Peanut butter has a strong foothold in the American diet.  Look into most American’s refrigerator or pantry and you will find a container of peanut butter. Pair it with jelly and white bread and you will have created one of the most popular sandwiches in America – the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  And it is not just found in kid’s lunch boxes any more, many people feed it to their dog by stuffing it a Kong or using it to mask a pill! 

 Despite peanut butter’s popularity and long history, many people have severe allergic reactions to peanuts.  Their frequency in popular areas such as airplanes or schools typically gains attention in the media.  Peanut allergies are so severe for some that death can be imminent, which raises the debate of whether they should be banned from such popular areas.  If you read the back of a food label, you will most likely find out whether or not what you are eating came from a plant that processes peanuts. 

 Peanut butter is not difficult to make.  To make homemade peanut butter, you simply take roasted peanuts and grind thoroughly with a food processor or grinder.  Add a couple tablespoons of oil (preferably peanut oil) and continue grinding. Season with salt and start spreading! If you have bought peanuts that have not been roasted you can simply roast them on a baking sheet prior to grinding.  Making homemade peanut butter is easy, cost effective, and healthier than the store bought varieties. 

 Although it is called peanut butter, peanuts are in fact not apart of the nut family.  Rather, they are apart of the legume family.  Legumes are different from nuts. They are a dried fruit that flower on two sides (also called a pod). Other members of the legume family include beans, lentils, and peas.  Despite peanuts not being apart of the nut family, they do still offer many health benefits. 

Peanut Butter

Below are the top health benefits for peanuts:  [1076][1077]

  1. Monounsaturated Fats – Peanuts are high in monounsaturated fats.  You may recognize this good fat as a heart healthy fat.  It can increase your good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein while decreasing your bad cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein).  Unlike the unhealthy Western diet, foods that are high in monounsaturated fats are typically found in the healthy Mediterranean diet.  Other foods that contain a high quantity of monounsaturated fats are olive oil, red meat, and avocados. 
  2. Niacin – Another great health benefit is niacin.  Niacin helps increase brain function, reduce your bad (LDL) cholesterol, and blood flow (SOURCE).
  3. Coenzyme Q10  - Obtaining adequate amounts of coenzyme Q10 has many great health benefits.  Coenzyme is naturally produced in the human body but can deteriorate with disease and age.  Some of the health benefits associated are healthy hearts, functioning immune systems, decreased rates of cancer, and possibly even Parkinson’s Disease.   
  4. Protein - Peanuts also have a great health benefit of containing a high amount of protein.  Protein is essential to the human body and can help elevate energy levels.