10 Best Benefits of Peanut Butter

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

The health benefits of peanut butter may include a reduced risk of diabetes and heart diseases. It can also help in decreasing hypertension and the risk of contracting viral and fungal infections.

What is Peanut Butter?

Peanut butter is a paste made from dry, roasted peanuts. This paste is generally used as a spread on toast or sandwiches. Peanuts, a type of ground nuts, belong to the family of Fabaceae [1] and species of Arachis hypogaea. The plant itself is small in which the branch of the flower touches the ground and grows underneath. It is thought to have originated in the American continent and through Spanish travelers, it was spread all over the world. Unlike costly nuts such as cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, almonds, and walnuts, peanuts are low-cost nuts that offer similar benefits.

A transparent bowl filled with peanut butter surrounded by raw dried peanuts on a wooden table

Peanut butter is a good source of protein. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Peanut Butter Nutrition

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, peanut butter can be healthy food that is full of nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, monounsaturated fatty acids, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin A, sodium, magnesium, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, copper, iron, and zinc. Peanuts may contain no saturated fats and can be consumed regularly. They only contain unsaturated fats. This is good news for people who fear gaining weight by consuming peanuts. Peanuts actually help you to lose weight! [2]

Nutrition Facts

Peanut butter, smooth style, without salt
Serving Size :
Water [g]1.23
Energy 598
Energy [kJ]2501
Protein [g]22.21
Total lipid (fat) [g]51.36
Ash [g]2.89
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]22.31
Fiber, total dietary [g]5
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]10.49
Sucrose [g]10.25
Glucose (dextrose) [g]0.13
Fructose [g]0.12
Starch [g]3.56
Calcium, Ca [mg]49
Iron, Fe [mg]1.74
Magnesium, Mg [mg]168
Phosphorus, P [mg]335
Potassium, K [mg]558
Sodium, Na [mg]17
Zinc, Zn [mg]2.51
Copper, Cu [mg]0.42
Manganese, Mn [mg]1.67
Selenium, Se [µg]4.1
Thiamin [mg]0.15
Riboflavin [mg]0.19
Niacin [mg]13.11
Pantothenic acid [mg]1.14
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.44
Folate, total [µg]87
Folate, food [µg]87
Folate, DFE [µg]87
Choline, total [mg]63
Betaine [mg]0.8
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]9.1
Tocopherol, beta [mg]0.52
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]7.62
Tocopherol, delta [mg]0.74
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]10.33
14:0 [g]0.02
15:0 [g]0.01
16:0 [g]4.74
17:0 [g]0.05
18:0 [g]2.18
20:0 [g]0.72
22:0 [g]1.7
24:0 [g]0.73
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]25.94
16:1 [g]0.03
16:1 c [g]0.03
17:1 [g]0.03
18:1 [g]24.81
18:1 c [g]24.77
20:1 [g]0.58
22:1 [g]0.05
22:1 c [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]12.54
18:2 [g]12.26
18:2 n-6 c,c [g]12.22
18:2 CLAs [g]0.01
18:3 [g]0.03
18:3 n-3 c,c,c (ALA) [g]0.03
18:3 n-6 c,c,c [g]0
20:2 n-6 c,c [g]0.01
20:3 [g]0.01
20:3 n-3 [g]0.01
20:4 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.08
Fatty acids, total trans-monoenoic [g]0.05
18:1 t [g]0.04
22:1 t [g]0
18:2 t not further defined [g]0.03
Fatty acids, total trans-polyenoic [g]0.03
Tryptophan [g]0.23
Threonine [g]0.53
Isoleucine [g]0.62
Leucine [g]1.55
Lysine [g]0.68
Methionine [g]0.27
Cystine [g]0.23
Phenylalanine [g]1.2
Tyrosine [g]0.83
Valine [g]0.78
Arginine [g]2.77
Histidine [g]0.56
Alanine [g]0.92
Aspartic acid [g]3.05
Glutamic acid [g]5.09
Glycine [g]1.44
Proline [g]1.41
Serine [g]1.48
Sources include : USDA [3]

Health Benefits of Peanut Butter

Apart from its great taste, peanut butter may have vital nutrients that are essential for the body. The health benefits of this tasty butter include the following:

Can be a Rich Source of Protein

Peanut butter (100 grams) may contain a high amount of protein (25 – 30 grams). Proteins that we eat are broken down into amino acids, which are then utilized in every cell for repairing and building the body. [4]

May Lower Cholesterol Levels

A 2016 research paper published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology has revealed that peanuts can be an excellent source of compounds like resveratrol, phenolic acids, flavonoids, and phytosterols that completely stop the absorption of cholesterol from the diet. Probably, the fat content in peanut butter is almost equal to that of the fats found in olive oil. It contains both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. As these fats are not saturated, they are good to consume without putting the heart at any risk. The unsaturated fats in peanut butter can help to lower bad cholesterol levels (low-density lipoprotein) and may promote the circulation of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein). [5]

May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Consuming peanut butter can also be beneficial in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Peanuts contain not only protein but also unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats may have been noted to improve insulin sensitivity. Research into peanut butter consumption and diabetes showed that a higher intake of peanut butter and other nuts can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. [6]

Can be a Good Source of Vitamins

Peanut butter contains many vitamins that are can be good for our body to function properly. Vitamin A found in it can be helpful for eyesight, while vitamin C may help to boost the immune system and heals simple ulcers faster. On the other hand, vitamin E found in peanut butter can be a very important micronutrient needed by our body to dissolve complex fatty acid structures and fat blockages in the arteries. [7]

Potentially Antioxidant Properties

Peanut butter may contain antioxidant properties due to the presence of folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamin. One of the antioxidants found in it is resveratrol. Resveratrol is a polyphenolic antioxidant that may help in controlling chronic diseases. [8] [9]

May Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

Peanut butter is a good source of magnesium (170mg/100 grams). This makes up 42% of the daily recommended value of magnesium. Magnesium has an important role to play in muscle, bone, and immunity development in the body. Magnesium can also help in regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Its presence in our body may help in probably more than 300 biochemical reactions that are extremely important for our survival. [10]

Possibly High in Potassium

Peanut butter contains potassium (70 mg/100g) that may act as an electrolyte and is a fluid-balancing element in the body. In comparison to sodium, which directly puts pressure on the cardiovascular system in the form of hypertension, potassium does not put any pressure either on the blood or on the cardiovascular system. In effect, potassium is a heart-friendly element that is found in possibly high quantities in peanut butter. [11]

May Reduce Risk of Gallstones

Gallstones, a major health risk in developed countries, is caused by being overweight, crash diets, certain types of cholesterol drugs, and birth control pills. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on peanuts and nut consumption relating to the risk of gallstones was undertaken and the results of the study showed that over a period of 2 decades, women who consumed peanut butter and nuts regularly may have reduced their risk of developing gallstones. [12]

Possibly Rich in Dietary Fiber

Peanuts and peanut butter are both high in dietary fiber. One cup or approximately 125 g of peanuts and peanut butter has 12 g and 20 g of dietary fiber, respectively. Dietary fiber is one of the most important parts of our diet since a lack of dietary fiber can lead to several health problems and diseases such as constipation, diabetes, cholesterol, and various heart diseases.

Word of Caution: Peanut allergies are one of the major risks associated with peanut butter, according to a survey conducted in the United States. [13]

The symptoms of the allergy include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, anaphylaxis, asthma, and angioedema. If untreated, the anaphylactic shock can be fatal. According to the study, about 3 million Americans are presently affected by peanut and tree nut allergy.

Interesting Facts about Peanuts and Peanut Butter

  • Peanut butter comes in two popular varieties. One is a creamy variety and the other is crunchy.
  • The first commercial preparation of peanut butter was in the United States in 1884.
  • According to an estimate by Kansas State University, the amount of peanut butter consumed by the United States alone in one year is enough to spread across the floor of Grand Canyon.
  • There are 10 peanut holidays observed in the United States.
  • Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter, who were both elected Presidents of the United States, were initially peanut farmers.
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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