Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Peanut butter – A wholesome food

What is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter has been invented and reinvented many times over the course of history. As an inexpensive source of protein that is simply brimming with nutrition, today, peanut butter remains a favourite with school-going children in the US. It's quick and convenient to prepare (just spread it thick with jam on slices of quick and convenient to prepare (just spread it thick with jam on slices of soft bread) and as long as you don't suffer from nut allergies, it's a healthy, filling choice. Though it isn't popular or widespread in India, there are many reasons why this wholesome and versatile food could be good for us.

Peanut butter is packed with valuable nutrition:

Peanuts, the essential ingredient in peanut butter, are a rich source of Vitamin E. Studies have shown that peanut butter may provide more nutrients that are important and beneficial for elderly people, such as plant protein and fibre, which are essential, especially in a vegetarian diet.

Besides, peanuts and peanut butter are loaded in heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fat and have folate, niacin, thiamin, magnesium and zinc, all of which are thought to benefit health. Nutritionists have long since established that not all fats are bad for us, and not all fats are the same. After consuming peanut butter, it was found that there was a proportionate increase in heart healthy mono and unsaturated fats within the system and a proportionate decrease in the dreaded saturated fats that are responsible for clogging arteries and causing heart attacks.

Studies also established that peanut butter, though rich in these heart-healthy fats, actually aided weight loss, because of its unique property of controlling hunger and regulating the appetite.

In a study conducted by the Foods and Nutrition department at Purdue University, USA, researchers concluded that snacking on peanut butter reduced hunger pangs for as
much as two hours afterward. Participants of the study found peanut butter to be more filling than other more popular snacks and according to Rick Mattes, PhD, who conducted the study, these findings were significant, because they challenged the traditionally prevailing beliefs that all high fat foods necessarily lead to weight gain and are bad for us.

Peanut butter Protects us against many diseases

Another health benefit associated with peanut butter is its property to battle Alzheimer's disease, an illness that slowly robs you of your memory, personality and capability for coherent thought. According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, eating natural foods like peanut butter that are rich in Vitamin E reduced the risk of contracting Alzheimer's by a whopping 67%.

A peanut butter sandwich (peanut butter spread thickly over one slice of whole grain bread.can be eaten plain or with jam) can give you 25% of your daily requirement of Vitamin E.

The body is easily able to dip into these reserves, much better than if you were to get this nutrition from a pill. Researchers from the University of Florida have established that peanuts are a rich source of anti¬oxidants that can even rival fruits. According to Steve Talcott, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, peanut butter has as much antioxidant content as a bowl of strawberries.

However, one of the most significant discoveries that reinforces the role of peanut butter as a complete and wholesome health food is its ability to inhibit the grown of cancer cells. Peanut and peanut products were found to contain a substance called phytosterol beta-sitosterol (SIT). SIT may offer protection from colon, prostate and breast cancer.

Always buy fresh peanut butter

Natural peanut butter, where the ingredients can be whisked at home with a honey base and ground to make a fresh spread, is much in demand in the US.
However, this may not be practical as it takes over 500 peanuts to make 12 ounces of the butter and even then, the consistency and taste can never equal the processed peanut butter stocked in supermarkets and specialty stores.

But studies have established that natural or processed, peanut butter packs a nutritional punch like no other! Consumers should be aware however of how some brands of processed peanut butter may contain artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oils, used to keep its texture creamy and soft.

If your peanut butter doesn't separate at room temperature (with a thin layer of oil floating on top, just above the buttery layer), then you can be sure that partially hydrogenated oil has been used.
Alternatively, scan the list of ingredients before you make that purchase!

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In this blog the outline of different diseases and their treatment are written, compiling from different medical text books. They are meant for your overall knowledge about the disease and not for any self treatment. Always consult registered medical personnel for the treatment of any ailments.

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