Peanut butter is a product that can be part of a healthy diet depending on the preferred option. We review how you can choose the healthiest peanut butter at the grocery store.
In addition to being nutritious, peanut butter can give you an energy boost and have beneficial effects on your body. Researchers have found that eating peanuts can help prevent cognitive decline.
Peanuts are high in protein and fiber and contain mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 8 grams of protein and between 2 and 3 grams of fiber. Plus 200 milligrams of potassium and other nutrients.
Although peanut butter contains saturated fat, this does not make it unhealthy. It’s the complete package of nutrients that determines how good it can be for your body.
“One serving (about 2 tablespoons) has 3.3 grams of saturated fat and 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, or about 80% unsaturated fat. That puts it right up there with olive oil in terms of the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats,” shares Harvard Health.
Which peanut butter to choose
Before buying peanut butter, check the label. Choose peanut butter without hydrogenated oils, recommends Vasanti Malik, a professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The less healthy varieties often contain hydrogenated vegetable oils and added sugar.
Avoid “reduced fat” peanut butters. Many times, reduced-fat or “low-fat” foods they make up for the lack of flavor with sugar and additives.
Reduced-fat peanut butters often add sweeteners like corn syrup, sugar, plus soy concentrate to make up for the protein and hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Peanut butter with only two ingredients
The healthiest types of peanut butter are the most natural. Ideally, peanut butter should only have ground peanuts. No added sugars or additives.
A healthy peanut butter might include a bit of salt and nothing else. “I suggest my clients look for brands that have nothing but peanuts and salt, plain and simple,” nutritionist Keri Gans tells Health.
Harvard notes that unsalted peanut butter, with 5 milligrams of sodium, has an excellent potassium-sodium ratio. She also notes, though, that salted peanut butter still has about twice the potassium as sodium, so it’s still a healthy option.
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