Take a stroll down the nut butter aisle these days and you might feel overwhelmed by the sheer selection available. Where there once was just classic peanut butter, there is now the chief rival - almond butter, plus cashew, pistachio, sunflower seed, coconut, hazelnut - and about 12 flavors within each category.
While we love all our Yumbutter flavors equally, we think it's time to show OG Organic Creamy Peanut Butter some long-overdue love. While new and different nut butters bring different tastes, textures, and nutrient profiles, peanut butter is a classic for a reason. Though many have given it up in favor of almond butter, peanut butter brings very similar nutritional value to the table. Here are some benefits that will remind you why peanut butter has survived the test of time.
5 health benefits of peanut butter
1. Healthy fats for your heart (and rest of your bod)
One of the biggest health benefits of peanut butter and most nuts is the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat content. Peanuts contain these healthy fats, as well as omega-3 fatty acids which have heart health protective benefits, such as preventing irregular heart rhythms that can lead to heart attacks. Though fat has been feared by some in the past, it's been shown that eating the right fats is necessary for dozens of body processes and has benefits for your cardiovascular health and cholesterol. And for goodness sake, put down the "reduced fat" PB - not only might you be missing out on healthy fats, but there's usually extra sugar and funky ingredients in there making up for it.
2. Antioxidants and micronutrients
Those healthy fats also have anti-inflammatory properties, and they work in conjunction with other antioxidants like magnesium, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin K and Vitamin E which all help your body fight disease and inflammation and recover from stress and exertion. Vitamins E & K are fat soluble, meaning they require fat to be absorbed, so they work great in conjunction with those healthy plant sterols. There's also small but mighty amounts of fiber and potassium!
Along with those fats and nutrients, good ol' fashioned peanut butter brings a pretty serious protein game at about 8g per tablespoon. That's not to say you should use PB as your sole protein source, but it's an easy way to get more nutrient bang for your snack buck, whether it's with an apple, carrots, a bar, or #straightoutthepouch. With a squeeze of peanut butter, your toast or fruit is suddenly a balanced combo of carbs, fats, and protein to give you more sustained energy than a carb alone.
4. Niacin for your brains
Peanuts are one of the foods highest in niacin, and studies have shown that regular consumption of niacin can help prevent memory problems and Alzheimer's. In fact, 2 tbsp of peanut butter contains 25% of your recommended daily value of niacin, making it one of the best plant-based sources of this key nutrient!
5. Feel more satiated
Those healthy fats, protein, fiber, and nutrient density make peanut butter a seriously satisfying snack. It can help you feel fuller for longer, which is helpful for avoiding that spike and crash feeling or if you're trying to lose or maintain your weight. A 2013 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that "consuming peanut butter or peanuts for breakfast can control blood sugar throughout most of the day, even after eating a high carbohydrate lunch."
Nutritional Benefits of Peanut Butter: The Bottom Line
So why do people shy away from peanut butter when there are so many health benefits? Some fear its high calories-per-serving, worry about the high fat content, or are concerned about added sugars and sodium. Make sure you're checking out the label when you pick out a jar (or pouch) of PB and don't just rely on a label that says "natural" if you're looking for the healthiest option.
Try to look for peanut butters that don't have too much added sugar or use healthier sugars like coconut sugar - which are metabolized more slowly by the body - rather than corn syrup or regular sugar. Steer clear of any added hydrogenated oils. And make sure you take a careful look at any added ingredients that are unfamiliar to you. A quick search can help you understand if a new-to-you ingredient is beneficial or being used to artificially improve the taste, texture, or shelf life at the expense of your health. You can learn all about the ingredients in our Organic Peanut Butter here!