Peanuts are definitely one of the best examples of wholesome foods that combine great taste with tonnes of good health. Whether you munch on them raw, enjoy them boiled, salted, roasted, sprinkled with masala or toss them in a salad for that extra crunch, there’s no denying that peanuts are indeed scrumptious. Well, there exists yet another way to relish these tiny nuggets – in the form of peanut butter.
What Is Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a protein-rich spread made primarily of ground dry-roasted peanuts that bears a light brown colour in appearance with a thick, smooth consistency. It is most commonly served for breakfast, alongside bread, bagels, croissants, aside from the very popular peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter is also incorporated into smoothies, granola bars, cookies, brownies, crepes for a lip-smacking nutty flavour and a uniform texture.
Invented by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg in 1895 to ensure older adults who couldn’t chew meat properly received adequate protein intake and ample nutrition, peanut butter is a universally enjoyed food today, being sold in markets around the world. Commercially available peanut butter contains certain added ingredients to infuse more flavour to the final product – such as sugar, salt, sweeteners like molasses, besides emulsifiers of vegetable oil, trans fats for a thicker and more even mixture. Moreover, peanut butter spreads are offered in two variants – crunchy/chunky which contains coarse peanut bits for a brittle texture and smooth/creamy which is packaged as a homogenous uniform blend.
Peanut Butter Nutrition:
Natural peanut butter comprises vast reserves of proteins for the growth, development of organs, tissues, vitamin E, omega fatty acids, unsaturated fats of oleic acid, linoleic acid for heart wellness and calcium, magnesium, phosphorous for strong bones and joints. It is laden with vitamin B3/niacin for elevated metabolism, digestion, vitamin B6 for uplifted nervous system functioning and zinc for enhanced immune system activity, as well as protein and DNA production in bodily cells and tissues. It also delivers significant quantities of iron, potassium, vitamin B1/thiamin and vitamin B2/riboflavin.
Packed with calories, fats for abundant energy and dietary fibres for regulating appetite, bowel movements, peanut butter has only minimal carbohydrate content, making it suitable for a low-carb diet. Nevertheless, peanut butter must be consumed in moderation as part of the daily diet, as it has huge amounts of saturated fats, as well as sodium, calories, which tend to raise the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
How To Make Peanut Butter:
The ideal way to obtain the treasure trove of essential nutrients offered by peanut butter sans the negative effects of flavour enhancers, preservatives, excess added salts and sugars, is to whip up the delicious spread at home.
Quick, Easy And Nourishing Homemade Peanut Butter Recipe:
2 cups peanuts, with outer brown skin removed
1 tbsp honey
A pinch of salt
Dry roast the peanuts in a pan on medium flame for 5 – 7 minutes.
Transfer the dry-roasted peanuts into a blender or food processor.
Grind on high power and speed until the kernels become crumbs with a dry coarse feel to a final creamy liquid.
Pour this blend into a clean glass container, mix in the honey and salt.
For a crunchy texture, top it off with broken peanut fragments.
Store at room temperature for 2 days and if using over a longer duration like a week, then keep it in the fridge.
Peanut Butter Health Benefits:
Healthy Body Weight
Peanut butter when ingested in small concentrations on a daily basis, along with a wholesome balanced diet and engaging in physical exercise helps in weight management and even supports weight loss. Being an excellent source of proteins, dietary fibres, healthy fats, peanut butter enhances the feeling of fullness after a meal, thereby reducing untimely junk cravings and preventing overeating.
Augments Heart Functions
Bestowed with an array of healthy unsaturated fatty acids of MUFA, PUFA, the foremost among them being oleic acid, peanut butter confers incredible merits for cardiac wellbeing. Oleic acid preserves optimal blood pressure, enhances blood vessel functioning and decreases the chances of acquiring cardiovascular disease (CVD). Peanut butter is also rich in omega-6, which lowers bad LDL cholesterol and boosts good HDL cholesterol, thereby helping maintain ideal blood cholesterol levels.
Reduces Risk Of Cancer
Peanut butter is a storehouse of powerful antioxidants, such as vitamin E, coumarins, resveratrol. These components supply protective effects on cells, shielding them from oxidative damage by harmful free radicals. This, in turn, averts abnormal tumour growths and the onset of cancers in the internal organs of the lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, gall bladder, pancreas, kidneys, in the later years.
Fosters Strong Muscles
Imbued with generous quantities of proteins, peanut butter serves as a perfect addition to both pre-workout and post-workout meals. It contains several crucial essential amino acids that are the building blocks for muscle cells in the body, and also supplies plenty of calories, unsaturated fats for instant energy and beating fatigue, lethargy. Furthermore, proteins obtained from peanut butter work towards sustaining muscle movement, flexibility and promote muscle recovery, repair after strenuous physical exercise.
Controls Blood Sugar Levels
Peanut butter is inherently low in carbs while encompassing considerable amounts of fibres, which aid in preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels upon its consumption. The wealth of healthy fats in this nut butter – oleic acid, omega-6 also lower insulin resistance in the body, thus improving insulin activity and maintaining optimal blood glucose levels in diabetics. Peanut butter houses noteworthy amounts of magnesium as well, which is a key mineral that alleviates diabetes symptoms, making it a great addition to the diabetic diet in measured amounts.
Peanut butter is certainly a nourishing, high-protein food that delivers a plethora of pivotal nutrients for overall wellness. With profuse volumes of healthy fats, proteins, fibres, B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, peanut butter uplifts heart health, manages diabetes, fortifies muscle strength and more. Avoid eating too much of this nutty spread, instead, add measured portions of peanut butter as part of the daily diet to reap its wonderful benefits for optimal health and fitness.