Peanut butter isn't just for kids. It's a nutritious food option for adults too. Thanks to its muscle-building punch of protein and healthy fats, peanut butter may be especially beneficial to men.
Peanut Butter Health Benefits for Men
The beloved peanut isn't a nut at all but a legume. Unlike true nuts, peanuts grow underground instead of on trees. Peanut butter is a satisfying snack with several health benefits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. It kills hundreds of thousands each year. While genetic risk factors of heart disease are out of your control, most risk factors such as diet are not. Research shows eating peanuts daily reduces diastolic blood pressure, total serum cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Peanuts are high in monounsaturated fat. According to the American Heart Association, monounsaturated fats help reduce bad cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. A two tablespoon serving of peanut butter has over 7.5 grams of monounsaturated fat. Adding peanut butter in moderation to your diet may improve your cardiovascular health.
Since peanut butter is high in fat, it may seem a contradiction that it supports weight loss. But it doesn't have to be a diet taboo. Peanut butter may help you lose weight two ways:
- Two tablespoons of peanut butter has two grams of fiber and eight grams of protein. Both help you feel fuller longer.
- Peanut butter tastes good so you're more likely to feel satisfied and less likely to feel deprived and binge on unhealthy foods.
A study published in Obesity found people who regularly ate nuts gained less weight than those who did not. The Peanut Butter Diet by Holly Accord suggests men consume 2,200 calories daily, including six tablespoons of peanut butter.
Helps Build Muscle
It's common knowledge protein helps build muscle, but there's a catch. According to Men's Health, exercise breaks down muscle protein. It's important you consume enough protein during the day so exercise doesn't leave you with less than when you started.
Men's Health recommends 0.73 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. You should have a protein-rich snack two to three hours before working out and one to two hours after. You may get greater results if you spread the rest of your protein throughout the day instead of protein-loading at one meal.
There are eight grams of protein in two tablespoons of peanut butter, making it a great pre- or post-workout snack.
Feeling a bit sluggish in the bedroom? Peanut butter may help boost your libido. According to alternative health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, monounsaturated fats are critical to building testosterone. People who get less than 40 percent of energy from mostly animal fats may have lower testosterone levels.
Peanut butter is a good source of niacin. Research published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shows niacin may improve erectile dysfunction in people who also have high cholesterol.
Good Source of Folate
Folate isn't just for pregnant women. It may give sperm a boost too. A study published in Human Reproduction showed non-smoking men who ingest high levels of folate have less sperm genetic abnormalities. More study is needed, but if you plan to start a family, it's a good reason to add peanut butter to your diet.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter gives you 14 percent of your vitamin E daily allowance. According to Oregon State University, animal research examined the effects of DHA, a polyunsaturated fat, on brain health. DHA is critical to proper brain functioning, but compounds called "lyso PLs" are needed to deliver DHA to the brain. If you're deficient in vitamin E, your brain may not get enough DHA. Eating vitamin-rich foods such as peanut butter, olive oil, and avocados helps keep vitamin E levels optimal.
Other Vitamins and Minerals
Peanut butter is packed with other vitamins and minerals such as :
- Vitamin B6
Peanut butter is particularly high in manganese, a mineral needed for healthy bones and nutrient metabolism.
Peanut Butter Is Not Created Equal
When choosing peanut butter, look for natural, organic varieties or make your own. Although store-bought peanut butter is a good source of nutrition, some brands add sugar and an artery-clogging blend of hydrogenated oils. True peanut butter is made from peanuts. That's it. No other ingredients are needed.
It's easy to make your own peanut butter. Add two cups of roasted, shelled, organic peanuts to a food processor; pulse a few times and then process for a minute at a time, scraping the bowl after each minute, until smooth. If you like your peanut butter sweet, drizzle honey into the mixture during processing. Peanuts are naturally low in sodium, but you can also add a dash of sea salt to taste.
Homemade peanut butter isn't as smooth as commercial brands. If you like a creamier texture, add a tablespoon of olive or peanut oil. It adds fat, but it's healthier, monounsaturated fat.
Enjoy in Moderation
It doesn't matter if you eat it straight from the jar or slather it on whole-grain toast, peanut butter is classic comfort food. It helps protect your heart, supports a healthy weight, and may give you a 'lift' in the bedroom. Enjoyed in moderation, peanut butter has a role to play in a healthy diet. This doesn't mean you should eat it carte blanche. Healthy fat still packs on pounds if you eat too much, especially if you aren't active. Fortunately, it only takes a couple tablespoons of peanut butter a day to help reduce cravings and reap the health benefits.