How peanut butter can benefit your heart
How can something that contains sodium and saturated fat be considered a healthy food?
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that consuming one ounce of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter at least five days a week can lower the risk of developing diabetes, which can lead to heart disease, by almost 30 percent.
Two tablespoons of the average peanut butter from your grocery store contains approximately:
- 3.3 grams of saturated fat
- 12.4 grams of unsaturated fat
- 190 calories
“Yes, peanut butter is high in calories. But the good news is you get a lot of nutrition for your 190-calorie investment,” says Tarah Hoffmann, a registered dietitian at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.
Unsaturated fats (80 percent of the fat content of peanut butter) are healthy fats that play a significant role in lowering bad cholesterol, thereby decreasing the chances of heart diseases, Hoffman says.
The healthy side of peanut butter includes fiber, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium and high protein content. Unsalted peanut butter has a healthy potassium-to-sodium ratio, which balances out the harmful cardiovascular effects of sodium.
“There are benefits to high fiber and protein foods keeping you fuller longer, causing you to eat less overall,” Hoffmann says.
Hoffman says that when you are shopping for peanut butter, look for a natural kind with little to no added salt, sugar or trans-fat.
“Don’t be fooled by reduced-fat peanut butter labels,” she says. “The reduced fat versions usually contain more sugar. In most cases, reduced fat decreases the unsaturated fats, “good fats” that you want. Read labels carefully.”
Be advised that polishing off a whole jar of peanut butter in one sitting is not a healthy choice. Hoffman says to try staying within the two tablespoon serving size recommendation.
“Peanut butter can be a very nutritious part of your diet and keep a happy, healthy heart,” she says.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.