Is Peanut Butter Good For You?
Not only is peanut butter good for you, but it is an important part of a healthy diet. It may surprise you to learn that peanuts are not actually nuts. They are legumes that are related to chickpeas, peas, lentils and a variety of beans. You can reap the health benefits of peanut butter by adding as little as a tablespoon to your daily diet. Peanut butter can be added to your favorite smoothie, spread on morning toast or eaten from the spoon. Peanut butter spread on a stalk of celery makes a terrific snack.
Heart healthy peanut butter. It is the monounsaturated fats in peanut butter that makes it heart healthy. The addition of monounsaturated fats to the diet works to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease when they replace saturated fats or trans fats. A surprising fact about peanut butter is it contains oleic acid, the healthy fat found in olive oil.
Antioxidants in peanut butter. Did you know peanut butter is rich in antioxidants equal to the antioxidants in blackberries, strawberries, apples, carrots or beets? Antioxidants are important to good health because they protect your body from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced as the body breaks down food or from exposure to things like radiation, cigarette smoke and several other environmental substances. Antioxidants include beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium and vitamin A, C and E. They are the first line of defense to protect the body from risk of stroke, heart disease, colon cancer and gallstones.
Peanut butter’s low glycemic index. The glycemic index is an easy guide to use for making healthy food choices. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates according to how they affect blood sugar levels in the body. For instance, a cup of white rice has a GI rating of 33, whereas a cup of brown has a GI rating of 23, making brown rice the healthier choice. The GI index for a four-ounce serving of peanuts is two. Peanut butter has such a low GI index that it can be said that a moderate amount of peanut butter added to the diet will help you avoid Type 2 diabetes in the future.