a condition that raises your blood sugar and leads to diabetes. Research shows that peanut butter’s omega-6 content may have this same effect as well.
Peanuts are a great source of antioxidants like manganese, vitamin E, and B vitamins. These compounds act to prevent and repair cell damage in your body, and this effect can reduce your risk of chronic diseases like cancer.
Aid in Weight Management
The healthy fats in peanut butter – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – are associated with a lower risk of weight gain and obesity when consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Potential Risks of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is rich in a variety of nutrients but it’s also rich in calories and fat. While the healthy fats in peanut butter are nutritious, you should consume them in moderation to avoid unwanted weight gain or potential health problems. Commercial peanut butter brands often have added sugars, oils, and fats. For the best health benefits from peanut butter, look for all-natural products without these added ingredients.