A nutritious, well-balanced diet is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Many foods provide a host of vitamins and nutrients, and that includes some that aren't traditionally associated with eating right. That includes peanut butter, an item many people have in their pantries but few might characterize as healthy.
Though peanut butter may pack a more nutritional punch than people realize, it's important that shoppers check labels when choosing a jar to take home from the grocery store. Added sugars, vegetable oil and trans fats can reduce the nutritional value of peanut butter. Shoppers who want to eat more peanut butter for its nutritional value should look for products that do not contain any additives or trans fats. An analysis of various peanut butter brands conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture found that the amounts of partially hydrogenated oils in 13 brands was so small that levels of trans fats were undetectable. So consumers should be able to find healthy peanut butter at their local grocery stores.
So what's so healthy about peanut butter? According to WebMD, peanut butter is a good source of:
• Vitamin E
• Niacin (B3)
• Vitamin B6
The fats in peanut butter also may promote a healthy body. Oleic acid is one such fat and it has been linked to a host of cardiovascular benefits. When substituted for other fats, oleic acid has been shown to help people maintain a healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and a healthy blood pressure are some ways for individuals to reduce their risk for heart disease.