Americans eat about 4 pounds of peanut butter per person per year.But can something so rich and indulgent be good for you? Yes!” We all grew up with it,and we loved it,and guess what- it really is good for you,” says Joan Salge Blake,Ed.D., R.D., clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University.Peanut butter is a good source of protein,and it offers a bonus that is rare for protein foods:fiber,about 2 grams per 2-tablespoon serving.This nutrient can help you feel fuller longer,helps keep your digestive system in good working order,and may lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health.
Peanut butter also packs additional heart-health benefits,thanks to the monounsaturated fat it contains,
Monounsaturated fat can help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol.That’s one reason you might want to stay away from low-fat peanut butter-you’re cutting back on the very nutrient that makes peanut butter so good for you.These products also often have added sugars and can pack as many calories as regular peanut butter.
Peanut butter also a decent source of magnesium,with 14 percent of your daily need in 2 tablespoons.Research shows that people who have higher intakes of magnesium have a significantly lower risk for diabetes.Increasing magnesium may also help reduce stroke risk and build bone density in older women.
Remember that the benefits of peanut butter come from the nuts themselves.Ingredients such as sugars and hydrogenated or palm oil to keep the product from separating displace some of the nutrients from the peanuts.Nuts-only products are best-but it’s okay if you only like the brand you grew up with. “Take comfort in knowing that ingredients like salt,sugars,and oils are used in very small amounts.