Is Peanut Butter Healthy?
Peanut butter is one of world’s most used spreads for sandwiches, cakes and biscuits. It’s simple to make as it has only one ingredient – peanuts. These are either raw or roasted and just put into a food processor until they turn into a paste. Peanut butter can be great if you choose a good brand or make it yourself, AND use it in moderation.
Peanuts are a legume, which is why people who find it hard to digest foods such a soybeans and lentils, have difficulty digesting peanuts. Commercially grown peanuts are usually full of pesticides. The thin outer shell of the peanut doesn’t stop these pesticides from getting through to the nuts.
Peanuts, like all legumes, grow underground. This makes them very susceptible to mould, fungi and bacteria. In the States, the USDA monitors peanut farms to ensure that the nuts aren’t contaminated with aflatoxin. This poisonous carcinogen can have serious health effects if consumed over a long period of time.
Commercially produced peanut butter often has sugar, vegetable oil and trans fats added, which makes it an unhealthy food. Check the labels before you buy. Most good peanut butters contain only peanut butter, with perhaps a little Himalayan salt added. However, you still don’t know where the company sourced their peanuts from and how long they were stored before being made into peanut butter.
Beware of ‘reduced fat’ peanut butter. The healthy fats which are removed during this process are usually replaced with carbohydrate fillers which are high in sugar.
Peanuts are full of good fats, high in protein, low in carbs and a good source of fibre. This combination suggests that peanut butter is great for your health. And, it is, if you can source fresh, organic peanuts or buy a commercial brand which is known to contain fresh, pesticide free peanuts and has no added sugar or oil.