Is Peanut Butter Healthy? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Last Updated: 28th September 2016

Is Peanut Butter Healthy? Here’s What You Need to Know…

Peanut butter: as the old song says, “it’s good for your dad, it’s good for your mother”!

Peanut butter makes everything better! Dark chocolate is delicious, but adding peanut butter gives you the world’s most delicious candy: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Toast and jam is a great way to start your day, but with a bit of peanut butter, you get the PB&J, the sandwich you can never stop eating.

Smoothies are a tasty treat to help you consume more protein, but with a scoop of peanut butter, it’s like a whole blender full of healthy, peanut-flavored goodness straight from the gods themselves.


DID YOU KNOW?

Did You Know 91% of American households use peanut butter? U.S. sales of peanut butter came close to $1.2 billion in 2015 alone. That’s a lot of people with a peanut butter-induced smile on their faces!

Sadly, we have to look the nutty gift horse in the mouth and ask the tough question: Is peanut butter healthy?

Below, we’ll take a look at peanut butter both the pros and cons to answer the question “Is peanut butter good for you?”

The answer may surprise you…

The Facts: Peanut Butter Nutritional Info

Before we can get into the details, first we have to know all the facts.

Here is a look at the cold, hard data on peanut butter’s nutritional value:

In the basic serving size (32 grams, or 2 tablespoons) of everyone’s favorite smooth, creamy peanut butter, you get:

Let’s take a closer look at that nutritional data, so we can better understand how eating peanut butter affects us:

The point of this article is to answer the question “Is peanut butter healthy?” Well, to answer that question, let’s take a look at the things that make peanut butter such a great addition to your diet:

Of course, for every pro, there has to be a con, right? To truthfully answer the question “Is peanut butter good for you?” we have to look at the downsides/risks/dangers of peanut butter:

Allergic reactions — This is one of the primary arguments against not only peanut butter, but all peanut products! According to Food Allergy Research & Education, roughly 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies.

Only EIGHT foods account for 90% of the allergic reactions, and peanuts (all nuts, really) are on that list of the “Hateful Eight”. Roughly 3 million people suffer from tree nut and peanut allergies. The number of children (under the age of 18) living with peanut allergies has increased by 300% since 1997.

Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the peanut-shaped tunnel: F.A.R.E. estimates that up to 20% of children outgrow their peanut/nut allergies. However, it’s vital to understand that for children with peanut allergies, peanut butter is a DANGEROUS food–one that can cause symptoms like runny nose, digestive upset, skin reactions, itching, and shortness of breath.

Aflatoxins — Uh-oh, you see the “-toxins” there, don’t you? Time to freak out? Perhaps…

According to Wikipedia, Aflatoxins are “poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals that are produced by certain molds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains”. Where do you think these molds are often found? That’s right, in improperly stored peanuts.

The good news is that 89% of aflatoxins are killed off during the processing of peanuts into peanut butter. The bad news is that aflatoxins have been linked to a number of health problems, including liver cancer, impaired child growth, and even reduced mental function/performance. Thankfully, the USDA monitors the levels of aflatoxins in peanut butter, so the risk of being exposed to these toxins is fairly low. However, it’s vital to understand that the risk is still there.

Atherogenic — To put this in layman’s terms, it may increase the risk of atherosclerosis (constriction of the blood vessels). Peanut butter has been used to induce atherosclerosis in animals (for research purposes). It usually only works if cholesterol levels are high, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

So, we’ve looked at the good and the bad, and it’s time to answer the question: Is peanut butter healthy? The answer: Yes, but…

Yes, peanut butter is healthy. The high nutritional value makes it a useful addition to your diet, and it can help protect your heart, reduce your risk of diabetes, and promote feelings of satiety that will prevent you from overeating.

But, if you’re not careful, it can cause you to gain weight, and there is always the risk of allergy.

Understanding this will help you to keep peanut butter in its correct place on your menu!

Not certain peanut butter is the right spread for you? Looking for something with a slightly different (read: lower in fat, higher in nutrients) nutritional profile? Here are a few healthy alternatives to peanut butter:

Some other recent alternatives for peanut butter are Sunflower Seed Butter and Cookie Butter. Both are relatively easy to find, mostly right next to peanut butter in large chain grocery stores. Both have a nice nutty flavor and is smooth and easy to spread. You won’t even feel like you’re missing out peanut butter with these two!

Try these peanut butter alternatives if you want a healthy snack, or if you’re just looking to give your palate a break!

Is Peanut Butter Healthy-Here’s What You Need To Know

42d807abe7808c8f42603a725bb5f7b2 - Is Peanut Butter Healthy-Here’s What You Need To Know

Is Peanut Butter Healthy? Here’s What You Need to Know…

Peanut butter: as the old song says, “it’s good for your dad, it’s good for your mother”!

Peanut butter makes everything better! Dark chocolate is delicious, but adding peanut butter gives you the world’s most delicious candy: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Toast and jam is a great way to start your day, but with a bit of peanut butter, you get the PB&J, the sandwich you can never stop eating.

Smoothies are a tasty treat to help you consume more protein, but with a scoop of peanut butter, it’s like a whole blender full of healthy, peanut-flavored goodness straight from the gods themselves.


DID YOU KNOW?

 

Did You Know 91% of American households use peanut butter? U.S. sales of peanut butter came close to $1.2 billion in 2015 alone. That’s a lot of people with a peanut butter-induced smile on their faces!

Sadly, we have to look the nutty gift horse in the mouth and ask the tough question: Is peanut butter healthy?

Below, we’ll take a look at peanut butter both the pros and cons to answer the question “Is peanut butter good for you?”

The answer may surprise you…

The Facts: Peanut Butter Nutritional Info

Before we can get into the details, first we have to know all the facts.

Here is a look at the cold, hard data on peanut butter’s nutritional value:

In the basic serving size (32 grams, or 2 tablespoons) of everyone’s favorite smooth, creamy peanut butter, you get:

Let’s take a closer look at that nutritional data, so we can better understand how eating peanut butter affects us:

The point of this article is to answer the question “Is peanut butter healthy?” Well, to answer that question, let’s take a look at the things that make peanut butter such a great addition to your diet:

Of course, for every pro, there has to be a con, right? To truthfully answer the question “Is peanut butter good for you?” we have to look at the downsides/risks/dangers of peanut butter:

Allergic reactions — This is one of the primary arguments against not only peanut butter, but all peanut products! According to Food Allergy Research & Education, roughly 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies.

Only EIGHT foods account for 90% of the allergic reactions, and peanuts (all nuts, really) are on that list of the “Hateful Eight”. Roughly 3 million people suffer from tree nut and peanut allergies. The number of children (under the age of 18) living with peanut allergies has increased by 300% since 1997.

Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the peanut-shaped tunnel: F.A.R.E. estimates that up to 20% of children outgrow their peanut/nut allergies. However, it’s vital to understand that for children with peanut allergies, peanut butter is a DANGEROUS food–one that can cause symptoms like runny nose, digestive upset, skin reactions, itching, and shortness of breath.

Aflatoxins — Uh-oh, you see the “-toxins” there, don’t you? Time to freak out? Perhaps…

According to Wikipedia, Aflatoxins are “poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals that are produced by certain molds (Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus) which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay, and grains”. Where do you think these molds are often found? That’s right, in improperly stored peanuts.

The good news is that 89% of aflatoxins are killed off during the processing of peanuts into peanut butter. The bad news is that aflatoxins have been linked to a number of health problems, including liver cancer, impaired child growth, and even reduced mental function/performance. Thankfully, the USDA monitors the levels of aflatoxins in peanut butter, so the risk of being exposed to these toxins is fairly low. However, it’s vital to understand that the risk is still there.

Atherogenic — To put this in layman’s terms, it may increase the risk of atherosclerosis (constriction of the blood vessels). Peanut butter has been used to induce atherosclerosis in animals (for research purposes). It usually only works if cholesterol levels are high, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

So, we’ve looked at the good and the bad, and it’s time to answer the question: Is peanut butter healthy? The answer: Yes, but…

Yes, peanut butter is healthy. The high nutritional value makes it a useful addition to your diet, and it can help protect your heart, reduce your risk of diabetes, and promote feelings of satiety that will prevent you from overeating.

But, if you’re not careful, it can cause you to gain weight, and there is always the risk of allergy.

Understanding this will help you to keep peanut butter in its correct place on your menu!

Not certain peanut butter is the right spread for you? Looking for something with a slightly different (read: lower in fat, higher in nutrients) nutritional profile? Here are a few healthy alternatives to peanut butter:

Some other recent alternatives for peanut butter are Sunflower Seed Butter and Cookie Butter. Both are relatively easy to find, mostly right next to peanut butter in large chain grocery stores. Both have a nice nutty flavor and is smooth and easy to spread. You won’t even feel like you’re missing out peanut butter with these two!

Try these peanut butter alternatives if you want a healthy snack, or if you’re just looking to give your palate a break!

All You Need To Know About Peanut Allergies And Symptoms To Look Out For

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Last Updated: 12th October 2016

Whether you hear about it on the TV or through debates on parenting forums, peanut allergy cases are growing. In fact, studies have shown that between 1997 and 2008 the number of children suffering from peanut allergies has tripled! This is an alarming rate, especially with other studies showing that eight out of 10 children will suffer from an allergic reaction the first time they try a peanut.

Just why is it that peanut allergies have grown and how are they caused in the first place? We want to do everything we can for our kids to protect them and help them have successful unlimited futures. Here’s a look at all you need to know about the allergies and all the symptoms you should look out for to get help as soon as you or your children need it.

What Exactly Is a Peanut Allergy?


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Peanuts are commonly believed to be part of the tree nut family. It makes sense. They do seem very much like Brazil, almond, and other similar nuts. This isn’t the case. The peanut is more closely related to soybeans, peas and lentils.

It was once thought that a peanut allergy would remain with children for the rest of their lives. Science has now indicated that some people outgrow it. At the moment, about 20% of people outgrow their allergies. It could be more, but many people will avoid the ingredients once they realise the first time that they suffer problems, especially if the allergic reactions are serious.

The type of reaction differs between people. Some people will have mild reactions that they can control through over the counter medication. Others will have severe reactions that require hospital treatment and may lead to death. It’s something we’ll look at when considering all the symptoms of a peanut allergy.

What Exactly Happens to the Body?


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When the body is suffering from an allergic reaction, what exactly happens? What creates the symptoms that many people notice, including the wheezing, itchy rash and swelling?

The first stage isn’t seen. It’s when the immune system releases antibodies to fight against the ingredient. This can be as soon as someone breathes in the particles, which is why some schools have started banning all peanut products because there are students with such severe allergies.

To fight off the “infection,” the antibodies include histamines. These are chemicals in the body, and the reason many people will use anti-histamine medications to help fight against the allergic reaction. Histamines are created in any allergic reaction, whether it is to insect bites, other food, or even to pollen. It’s the histamines that create the many symptoms experienced when suffering from allergies.

Why Do We Suffer Peanut Allergies?


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Now you know what an allergy is, it’s time to understand why they happen. Why have they grown so much in recent years?

There are various theories given by scientists. Unfortunately, the exact answer is unknown. All that is known is that the immune system is fighting against something within the peanut, and it is likely the proteins. Peanuts have proteins that aren’t found in any other food, so the body just isn’t used to digesting them on a daily basis.

The immune system believes that the proteins are harmfully invading the body, so it starts to fight against them. This leads to the symptoms, as it attempts to fight off something that isn’t an infection.

Some of the theories into the reason for the growth in the number of allergies reported is that science has just adapted so much. The immune system feels like it needs to do something but doesn’t have as many illnesses actually to fight against. It creates something, and this means ingredients and components that are good for the body are viewed as something bad.

This theory can be backed by the look at the number of peanut allergies reported in China. The country boils peanuts, which damages most of the proteins in the ingredient. This can lead to fewer proteins for the body to fight against. There is also more pollution in the country, giving the immune system something to fight against already. It doesn’t need to create work for itself, so people are less likely to find they can’t eat peanuts—and other foods that they become allergic to.

Some scientists believe that the amount of peanuts people in the western world consume accounts for more peanut allergies. It does mean that more children than before are eating the ingredients, so more allergies are noted and diagnosed. Parents are also switching healthy, homemade snacks for the easy to reach snacks, meaning more proteins are hitting the body than ever before.

Others believe that more exposure early on accounts for the eight out of 10 children having allergic reactions the first time they try the nuts. This could be through exposure while the foetus is in the womb or even while the baby is getting breast milk. The body is already fighting off the proteins and indicates them as harmful, so when it comes to getting a larger amount the body fights them off harder.

Video games and kids being stuck indoors is another theory given by scientists. The vitamin D from the sun helps the immune system develop fully. At the same time, playing outside exposes children to dirt and germs, which helps their immune systems fight off against things that it does need to protect the body from. When it comes to eating peanuts, the immune system doesn’t need to create something for it to do. The best thing you can do is let your kids explore and not wash their hands right away when they get back inside—unless they have been exploring in something harmful. Dirt is fine in small amounts!

Why Are the Severities Different?

Every person is different, which is why the severities of allergic reactions differ. The scientists don’t understand why some people suffer more than others or understand how to prevent something like this from happening.

In most cases, the allergies don’t happen until someone eats peanuts. The proteins get into the digestive system and cause the immune system response. Sometimes, the severity is at the point where the proteins just have to be touched or absorbed into the body as soon as they reach the lips or mouth.

The most severe cases will involve where people breathe in the particles and suffer from allergic reactions. This is most common in enclosed spaces, such as restaurants and schools, hence the reason for some schools to be completely peanut free. The schools and restaurants will need to be alerted if there is such a severe allergic reaction to the ingredient. Restaurants may not be able to do anything, which can be distressing for the sufferer.

Schools banning all peanut products has become a debate among parents. Some parents don’t understand why their children are being banned from bringing in peanut products, and why the sufferer can’t eat somewhere else to avoid allergic reactions.

How Can You Stop a Peanut Allergy?


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With so little currently understood about peanut allergies and why some people suffer so severely from them, it is very difficult to understand how the allergies can be prevented or cured. In fact, there is no way of curing the allergy, apart from letting the body adjust, and the immune system stops seeing the proteins as a threat.

It is possible to help deal with the symptoms, though. Over the counter, anti-histamine medications are among the most popular options for people with known allergies. These medications help to fight against the chemicals being created, limiting the symptoms felt. They don’t always completely cure the symptoms, so some like runny eyes and wheezing may still be experienced.

There are other medications offered, such as epi-pens to help deal with the symptoms temporarily. In most cases, the sufferer will need to seek medical attention afterwards, as this is an indication that the allergic reaction is severe.

In some more serious cases, the sufferer needs to get straight to the hospital for help before the airway is completely blocked by swelling.

Avoidance Is the Best Way to Prevent


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The unfortunate answer for many is to avoid anything with peanuts or even traces of peanuts to prevent any allergic reaction. The good news is that this is easier than some other foods that people are allergic to. All foods must indicate if peanuts are in the ingredients and whether there is a risk of contamination from other products. Cross-contamination can happen when something is made in the same factory as something with peanuts.

Those who have the allergy will need to check all labels. They will also need to discuss this with restaurants to find out the risk of contamination from foods cooked in the restaurants. Some restaurants will use peanut oil or peanut butter in their recipes, and only indicate this in passing on their menus once you’re already there. You can ask for some to be made separately, but there may still be a risk of cross-contamination.

The best way to avoid any contamination is by making everything at home from scratch. You could replace the peanuts with other ingredients that you aren’t allergic to, like other types of nuts, seeds, oats and even raisins. Seed butter is a popular option to replace peanut butter if you suffer from an allergy to all nuts.

Can I Eat Peanut Oil?


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Peanut oil is used in many restaurants and considered a healthy option for many. Can you eat or oil pull with it if you’re allergic to the ingredient?

This will depend on the way the oil has been created and the severity of your allergy. Some oils have been refined and purified so much that the protein from the peanuts has been completely removed. All you’re left with is the taste of the peanut and nothing that the body is going to react against. Watch out for unrefined peanut oil, which will still have the protein and cause problems. The unrefined options may also be called gourmet, aromatic or cold-pressed peanut oils.

The best thing for you to do is discuss this with your dietician and doctor. They will know if your allergy is too severe even to try refined peanut oils. There are plenty of other oils to try instead.

Will I Outgrow a Peanut Allergy?

As mentioned, 20 percent of people eventually outgrown their peanut allergy. It’s difficult to tell whether you will be one of the 20 percents or whether this number is higher. Some people may not even try peanuts in the future to know if they have outgrown the allergy or not have other tests later in life to test the severity of their childhood allergies.

The best thing you can do again talks to your doctor or dietician. Find out about the statistics for people with your severity and what tests can be taken to see if you will outgrow the allergy.

There is little that you can do to help yourself outgrow it. As scientists believe getting outside and helping the immune system have things to fight against is a way to help prevent an allergy developing, it is possible that this will help you outgrow your allergy. It’s certainly worth a try, but make sure you protect your skin against UV rays!

How Are Patients Diagnosed With Peanut Allergies?

Now that you know all about peanut allergies and how they’re formed, it’s time to find out how they’re diagnosed. This part is tricky for many, especially when it comes to the less severe reactions. Any food allergies tend to be difficult to diagnose.

For those with severe allergies, the diagnosis is often quick. You’ll come out with symptoms as soon as you eat something with peanuts or you may suffer them as soon as you touch it.

Unfortunately, not everyone will have the same symptoms every time their immune system reacts! This makes diagnosis extremely hard, especially in minor cases. You’ll need to go through various tests to find out what is causing it, which may involve cutting everything out of your diet that may be causing the allergy and slowly trying different foods. It’s a case of trial and error to find the reason, which may take months.

You will need to keep a food diary if you believe you have an allergy. Your dietician and doctor will be able to look through your diet to see what the potential cause is. Make a note of the times that you eat and the amount of each food you have. Be as accurate as possible.

When you have symptoms, state clearly what they are, when they appeared and how severe they were. It is possible that a pattern is noticed with the foods that you eat. You’ll also need to note down what you did to help ease your symptoms and how long it took until you were able to feel normal again.

Sometimes, this food elimination diet leads to inconclusive results. This will lead to the need to carry out an oral food challenge, where you will be fed small amounts of peanut-based products, with the dosage increasing over time. This is all done under a controlled environment so your symptoms can be tested and there is medical help available should you suffer a severe and dangerous reaction. Don’t attempt to do this yourself at home!

What Are the Symptoms You’ll Experience With a Peanut Allergy?


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It’s now time to know what symptoms you need to look out for. As we’ve seen, people will suffer in different ways, and you may even not have the same symptoms each time. This can be very difficult when helping to diagnose the allergy in children.

The first thing to do is listen to your children if you think they’re suffering from an allergy. When they feel uncomfortable or have rashes, make a note of them. They’re not trying to be difficult but want you to know that something isn’t right within themselves. If you’ve fed a baby a peanut product or a child, who can’t talk, look out for signs of discomfort, including uncontrollable crying and pull knees up to their stomachs to help alleviate some of the symptoms.

Anaphylaxis is the most severe symptom of a peanut allergy, and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Those who already have known allergies may carry epi-pens, which give them the drugs needed to help eliminate the swelling that causes the wheezing breaths. Other signs of anaphylaxis include blood pressure drops, dizziness or fainting, and blue lips with pale skin. The epi-pens have adrenaline boosts to help treat the problem.

Many of these sufferers will still need a trip to the hospital. In some cases, an ambulance will need to be called as the patient won’t have an epi-pen and may not even know they have an allergy to the ingredient.

Those with less severe symptoms may notice numerous signs that they are suffering from an allergic reaction. One of those is hives or an itchy rash on their skin. This rash can appear in a spotty pattern where the person has touched the food or may be in large welts all over the body. It does vary between people and can vary in different instances of the allergic reaction. You may initially see small spots that turn into large welts covering the whole body.

Some people also suffer from a tingling sensation in their lips. It could be that not enough blood is getting to the lips due to minor swelling in the body. The lips can also start to turn blue if they’re not getting enough. In most minor cases, this problem will disappear on its own and not leave any lasting damage.

An itchy mouth is another sign that you have an allergy to the ingredient. This could also develop into a rash within the mouth and be sore after some time. Some people will feel this as soon as the peanuts touch the mouth, while others only notice it after some time when the food has started to digest.

Congestion or a runny nose and runny eyes are other symptoms of histamines in the body. These symptoms are noted most with hayfever, but the reason is the same. The immune system is releasing histamines to fight against what it believes is harmful. Some patients all complain of feeling nauseous, and some are physically sick due to the histamines in the body.

How to Be Prepared for Your Children


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Looking after your children is the most important thing as a parent. If they suffer from allergies, you want to make sure you’re prepared. You just never know when symptoms may strike because you can’t check everywhere they go or everything they do. You may not even know at risk that they have a severe allergy.

The same applies to yourself. You need to be ready for everything as you can’t control everything that happens in your life.

Make sure you have your epi-pen if you have been prescribed one. Have extra if you are going away on a vacation or will be away for a longer period than a day trip. By having it with you, you can administer it if something does happen. It doesn’t matter if you’re only going to a friend’s house, or you’re away on a vacation.

When your child is at school, make sure they have their pen with them. Ensure the school is aware of the medical need and ensure they will do everything possible to keep your child protected.

By knowing the symptoms, you’ll be able to act before they get severe. Practice using the pen to make sure you know what to do should you need to use it. Also make sure your children know what to do, as soon as they are old enough. If you’re the one with the allergy, it’s worth teaching your children what to do if you have a reaction in case you can’t do anything.

When the pen has been used, make sure you call for an ambulance and keep the empty pen. The paramedics will need to know exactly what has been injected to know what they can do afterwards.

Knowing all the symptoms and all of peanut allergies will prevent severe problems in the future. While there isn’t much you can do to prevent an allergy from forming, you can prevent the symptoms in the majority of cases. Be prepared and read all the labels, whether you or your children suffer from a peanut allergy.

Having this knowledge also helps you to choose the food you buy carefully. Since peanut is sometimes an ingredient, you can find ways to use alternative ones when cooking. You can also avoid food with peanuts when eating outside.

Everything You Need to Know About the Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

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Peanut Butter Image Design 1 1024x562 - Everything You Need to Know About the Health Benefits of Peanut ButterAs long as you’re not allergic to it, there are high chances that you have peanut butter in your home. Whether it’s crunchy or smooth, it’s great for sandwiches, snacks, and even desserts. And how many of us really love eating it out of the jar with a spoon. Go on, you can be honest here!

There are many thoughts about peanut butter and how it’s bad for us. We can’t lie that there are some downsides to it. Unfortunately, it does contain a larger amount of saturated fats than we would usually like. But unlike all the other saturated badness out there, peanut butter offers a range of other health benefits.

In fact, when you eat the peanut butter in moderate amounts, you can improve your health and boost your weight loss efforts.

Here is all you need to know about the health benefits of peanut butter and why you need to add it to your diet right away.

You Will Find Weight Loss Easier

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Yes, peanut butter really can help you lose weight. It’s time to ignore all those diet plans that tell you it’s time to cut it out of your diet.

There are high chances that those diet plans are focusing too much on the calorie side of things. Yes, serving as around 200 calories, depending on the type of peanut butter you have. What the diets don’t look at is the fact that you have 8g of protein and 2g of fiber in each serving. Why is this so good? Well, these two both help you feel fuller for longer.

Let’s look at a slice of toast with jam or butter. You’ll end up eating far more than you would if you have peanut butter instead. That means fewer calories consumed overall, so you’ll find it easier to create that calorie deficit.

And let’s not forget how satisfying peanut butter is. There’s a mental benefit to eating it. You don’t just feel physically satisfied, but your mental state believes that you’ve had something bad for you—something that you’ve wanted for hours. You’ll end up fighting against those cravings you’ve been getting, so you eat less of the actual bad stuff.

Of course, peanut butter needs to be eaten as part of a balanced diet. It’s all about getting everything in moderation! You’ll also need to remember to get out and exercise to help burn off extra calories. Exercise is 20 percent of your weight loss efforts.

While helping you lose the fat, the peanut butter will help with the building and toning of muscle. We’ll get onto the reasons for that next because it’s all to do with the type of fat in the ingredient.

There is Plenty of Good Fat Involved

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While there are some saturated fats, there are also plenty of monounsaturated fats in peanut butter. Why is this so important? Well, this is the type of fat that you really need.

Studies have shown that having more monounsaturated fats in your diet will mean that you have a lower risk of developing diabetes. Your body doesn’t become as resistant to insulin, and you don’t suffer from the same blood sugar spikes that you would without the fats. Your whole body is protected. This is even the case in adults who already have a resistance to insulin. You’ll find that your diabetes could be reduced.

This is great for your waistline, but also helps your whole health. By lowering the risk of diabetes, you lower the risk of developing some other health problems. Diabetes has been linked to the loss of limb, heart problems, and comas. Do you really want to put your life at risk like that when you can help improve it with a simple serving of delicious peanut butter a day?

Oh and there’s no point in opting for the reduced-fat option. The calories are just the same, but you get less of the monounsaturated goodness for your overall health. You’ll also end up spending more money because really it’s all a marketing ploy!

And that saturated fat content isn’t as bad as we once believed it was. It helps with the absorption of more vitamin D and testosterone. These help us build stronger muscles and bones, which aids with the whole weight loss goals above. Our bodies will be more toned, and we’ll find it easier to lose weight. With more muscle, the body is encouraged to take the extra energy from the fat cells and not the muscles.

We’re also at a lower risk of osteoporosis and other bone issues. The vitamin D will help us absorb far more calcium, and it beats having to opt for the sun’s rays that tend to be damaging to the skin.

Give the Immune System a Boost

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Another of the great benefits of peanut butter is the amount of antioxidants and other vitamins that are in it. We tend to forget about the health benefits of peanuts because we become so focused on the word “butter” and the myth that fat is bad for us.

All those antioxidants and vitamins help to give the immune system a boost. We find it easier to fight off infections and keep other illnesses at bay. We’re less likely to suffer from colds and flu symptoms because our bodies are able to nip the ailments in the bud sooner rather than later.

Let’s also not forget about the big benefit of antioxidants: they help to reduce the risk of cancer, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. The antioxidants fight against free radicals, which are the main reason for cells to develop abnormally while repairing after damage. The abnormal cells open the doors for cancerous or dementia-riddled cells to develop.

Studies have found that by eating peanut butter, it’s possible to increase the amount of antioxidants in your system by 22 percent. There are more antioxidants than the likes of carrots, beets, and apples. In fact, peanut butter is at the same level of the likes of strawberries and blackberries that are highly known for their cancer-fighting properties.

Other studies have shown that cancer can fight off colon cancer specifically. This is the third most common type of cancer around the world, and there is still very little known and understood about it. Just men were 27 percent less likely to develop cancer by eating peanut butter. The study didn’t even look at women, but we can assume some similar results. There are suggestions that lung and stomach cancer risks can also be reduced.

As for Alzheimer’s, studies have shown that peanut butter can help. These studies compared peanut butter with vitamin E as a way to ward off the disease. Those who took vitamin E needed a large amount to see a reduction in the risk of Alzheimer’s. When it came to the peanut butter, just a small amount was needed. A serving of peanuts has 20 percent of your recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which helps. It’s also due to the amount of antioxidants protecting the cells.

Great for the Heart Health

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Another benefit to focus on is that to your heart health. Remember that healthy fat within the peanut butter? Well, this helps to reduce your bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol in your body. The good cholesterol is then able to protect the lining of your vessels so the blood can run through the body easily. Bad cholesterol causes friction and leads to too much clotting risk.

Your blood pressure is also reduced thanks to your lower cholesterol levels. So, your heart isn’t trying to do as much work as it would have needed to do. And remember, your heart is a muscle. It can overwork, and it can suffer because of that.

With peanut butter, you’re at a lower risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. In fact, having peanut butter (or just peanuts) five times a week, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by half!

Handle Your Chronic Pain

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It’s not all just because of the cholesterol levels, either. The peanuts help to reduce the inflammation in your body. Your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to get the blood flowing through constricted vessels because the body isn’t inflaming as much.

The lack of inflammation also helps in other areas of your lifestyle. Inflammation is the number one reason for conditions like chronic pain and IBS. What if you could get rid of both—or at least limit the issues? When you reduce the inflammation within the body, you get rid of many of the symptoms and side effects of it.

There is a lower need for having to take more painkillers and anti-inflammatory pills to help lessen the chronic pain. There’s no need to wonder why IBS and Crohn’s disease is affecting you on a daily basis. Just think about how that will help your mental health.

You’ll feel like you can do more. You’ll actually want to start doing more, and this then also helps to boost your mental health. Some people find that conditions like depression and anxiety become a thing of the past because they no longer feel the constant pain or lack of energy.

Reduce Your Risk of Gallstones

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Who would have thought something like peanut butter could reduce the risk of developing gallstones? Well, it does. This is mostly due to the peanuts in the food. Peanuts have the right nutrients to help keep gallstones at bay. Studies show that the peanuts can reduce the risk of developing gallbladder issues by 25-30 percent.

That’s great, but what about the amount of fat within the peanut butter? Well, remember that the fat in peanut butter gets an unfair reputation. Fat is good for the body, as long as you get the right type. It’s the large amounts of saturated fats that lead to many of our gallbladder issues.

But isn’t there saturated fat within peanut butter? Well, yes, but there’s also plenty of good and healthy fats. And saturated fats consumed in a low amount really aren’t going to do you that much damage! It’s the other junk food that you’re eating that clogs up the arteries and makes it hard for the digestive system to work properly.

When you eat peanut butter as part of a healthy and balanced diet, you will find that those gallbladder issues are a thing of the past.

Can Other Nut Butters and Seed Butters Do the Same?

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If you’re allergic to peanuts, you may want to find other ways to get all these great benefits above. There are questions over whether other nut butter or the seed butter out there can help you.

While there aren’t the exact same benefits, some of them do offer similar ones. Peanuts and other nuts aren’t made up in the same way. The peanut isn’t actually a nut: it’s a legume, like peas! This is why many people who are allergic to peanuts aren’t usually allergic to other types of nuts. Other nuts don’t quite offer the same nutritional benefits as peanuts, and there are still studies being conducted to find out the exact benefits.

When it comes to the healthy fats, you will get many of the same benefits. The butter are made similarly to peanut butter, meaning you get a mixture of saturated and unsaturated fats. You’ll still get the fiber and much of the protein, so you can still find that they will help you with your weight loss, muscle toning, and mental health boosts.

Are you ready to try peanut butter in your diet? Are you ready to add it back in? While it gets a bad reputation, there are many health benefits to adding just a serving or two into your diet. Start off small and work your way up to five servings or so a week. You can have it on toast or in desserts. You will find that it’s easier to lose weight, while you boost your heart and brain health.

Satisfy Your Peanut Butter Cravings Together with these Fruits

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Peanut Butter Image Design 1 1024x562 - Satisfy Your Peanut Butter Cravings Together with these FruitsFor those of us who enjoy peanut butter, it’s always good to find new recipes and pairings that work well. Pretty much every fruit you can think of can be paired with peanut butter and turn out tasting great, but there are a few combinations that I would highly recommend.

Whether you want healthy ideas for your kids, yourself or even a party, I am sure you will find some of the recipes and combinations interesting or intriguing enough to try, and I know that you will not be disappointed at all. Here are a few recipes that combine fruit and peanut butter in an interesting way to make a great snack for you to satisfy your cravings for peanut butter!

Apple

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Probably the simplest recipe on this list, Apple on it’s own is a great fruit when paired with peanut butter and can make for some great snacks, though with a few additions, you will find that the simple Apple is one of the nicest pairings you can find. These mini bagels are not only tasty and nutritious but incredibly easy to make!

Here is a simple apple and peanut butter snack that is quick and easy to make and tastes great, you will need:

  • ¼ cup of peanut butter spread
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 2 tablespoons of cranberries (optional)

Procedure:

  • Mix the peanut butter with the honey in a small bowl. Cut the top and bottom ¼ of the apple and cut remaining apple into 6 horizontal slices.
  • Spread 3 of the apple slices with the mix, if used sprinkle the cranberries on top and place the remaining apple slices on top.
  • You now have 3 mini fruit and peanut butter bagels!

Apple and Cherry

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Apple and cherry can make an excellent pairing combined with peanut butter. But no need to stop with simply paring the fruit with the peanut butter (although this tastes great too!). You can also make tasty snack bites with just a few simple ingredients added and a little preparation as with many of the recipes on this list.

Before I get into the recipe, I will say that this one really goes down well with children, whether it’s to pack a lunch or simply for a snack at home it is one of the sweeter recipes on this list.

For this you will need:

  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of dried cherries
  • 1 cup of Instant Oats
  • ½ of an apple
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of honey (if you want to add that little extra sweetness to the recipe)

Procedure:

  • Firstly, you must place all the ingredients into a food processor until the texture is like that of dough.
  • Then remove one tablespoon of the mixture out and roll into a ball. (repeat until the mixture is all rolled into balls).
  • Wrap the balls in plastic or place in a container and put it in the refrigerator for between 4-7 days.
  • Enjoy a healthy snack of fruit and peanut butter!

Banana

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Bananas are often used with peanut butter and for a good reason! They combine in a tasty and nutritious way, there’s not much to say other than… it just works. Another bite-sized snack that will satisfy that peanut butter craving in a healthy and balanced way. There is even a little chocolate in this one to add to the taste without compromising the healthy nature of the snack. Again, I can’t make more of a point out of the fact that this one also goes down great with kids, plus the chocolate covers up the healthy side of it and makes it much more interesting for children.

To make peanut butter, chocolate and banana energy bite you will need:

  • 1 ripe banana, mashed in a bowl
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • ¼ cup of honey
  • ½ cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1 ¾ cups of oats
  • ½ cup of peanut butter (creamy/smooth)

Procedure:

  • To make this quick and healthy snack, you must first combine the oats, chocolate and chia seeds in a large bowl.
  • Then in a separate smaller bowl (microwavable) combine the peanut butter and honey and microwave for 20-25 seconds. Add the vanilla extract and mashed banana. Stir until the mix is smooth and creamy.
  • Pour the smaller bowl that you have just microwaved into the other bowl and stir, if it seems too close to liquid add extra oats.
  • After all of this place the mixture in the refrigerator for 20-25 minutes, shape into small balls and enjoy another treat of fruit and peanut butter.

Orange and Dates

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These are two fruits that are often forgotten when thinking of making a healthy peanut butter based snack. But they really, REALLY shouldn’t be! The combination is very interesting on its own, but when combined in the recipe below, you can make some delicious breakfast bars! For this you will need:

  • ½ of an orange
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 250g of Medjool dates
  • 50g of walnut pieces
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 180g whole flax seeds
  • 120g of oats (large)
  • 75g of pumpkin seeds

Procedure:

  • To make the breakfast bars, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a square baking tin with parchment paper. Tear the dates and place into a saucepan, squeeze the orange into the pan (dispose of the orange), add the vanilla and the cinnamon. Cover with 350ml of cold water, bring it to a boil and cook until the dates have softened somewhat then turn off the heat.
  • Mash the mix until creamy and then add the peanut butter.
  • Combine all the other dry ingredients separately and add to the mix, stir until the mix is evenly spread.
  • Pour the mix into the prepared tin and spread evenly again, bake for approximately 25-35 minutes until the top and edges are golden. Let it cool and then cut into healthy breakfast bars.

Strawberry and Banana

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Strawberries and bananas go well with peanut butter on their own, but when combined you can make some amazing snacks. There are dozens of possibilities with these two fruits, but here I am going to recommend a smoothie recipe for a quick, easy and different snack!

You will need:

  • ½ of a cup of strawberries (frozen)
  • ½ of a cup of milk or almond milk
  • ½ of a cup of ice cubes
  • A banana
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

Procedure:

  • Blend and enjoy, trust me you won’t regret this one!

Lemon (or Lime)

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Many people likely won’t like the sound of this, and I agree, on its own, it wouldn’t be too great I don’t think. But when made into the right snack this can go from a random pairing to a winning one. Below I have included a recipe for peanut butter, lemon, cheesecake bites. They are a winning alternative to the usual unhealthy cheesecake, and I personally find them make for a fantastic snack after a workout.

This recipe will make 10 mini cakes:

Base:

  • 40g of ground almonds
  • 30g peanut butter (crunchy)
  • 10g whey protein (no flavoring)
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup

Filling:

  • 125g quark
  • 60g of cottage cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 5g of stevia
  • 15ml of lemon/lime juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of whey protein (flavored)

Procedure:

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Firstly make the base, get a mixing bowl and combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, ground almonds and the whey protein. Mix into a powdery ball of dough.
  • Take small lumps with a teaspoon and place this into a micro muffin tin.
  • Now place that on the side and get started on the filling.
  • Combine the cottage cheese, stevia, e.g., white, quark, juice, and protein powder and combine until smooth. Blend all ingredients together and place a teaspoon of the mix into the bases you made earlier.
  • Bake for 5-10 minutes until the sides go brown and the mixture is solid and place in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.
  • Finally, enjoy the guilt-free peanut butter and fruit cheesecake!

Strawberry

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The classic strawberry, a staple of peanut butter combinations for decades with the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But this isn’t the only thing that can be made with strawberries, there are plenty of other recipes out there.

Here is one of my favorites, you will need:

  • 1 cup of unflavored Greek yogurt
  • ¾ of a cup of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • An array of strawberries

Procedure:

  • Simply whisk the Greek yogurt with the peanut butter, slowly add the cocoa powder, honey and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly until you have a smooth, thick pink concoction.
  • Dip your strawberries and enjoy this simple yet tasty peanut butter based snack.

Cherry and Dates

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This is another winning combination with a variety of different snacks that you can choose to make, my personal favorite is something that you can make right now in a matter of moments. Unlike many of the recipes on this list, there is no baking required, all you need are the correct ingredients and a refrigerator, and you are ready to go! It is an extremely easy to make a snack, extremely healthy and you can make it in no time at all!

All you need is:

  • 1 cup of dates
  • 1 cup of peanuts
  • 1 cup of cherries (dried)

Procedure:

  • Mix them in a food processor until doughy, roll into 8 balls and place in the refrigerator to solidify.
  • Finished, you can now enjoy them as a simple and healthy snack.

This recipe can be applied to a variety of fruits, but in my experience, this is the one to try.

Pomegranate, Apples, and Bananas

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This is a very interesting combination, one that I would highly recommend to anybody who wants to satisfy that peanut butter craving in a new, tasty and healthy way. The idea of this recipe is to create fruity, peanut buttery sushi roll style snack and it turns out quite well.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Sprinkles
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pomegranate Seeds

Procedure:

  • Peel the banana and spread peanut butter on the banana top and slice to create the “sushi roll” style look.
  • Slice the apples and spread with peanut butter and top with the sprinkles once more.
  • This is a quick and simple way to create a tasty and healthy snack that has a novelty side to it.
  • Enjoy!

Berries

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Last on the list is an excellent one, it is easy to make and is amazing on a hot day when you want to once more, satisfy that peanut butter craving! All you need is 5 minutes to make this snack, and it tastes great and looks even better, almost as if it is something you would find in a Michelin star restaurant desert menu!

All you will need is:

  • ¾ of a cup of Greek yogurt (plain is what I find works best, but this is up to you)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (must be creamy, not crunchy)
  • 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup of assorted berries of your choosing, whole or chopped, this is up to you.

Procedure:

  • Simply add the yogurt, maple syrup, and peanut butter to a small bowl, whisk until it has combined completely and is fully smooth.
  • Add ½ of this mixture to a glass or parfait glass (if you have one). Place the assorted berries on top of the yogurt, place more yogurt and berries as layers until you are satisfied with the size.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes (skip this step if everything is nice and cold already).
  • Enjoy a classic Yogurt Parfait with a twist of peanut butter!

Hopefully, you found some of these suggestions helpful. Peanut butter is a fantastic snack food, and all too often it is combined in an unhealthy way. I hope you found some new and interesting ways to get your peanut butter fix and in a way, that won’t break the wallet or the belt anytime soon!

The Ultimate Face-Off: Almond Butter Vs Peanut Butter (Health Facts Only)

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Almond Butter Image Design 1 - The Ultimate Face-Off: Almond Butter Vs Peanut Butter (Health Facts Only)Almond butter or peanut butter? Which one of the two is going to be better for you? There are certainly major health benefits to both, but when you get the choice, you want to have the best one, right?

We’re bringing you the ultimate face-off. It’s almond butter vs. peanut butter, and we’ll give you the very best of the two based on the health facts. Strap yourself in and be ready to make a choice.

Isn’t a Nut Butter Like Any Other?

I know what you’re thinking right now. You believe that one nut butter is just like all the rest. To be honest, both almond and peanut butter do have some similarities. They’re both made with nuts, and they both have a buttery texture. They’re full of protein and selenium, along with various healthy fats.

If you created a recipe that called for one, you could likely substitute it with the other. The taste and texture aren’t that different.

However, while there are some nutritional similarities, there are also differences. One butter is not the same as the other. In fact, almond butter has been noted as the better of the two and the one to buy when you do have the choice. Here’s a look at the differences, so you can see just which one will work out better for you.

Protect Your Cells Better with Almond Butter

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Let’s start with the vitamin E levels in the two kinds of butter. While peanut butter does have some, almond is far more superior. You need vitamin E in your diet.

Usually considered a necessity for good skin, vitamin E is also important for good cell structure. It’s one of those antioxidants that will help to prevent cells from deteriorating and growing abnormally. It helps to fight against cancer, dementia, and other major health problems.

Vitamin E works by protecting the cells from oxidative stress. Thisis commonly caused by free radicals in the body. The vitamin E in almond butter will kill off the free radicals, so they don’t have the chance to oxidize the cell structure and proteins within the body, meaning that your cells are not even at risk. There are some studies that show vitamin E can also help to slow down or prevent further damage that has already occurred.

The vitamin is also important to help improve your artery health. Plaque builds up in the arteries without the support of vitamin E in the system. The plaque build up means the arteries narrow, and that puts you at a higher risk of having a heart attack.

Why is almond butter so good? Well, there’s 4mg in every tablespoon of almond butter. You only get 1mg in peanut butter, so you’re getting four times the amount! In fact, the 4mg per tbsp is 27% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

The clear winner, in this case, is the almond butter, but if you can’t get it then you’re not going to ruin efforts by eating peanut butter!

Protect Your Bone and Teeth Health

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Calcium is an essential nutrient for the body. It’s something that we can’t create, so we need to get it through our food and drink as much as possible. Of course, milk and other dairy products are considered by most as the only source of calcium. There’s a reason for this: it’s been the source that doctors and experts focus on the most.

However, nuts are also a good source of calcium. Almonds in particularly beneficial. Yes, almond butter will win for your health again because of the amount of calcium that you will get.

Calcium helps to create strong bones and teeth. It helps to protect against osteoporosis and brittle bones and will help to avoid tooth damage—as long as you look after your teeth in other ways, too!

There are other ways to get the calcium that your body needs. Dark leafy greens are extremely high in calcium. If you want to choose peanut butter, you can find other ways to benefit. However, almond butter will give you more of your daily recommended allowance in one sitting.

Improve the Red Blood Cell Count

Did you know that nut butter can help to boost your red blood cell count? It’s the red blood cells that help to get the oxygen around the body and eliminate the feeling of fatigue. To get red blood cells, you need to get iron, which is where nuts are useful.

Iron is also important for reducing oxidative damage in your body. It works with the vitamin E to protect the cells and ensure the body is healthy and working efficiently.

So, which type of nut butter is better? Almond butter has double the amount of iron than peanut butter does. As a woman, you get 3% of your daily recommended allowance from peanut butter alone.

Because of the small level, it may not be worth the battle between the two. You can opt for much better sources for your iron. Dark leafy greens and red meat both have abundant amounts of iron compared to nut butter! But in this case, almond butter wins.

Protect Your Nervous System

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Your nervous system needs you to get a good and healthy diet. It needs magnesium from your diet to be able to work effectively. When your nervous system is working properly, it will help the muscles contract properly without spasms, helping to reduce pain and inflammation. You will also find that your pain receptors aren’t affected as often.

Magnesium also helps to support your metabolism. When you have an effective metabolism, you will find weight fluctuations stick to a minimum. You can lose weight or gain it (depending on your health needs) and will have sustained energy levels throughout the day.

Which nut butter is the best? In this case, almond butter wins again. There are 45mg of magnesium in a tbsp of almond butter, compared to just 23mg in peanut butter. That means you’ll get 14% of your daily magnesium intake as a woman from your almond butter.

This is a much higher amount than the iron levels and something worth taking seriously.

Improve Your Digestive System with Fibre

Now you need to focus on your digestive system. Fiber is the one food group that you need. It’s the macronutrient that will help to line your intestines to prevent damage. It removes waste, pushing it through your body and helping to break it down, so it is easier to push through. Good levels of fiber will also help you to keep your cholesterol levels down.

Fibre has also been linked to good weight loss diets. The macronutrient breaks down slowly in the body. That means you digest it slowly and you will still feel full hours later. You also feel full faster, because your stomach can’t handle as much, so you eat less on your plate. Consuming less in a meal means that you consume fewer calories, making it an excellent weight loss tool.

Nuts have plenty of fiber. However, almond butter wins once again. You’ll get around a gram of fiber in a tbsp of almond butter, and barely a gram of it in peanut butter.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Not everyone can consume large amounts of fiber. They have stomach issues that make high levels of fiber painful rather than helpful. If that’s the case, you could find that the lower levels in peanut butter are better for your body.

Remember when your digestive system is working efficiently, you’ll be able to absorb more nutrients into your body. Even if you did get more nutrients through almond butter, if the fiber causes your intestines to play up you won’t get the benefit of all those nutrients! So, this will depend on your body as a whole.

Get the Best Selenium Levels

One of the most common nutrients we’re deficient in is selenium. This is one of those nutrients that tend to be missing from food, which is why we’re deficient in it. We need to make sure we get the right foods in our diets. This is where nut butter come into play.

Selenium helps to protect the function and creation of your enzymes. If you feel tired and fatigued, you may not have an iron deficiency but a selenium one!

Nuts are one of the best sources of selenium levels. Taking the nut butter out of the equation, the Brazil nut is the best one to eat. It has your daily recommended amount of selenium in just one nut! Yes, one nut and you’re covered.

If you’re not into Brazil nuts and want to choose a nut butter to get the benefits for you, then you’ll want to turn to peanut butter. For the first time in this list, this peanut butter is better than almond butter!

Build Stronger Muscles with the Right Nut Butter

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We all know that nuts are full of protein. However, did you know that there is one winner between peanut and almond butter? Nut butter have a benefit over many other sources of protein. It’s a vegetable protein, which means there is less saturated fat involved, even when you have the nut in butter form!

Protein is essential for the body to create strong muscles. When you do any workout, your muscles will breakdown to build up stronger. If you don’t have enough proteins, the muscles will start to waste away, and you won’t be as strong or lean as you should be.

Good levels of toned muscle are also good for weight loss and an overall healthy diet. Muscle burns more calories than fat in the same period. If you start losing muscle, your metabolism will slow down. You don’t know about this until you start gaining weight!

Peanut butter has a slight lead when it comes to protein. It has 7.1g in a serving, compared to 6.7g of protein in almond butter. If you want to compare this with other foods that are high in protein, a large egg only has around 6g of protein. Either way, you’re going to get more by opting for a type of nut butter but if you want higher levels, opt for peanut.

Almond Butter vs. Peanut Butter: The Ties

There are times that the two types of butter are just the same. They offer the same or very small differences in micro and macronutrients.

Let’s start with the carbohydrates and fats. Both of the nutbutterhas both these macronutrients. They have healthy fats more than the saturated fats, although all fats get an unfairly bad reputation. You need some fat in a good and healthy diet. Just a normal serving of either almond or peanut butter daily will give you most of the healthy fats you need. A few carbs are almost negligible.

The most important thing to look at is the sugar in the two nutbutter. Sugar is the main cause of health problems and weight gain. When you put too much-refined sugar into the diet, the body metabolizes it as blood sugar. This sets off a response from the pancreas to release insulin. Too much sugar can lead to Type II diabetes.

When your body releases insulin, your metabolism has to work on the blood sugar. It will put the calories that you gain from the food to one side for use later and then forget about those calories. You end up gaining weight because your metabolism can’t work effectively.

So, which nut butter is better for you? This is where the jury is out. It depends on the type of each of the nut butter that you buy. Organic almond butter is supposed to be better for you, but there are companies adding sugar to their products. You’ll want to check the labels of any product that you decide to compare them side by side.

It’s Time to Make a Choice

Overall, almond butter comes across as the winner. However, this will depend on the nutrients that you’re deficient in and what you want to gain from your diet. While the fiber and iron contents are higher in almond butter, the protein and selenium contents are higher in peanut butter.

What is for certain is that both are good as part of a healthy and balanced diet. They both have similar textures and can be substituted for each other. It could be worth alternating between the two and deciding which one you prefer the taste of the most.

Peanut allergy – light at the end of the tunnel?

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When I was a medical student, we had a couple of hours’ dedicated teaching on allergies in our whole six years of training. Consultants who specialised just in allergies didn’t exist – there were a few doctors working in asthma or eczema who had a particular interest, but it wasn’t big news

In the last few years, big (and dangerous) news is precisely what it has become. The most life-threatening complication of food allergy is anaphylaxis – an extreme form of allergic reaction which can cause swelling of the lips, tongue and throat; wheezing and problems breathing; feelings of dizziness or collapse; and sometimes death. The number of people affected by anaphylaxis in the UK almost quadrupled between 1994 and 1998 alone (1,2) and the most common culprit is peanuts. Other leading causes include shellfish, fish, treenuts, eggs, milk, fruits and food additives.

An anaphylactic reaction to food is always a medical emergency – every patient is supplied with pen injectors containing adrenaline and detailed instructions on carrying them with them at all times, spotting the symptoms and how to use the pens. The smallest contact with whatever they’re allergic to can trigger a reaction – even dust from peanuts in the air you breathe in. Allergy UK now provides guidance on how to avoid even exposure to peanut dust in the air on aircraft and advice on finding ‘nut free flights’. Small wonder that this kind of food allergy has a huge impact on quality of life, affecting food choices, social restrictions and fear of dying more than type 1 diabetes. (3)

Peanut allergy affects about 1 in 2,000 people, (4) but a much higher proportion of children, possibly up to 1 in 50. Unlike allergies to cow’s milk and eggs, peanut allergy very rarely goes away on its own. Spontaneous eating is out – every food label has to be scrutinised for hidden traces of peanut. So this study, in which 84% of treated children were able to tolerate the equivalent of five peanuts a day after six months, is exciting stuff for children and their worried parents alike. There have been other studies, but none has been as successful as this. They started by taking in tiny doses of peanut – equivalent to 1/70 of a peanut, and built up gradually, taking a daily ‘dose’.

But we’re by no means there yet. This was a very specialist trial, carried out on just 85 children. It’s not known whether there will be long-term complications (such as inflammation of the oesophagus) from repeated exposure to peanuts in peanut allergic children. It’s not known if the effects will last in the long term. Sixty per cent of children who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to other foods, so they won’t be able to let their guard down completely. And finally, more research needs to be done before this treatment can be considered safe to introduce more widely. Even so, if my child were unlucky enough to be affected by peanut allergy, I’d be feeling a little more hopeful today than yesterday.

References:

1) Liew J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009

2) Centres for Disease Control and Prevention report 2008

3) Avery NJ, King RM, Knight S, Hourihane J (2003). Assessment of quality of life in children with peanut allergy. Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. Volume 14 Issue 5 Page 378. October 2003.

4) Kotz D, Simpson CR, Sheikh A. Incidence, prevalence, and trends of general practitioner-recorded diagnosis of peanut allergy in England, 2001 to 2005. The journal of allergy and clinical immunology, January 14 2011 (published online)

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Could peanuts be the cure to peanut allergies?

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Allergies have rushed up the public health agenda with frightening speed in recent years – and with good cause. Now a new study has given us one of the first glimmers of hope in terms of preventing life-threatening allergy in the first place. The results are potentially hugely exciting – but if you’re concerned about food allergies for your children, it doesn’t change anything today. What is does is to open up a whole new avenue of possibilities for the children of the future.

The study enrolled babies at high risk of developing food allergy, of which peanut is the most common. These children had already developed eczema, which is linked to a much higher incidence of egg and peanut allergy than the general population. They were all tested with skin prick testing to see if they already showed any evidence of allergic reaction to peanuts, and only those who didn’t show a severe reaction were included. Children at high risk were then teased out further with a very small (2-4 g) dose of peanut protein. Half the children at low risk were given at least 6 g of peanut protein (not whole peanuts, which can cause choking in children under five) every week until the age of five, with follow-up initially weekly and at least once a month throughout the study.

At the end of the study, all the children were reassessed to see how many were allergic to peanuts. Importantly, the doctors doing the tests didn’t know if the children were in the peanut or no-peanut group, so their evaluation of the results couldn’t be biased by this. Among children not exposed to peanuts, 13.7% had developed a peanut allergy, compared to just 1.9% of those who had been given peanuts weekly – a reduction of over 80%. Allergy specialists are hopeful that this might open to door to looking at a similar strategy for other foods that commonly cause allergies.

This was a brave study, but a very important one. Deliberately exposing very small babies – from as young as four months old – to something that could kill them in minutes, might be seen foolhardy in the extreme. But the stakes were high. The number of people affected by the life-threatening version of allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, more than tripled in just five years. (1,2) Peanut allergy is the single most common fatal food allergy and between one and three in 100 children are affected – a doubling in western countries in the last decade. Unlike some other allergies, such as egg allergy, most people will continue to need to avoid even the tiniest exposure to peanuts for the rest of their lives.

They, and everyone around them, will also need to be taught how to spot the signs of anaphylaxis – an itchy pale pink rash; sudden hoarseness, wheezing and shortness of breath; swelling of the tongue, throat and lips; tummy pain, nausea and vomiting; palpitations and collapse. They need to know how to administer life-saving treatment with adrenaline by injection as soon as symptoms appear, and how to carry out CPR, or cardio-pulmonary resuscitation in severe cases.

Last year, another study where some children already affected by peanut allergy became tolerant of peanuts using carefully controlled exposure showed that we can sometimes beat allergy. But everyone knows that prevention is better than cure, which is what makes this new research perhaps more important still. But a couple of serious words of caution; this is the first study of its kind, and until more work is done the recommendations for people with food allergies will remain the same. And no matter how tempted you might be to help your baby avoid peanut allergy in the future, do NOT try this at home.

References:

1) Liew J Allergy Clin Immunol 2009

2) Centres for Disease Control and Prevention report 2008

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Vegan Peanut Butter Bonbons

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My grandmother would make these bonbons around the holidays, and you could never stop eating them! These are quick, easy, bite-sized and something you can just keep in your fridge for a quick dose of sugar.

This recipe requires a small scoop—I used a melon baller, like a mini-ice cream scoop—and a double boiler.  If you’re like me, you don’t have a double boiler.  In which case you can improvise by putting a small pot inside of a bigger pot with water, on medium heat.  This will allow you to melt the chocolate without burning it.

Yields 25 balls

Peanut Butter Bonbons

20 minPrep Time

50 minTotal Time

plus - Vegan Peanut Butter Bonbons Save Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup puffed rice/rice krispies
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy (semi-sweet) chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Combine the peanut butter, sugar and rice krispies in a bowl.
  2. Using a small scoop — I used a melon baller — scoop the mixture into small balls and put on a cookie tray lined with wax or parchment paper. Put the tray in the freezer until the balls harden, about 15 minutes.
  3. Using a double boiler, or the “two-pot” method, melt the chocolate chips until smooth. You may need to add a little splash of water to help smooth it out.
  4. Dip the frozen peanut butter bonbons into the melted chocolate and put back onto the wax paper and return to the freezer. Allow to freeze, about another 15 minutes. Put in tupperware or a bag and leave in the fridge.

 

 

Peanut Butter’s Revenge

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Gregg McBride - Peanut Butter's Revenge

Source: Gregg McBride

Faithful readers of my Psychology Today posts know that I have a love/hate relationship with peanut butter. “Love” because I adore it almost as much as I love my dog. Almost. “Hate” because I find it to be a harsh temptress that often begs me to eat it straight out of the jar—as if it were a big vat of pudding (single serving size!).

There have been times in my past when I’ve had to temporarily break up with peanut butter and even get a restraining order (of sorts) to keep it out of my kitchen. These were times when I just knew that it would prove too tempting should I open a cabinet and see it’s marvelous, jar-shaped figure looking back at me, beckoning me to indulge.

Because I have sometimes banished peanut butter, there are times it has attacked back as a way of getting revenge. Don’t believe me? Read on…

A couple years ago, I was preparing some wheat toast for breakfast and pulled a jar of peanut butter from the cabinet. This was after I’d lost all of my 250+ pounds of excess weight and was during one of the times that I had decided to lift the restraining order and give peanut butter another try.

“What harm would there be in that?” I innocently wondered.

Well, cut to me finishing up spreading the peanut butter on the toast, when I noticed there was still a glob of peanut butter on the knife. What was a peanut butter addict to do? I couldn’t very well put the glob back in the jar. And to wipe the glob of peanut butter onto a paper towel and throw it away would be sacrilege. And I wasn’t about to commit sacrilege.

Since it was a dull knife, I decided that the extra glob was the universe’s way of telling me it was okay to have a lick. So lick the knife I did.

I’m not going to lie to you. That lick of peanut butter off of the dull knife was pure heaven. The pleasure meters in my brain soared to new heights. And I could be wrong, but my tongue action with the knife was so full of passion that I think by the time I was finished licking the knife, we were engaged.

I’m happy to report that I just enjoyed the one lick. I then washed the knife and prepared to eat my toast. But that’s when I noticed a strange sensation in my mouth. I quickly went to the nearest mirror, opened my mouth and took a good look inside. Imagine my horror when I discovered that my tongue was bleeding. It seems I’d licked the dull knife so hard, that I’d come into contact with one of the edges and cut my tongue.

Since this was the first time anything like this had happened, I was somewhat panicked and quickly made an appointment with my dermatologist. Luckily she could see me right away. So I tucked my waiting toast into the fridge and then took off for the doctor’s office.

I probably don’t have to tell you that confessing to the dermatologist what had happened was rather embarrassing. I tried to coat the story in humor, sure that she would be dazzled by my storytelling skills. Instead, she looked at me completely perplexed and said (point blank), “You can’t lick knives.”

This is when I earnestly reminded her, “You don’t understand. There was still peanut butter on it.”

Her disapproving facial expression let me know that we’d agree to disagree. She then explained that my tongue would heal quickly (which it did, I’m happy to report), but not before once again admonishing me for licking a knife. Obviously she didn’t understand the pull and allure of peanut butter. So I didn’t try and reason with her any longer. Thus I quickly—and sheepishly—left the office.

In case you’re wondering, these days I still keep peanut butter in the house. But it remains something that I have to consciously regulate, otherwise as I’m spreading a tablespoon or two on my toast, I’ll also have a spoonful in my mouth as an “at the counter” preview mouthful. Note that it would be a spoon this time (instead of a dull knife). And If that’s not progress, I don’t know what is.

The fact remains that I really can’t be trusted with peanut butter. But knowing this is actually very helpful and keeps me sane (and at my desired healthy weight as opposed to 450+ pounds that I weighed before finally taking the excess weight off for good).

Are there any foods that you would label as an evil temptress or tempter? Do tell. The more we admit to it, the more we have the power over it. And don’t worry—I promise not to give you the same look my dermatologist gave me.