The next time you’re craving a late-night snack, swap your sugary treat for a spoonful of peanut butter. Why? Well, beyond being delicious and a great source of vitamins and minerals, peanut butter is also loaded with an essential amino acid that can help you fall asleep. Furthermore, peanut butter is a dieter’s best friend. Here are a few more reasons why you need a spoonful tonight.
Peanut butter is loaded with nutrients
Did you know peanut butter is a great source of vitamin B3, B6, E, folate, magnesium, and copper? It also contains a good amount of B5, iron, zinc, potassium, and selenium, plus resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals that cause heart disease and cancer. A 100-gram serving of peanut butter provides the following vitamins and minerals for your recommended daily allowance (RDA):
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 67 percent of the RDA
- Vitamin B6: 27 percent of the RDA
- Vitamin E: 45 percent of the RDA
- Folate: 18 percent of the RDA
- Magnesium: 39 percent of the RDA
- Copper: 24 percent of the RDA
- Manganese: 73 percent of the RDA
Peanut butter helps you sleep better
Beyond its nutrient value, there’s a good reason to snack on a spoonful of peanut butter before bed — tryptophan. Tryptophan, according to research, is an essential amino acid. After eating, it metabolically transforms first into serotonin, a chemical that is involved in the body’s ability to sleep and control temperature and mood. Second, tryptophan transforms into melatonin, which also aids sleep and the circadian rhythm (our internal clock). It also helps with mood, depression, anxiety, and the ability to deal with stress. But to get the best sleep-induced benefits, spread it on a whole-wheat bagel. So, what else can peanut butter do for you?
Peanut butter helps you lose weight
Research suggests that eating nuts daily leads to weight loss and lowers your risk of becoming obese. In fact, a sizeable, five-year study that included people from ten European countries also found that eating nuts leads to weight loss. Researchers agree that people who frequently add nuts — including peanuts — to their diet, gained less weight than their counterparts and lowered their risk of obesity over five years. Also, a smaller study found that those who eat nuts regularly may burn more energy when inactive. This means more calories are being burned, leading to weight loss during times of rest. However, if you’re looking to eat peanuts for weight loss, research suggests that it’s better to snack during the day rather than before bed.
Peanut butter may lower your risk of prostate cancer
A diet high in vitamin E is linked to a lower risk of prostate cancer, according to research. Foods, such as olive oil, leafy greens, almonds — and you guessed it, peanuts — are rich in vitamin E. One hundred grams of peanut butter offers 45 percent of your RDA.
Great for low carb diets
Ok, so we’re not talking about refined sugar- and trans-fat-loaded peanut butter. Pure peanut butter contains only 20 percent carbs, which makes it perfect for a low-carb diet. Additionally, it doesn’t raise blood sugar, according to research, so it’s perfect for those suffering from diabetes. Again, that’s pure and natural peanut butter — not sugar-loaded versions. One study found that women who ate peanut butter five times per week or more had a 21 percent lowered risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
How to make your own homemade all-natural peanut butter
Listen, you don’t have to settle for commercially processed peanut butter that’s full of sugar, vegetable oils, and trans fats. Instead, just whip up a batch of your own all-natural peanut butter. It’s so good you can even jar it and “gift” it to your friends.
- 2 cups shelled and skinned organic peanuts
- 2 tbsp raw, organic honey
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1-2 tbsp organic coconut oil
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Spread peanuts on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- Roast peanuts for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and glossy.
- Transfer the roasted peanuts while still warm into a blender or food processor. Pulse just until chopped. If you choose to make chunky peanut butter, remove 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts and set aside.
- Continue to process, scraping down the sides occasionally until the mixture looks soft and glossy.
- Add salt, oil, and honey and process until the mixture becomes completely smooth. Add additional chopped nuts and pulse to mix.
- Scrape peanut butter into a glass jar with a lid. Store in the refrigerator and turn it upside down so the oils and solids will re-mix.
- Peanut butter may be stored for up to three months in the refrigerator.
Forget sleeping pills, the next time you’re struggling to fall asleep, eat a spoonful of peanut butter.
-The UpWellness Team