Americans eat an average four pounds of peanut butter per year, a figure heavily influenced by the huge amounts consumed by my kids and me. Our love of the brown gooey stuff is a healthy fixation. Peanut butter (crunchy or smooth) is a convenient source of both protein and fiber. That fiber, not usually found in protein-rich foods, can make you feel full longer, help with digestion and may lower cholesterol. PB also contains a fair amount of magnesium, which may help fight diabetes and stroke while boosting bone density in older women.
But peanut butter is full of fat, you might say. True, but it’s monounsaturated fat, the “good” kind that can help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. For that reason, low-fat peanut butter actually offers fewer health benefits.
A word on picking your peanut butter. The nutritional awesomeness is all in the peanuts. The more ingredients in your peanut butter, the fewer benefits. So, from a health point of view, the best products are those that contain nothing but peanuts and salt. But not everyone loves that version, which tends to be less sweet and separates between uses.
Fortunately, even peanut butter with sugar and other additions packs a nice nutritional wallop. So, go ahead! Bust out the Skippy and take a trip down memory lane to those childhood days when a PBJ for lunch could make everything all better.