Health Topics

Healthy Living

February 2012
Go (Pea)Nuts With The Spread
Priyanka Singh
As the name suggests, peanut butter comes from dry and roasted peanuts, grounded to make a very fine paste. It is known for its bittersweet taste. Apart from being used in sandwiches, it is now used in a wide range of recipes like pastas and salads.

Peanut butter contains important nutritional benefits, especially for vegetarians, as it is a rich source of protein. Proteins are present in high amounts (about 24 per cent in weight).
  • Majority of the fat present in peanut butter is monounsaturated fats, which when consumed in moderation can help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels (LDL).
  • Peanut butter is also high in polyunsaturated fats, which have been shown to help raise ‘good’ cholesterol levels (HDL).
  • Peanut butter contains dietary fibre (though not in large amounts), which help in reducing the cholesterol levels, the risk of atherosclerosis and colorectal cancer.
  • It also contains a variety of micronutrients such as Vitamin E, Vitamin B3 (also known as Niacin),Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Copper and Calcium. This is significant because together these micronutrients work to aid in the recovery of DNA cells and regulate the secretion of sexual hormones.
  • As per the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Niacin present in peanut butter, when eaten regularly, provides significant protection against Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Peanut butter also contains higher amounts of antioxidants than apples and carrots.
  • When made along with the skin, peanut butter is the richest source of Resveratrol This is a natural antimicrobial agent produced by the peanut plant to ward off potential pathogens: bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Go Slow!
Since Peanut is an oilseed, the majority of its calories come from its oil content. 100 g of peanut butter gives 21.6 g of carbohydrate (86 calories), 49.9 g of fats (449 calories)and 24.1 g of proteins (96 calories). So, a total of 631 calories come from 100 g of peanut butter. And this is the reason why obese people should go slow on peanut butter

(Note: Resveratrol is so effective that scientists believe it is the force behind the French Paradox - Why the French have a lower risk of developing heart disease despite consuming a high fat diet.)

Have peanuts or peanut butter in moderation to reap its maximum benefits!

  Priyanka Singh is Lifestyle Counselor, Apollo Life, New Delhi.