Health Talk: Peanut butter
Spread the health
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012 14:09
One of America’s favorite spreads had withstood the test of time -- beyond economic hardships, through new dieting trends and food fads, and into modern-day kitchens across the country.
Statistics from the National Peanut Board show that Americans eat over 1.5 billion pounds of peanut butter each year, which equals about six pounds of peanut butter per person. However, peanut butter hasn’t simply stuck around because of its tastiness and popularity -- its health benefits abound due to its main ingredient: the peanut.
According to peanut-butter.org, peanut butter can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, muscle cramps, osteoporosis, stress, digestive disorders and even cancer.
Protein is the main component of peanut butter, therefore making it a possible dietary substitute for meat, along with providing many more essential vitamins and nutrients that allow the body to remain healthy and to function properly.
Because peanut butter is such a valued commodity in our society and Americans are constantly hunting for better methods to living healthy lives, several varieties of peanut butter have been produced. According to livestrong.com, here are a few of the categories and their health-promoting factors.
Regular, processed peanut butter
This type is what consumers view as the “normal” peanut butter. In attempts to increase shelf life and make the peanut butter more “spreadable,” processing companies add hydrogenated vegetable oil to their products, along with extra salt.
Natural peanut butter
Natural peanut butter does not have added hydrogenated oils or sodium, which helps prevent heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
Reduced-fat peanut butter
This type contains exactly what its label promotes: less fat. However, to compensate for the missing fat, carbohydrates are used along with twice the amount of sugar, according to Men’s Health magazine. If you’re looking for foods that won’t increase your fat intake, this peanut butter is a good option; but make sure to monitor your sugar consumption.
Peanut butter with omega-3
Omega-3 peanut butter includes fish oil in its ingredient list. Omega-3 fatty acids are proven to lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease. Typically, these fatty acids are found in fish but by adding them to peanut butter, companies have expanded consumers’ options for receiving their recommended intake of omega-3.
In order to give appropriate praise to peanut butter’s key ingredient, National Peanut Day has been declared and falls on September 13. Therefore, don’t forget to celebrate our beloved spread by indulging in its wonderful flavor and taking in its abundant health benefits this Thursday.