By Miles Keeler
Peanut butter is made from peanuts which are not truly nuts like walnuts or cashews. Peanuts are part of the legume family that contain chickpeas, fava beans and lentils. Peanut butter really fills you up when you eat it and it helps to suppress your appetite. While they are high in fat, peanuts are mostly made up of unsaturated fats that do not raise cholesterol levels.
In fact, the December 1999 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed the peanuts in peanut butter lowered blood cholesterol levels much like olive oil does. Most peanut butters, even the store bought varieties contain only trace amounts of trans fats, if any. In a study completed by researchers at Purdue University, they found serum triglyceride levels reduced by up to twenty four percent when peanuts were added to the diets of healthy men and women for over 30 weeks. The reduction of the triglyceride levels meant a possible reduction in heart related diseases by up to six to eight percent.
Natural or organic butters retain the heart healthy benefits of peanuts and contains less salt and sugar than store bought brands. Some store bought varieties of peanut butter may indeed contain trans fats because of the partially hydrogenated vegetable oil to help with separation, but the trans fats are in such low levels the FDA grants them a zero rating. The FDA also allows peanuts to be advertised as providing health benefits. Besides protein and unsaturated fats, peanuts contain folate, fiber, copper, magnesium and arginine.