Is Peanut Butter Healthy?

Over the years I've noticed that some people avoid eating peanut butter because they think it's unhealthy. Yes, peanut butter has a good deal of fat and calories, and yes, it's absolutely amazing enrobed in chocolate or swirled into ice cream, but does that mean it's unhealthy?

Without taking any actual facts or research into account, I've always thought peanut butter was healthy. This is mostly because I feel good when I eat peanut butter. I don't mean I feel good the way you would describe the feeling you get from a slice of chocolate cake or an excellent steak. I mean that when I eat peanut butter I feel satisfied and well-fueled without feeling sick or weighed down. And while I know this isn't very scientific, I've always thought that if a food feels good in your belly, it's probably good for you.

It turns out that my thoughts on peanut butter aren't totally off base. According to sports nutritionist Nancy Clark, M.S., R.D., who Epi editor Megan Steintrager interviewed for a story on energy foods, peanut butter is one of the "best diet foods around." Nuts and nut butters, the article explains, provide "fuel and sustained energy," and because they combine protein and carbs, they make for great recovery foods, "while their healthy, heart-protecting fats keep you going over the long haul." This explains why my favorite workday breakfast, peanut butter and jelly on whole wheat bread, keeps me going until lunchtime.

Adding to my argument for peanut butter as health food, I recently read on RealAge.com that peanut butter can help "lower both your bad cholesterol and your risk of heart disease." The article points to a long-term study, in which women with type 2 diabetes had "almost 45 percent lower risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack when they gave in and ate at least five servings of peanut butter and mixed nuts each week." The nuts also seemed to lower the women's total and LDL cholesterol levels. While the study involved women with type 2 diabetes, according to RealAge, "research suggests that nuts may lower heart disease risk for everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, or health status." Yay! Another reason to eat peanut butter.

Do you consider peanut butter healthy?

Even if you're not convinced of peanut butter's nutritional value, here are ten great ways to indulge:

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Sauce
Peanutty Energy Bars
Peanut Butter Chocolate Ripple Ice Cream
Deluxe Peanut Butter Cups
Spicy Peanut Sauce
Peanut Butter Honey Tart with Ganache Glaze
Peanut Butter Berry-Wich
Peanut Sesame Noodles

Browse even more peanut butter recipes here

by Lauren Salkeld

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