Peanut butter- one of the world’s most popular spreads and loved by many. The melt in mouth taste and the crunchiness makes it even more wonderful and a preferred food choice for many. A lot of people are allergic to peanuts and do not have an option but to avoid them. But how good is it for your heart? Is it safe? Let’s find out…

What exactly is Peanut butter made up of-
Peanuts are very rich in fat; this property is utilized in the production of the peanut spread which is commonly known as “Peanut Butter”. It is prepared by grounding the roasted peanuts into a paste. However, most of the commercially produced peanut butter spreads contain various added ingredients, such as sugar, vegetable oils, and even trans-fat.

Is it good for heart health-
Peanut Butter is NOT good for heart health. It contains approximately 50 g fat per 100 grams which makes it a bad choice for heart patients especially someone suffering from atherosclerosis. The excess fat (triglycerides, trans-fat) present in it can accelerate the process of heart blockage. Alongside high-fat content, most of the commercially available peanut butter spreads contain added sugar which also contributes to triglyceride levels.

Other potential health hazards of peanut butter-
Peanut butter can be a potential source of aflatoxins which can damage the liver and are highly carcinogenic. Peanuts grow underground, where they tend to colonize by a ubiquitous mold called Aspergillus niger. These molds are a source of aflatoxins. Researches, also suggest that the processing of peanuts reduces the levels of aflatoxins by 89%. However; it is better to either restrict the overall intake or have it in moderation.
Peanut butter is high in fat and calories and can lead to weight gain.
Peanut butter contains huge amounts of added sugar: Ideally peanut butter is not supposed to have anything more than roasted peanuts and a little salt for flavor. However, the marketed preparations are often loaded with sugars to enhance the taste and flavor.

Who can have peanut butter-
Malnourished or severely underweight individuals- Peanut butter is very rich in calories and a good source of dense nutrients required by underweight individuals to fulfill the extra energy requirements of the body.
There is a common trend among gym-goers to consume peanut spread believing that it is a very rich source of protein. Undoubtedly, peanuts are good sources of protein but the protein isn’t complete. Peanuts lack an essential amino acid methionine. So, if you’re someone relying on peanut butter for all your protein requirements do make sure to have it in moderation and consider including other food groups as well to attain optimum nutrition.

Bottom Line:
Heart Patients should avoid peanuts and peanut butter due to their high-fat content. Other individuals can have peanut butter in moderate quantities. Rather than buying packed, processed peanut butter, choose real peanut butter prepared fresh at home. It can be prepared at home easily by using peanuts and maybe a bit of salt.

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