Are apples with peanut butter healthy?
Peanut butter tastes great and can be eaten alongside so many other foods. It goes especially well with apples; simply chop an apple up into slices, spread on the peanut butter like you would on toast, sprinkle on some optional cinnamon and you’ve got yourself a delicious & filling snack.
But just how healthy is this snack? Let’s find out.
Peanut butter is made from (you guessed it!) peanuts. The nuts are ground up until a smooth paste is formed. This type, with no other added ingredients, is known as ‘natural’ peanut butter and is the healthiest kind.
In most cases however, other ingredients such as salt, sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils and flavourings are added, and this type of peanut butter is much less healthy. The vast majority of peanut butters that are available for purchase in stores would be considered unhealthy.
This doesn’t mean that high quality healthy peanut butter is not available. You just need to search for it, and in most places, you should be able to find a place to purchase natural peanut butter. In many cases you will need to search online.
Because it is so easy to prepare, you can also make your own at home if you have a good food processor. It is recommended that you use organic Jungle or Valencia peanuts when making peanut butter as these are considered to be the healthiest type of peanut.
The health benefits of peanut butter
Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 188 calories, 16 g of fat, 6 g of carbohydrates, 1.9 g of fiber, 3 g of sugar and 8 g of protein.
Despite their name, peanuts are actually a legume and not a nut. And like most legumes, peanuts are a rich source of plant based protein. Protein not only repairs and builds muscle tissue, it also fills you up.
Peanuts also contain fiber, which lowers cholesterol levels and ensures that your digestive system runs smoothly. It is recommended that you get 25 – 40 grams of fiber per day, and peanut butter helps to increase your overall intake.
Peanut butter is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, magnesium, manganese and vitamin B3, all of which are required for a large number of important functions in the body.
A number of studies have investigated how peanut butter can be beneficial to our health:
This study found that peanut butter consumption could potentially lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in women.
This study carried out in Taiwan suggested that frequent intake of peanut based products may reduce colorectal cancer risk in women.
And this study showed that peanut butter consumption could help lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
The potential problems with peanut butter
Even though peanut butter is very nutritious, it also has its downsides.
The first is that it could contain aflatoxins. Because peanuts are grown underground, they are susceptible to mould and being attacked by a fungus known as Aspergillus, which is a source of aflatoxins. Because aflatoxins are toxic to the body, they are processed by the liver, where they pose a carcinogenic threat.
On the upside, the processing of peanuts into peanut butter reduces aflatoxins by around 89%. This means it is probably a better idea to eat high quality organic peanut butter rather than peanuts on their own.
Peanut butter also contains a large amount of omega 6, but does not have any omega 3. Your body requires a good balance of the two; over consumption of omega 6 can result in inflammation, which in turn can lead to many types of disease.
Provided that you get enough omega 3 in your diet, from foods such as oily fish, chia seeds and egg yolks, eating peanut butter should not be a problem.
Apples are probably best known for “keeping the doctor away”, and for good reason. They are highly nutritious and provide a lot of benefits to our health.
Studies have shown that apples are great for your heart, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, may be able to prevent certain types of cancer, boost your immune system, assist with weight management and could prevent breathing problems.
Apples contain compounds known as phytochemicals, which help protect us against chronic diseases. In the US, apples are the second largest source of flavonoids (a type of phytochemical). Foods that are high in antioxidants (such as apples), reduce damage caused by free redicals in our bodies.
Like peanuts, apples are a rich source of fiber. A medium sized apple will provide you with more than 4 grams. This means that one apple with two tablespoons of peanut butter will supply you with roughly a quarter of your daily fiber requirement.
Apples also contain small amounts of vitamin C, K & B6.
There are a large variety of apples that you can try, including Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious and Braeburn. Whenever you buy apples, try get organic ones if possible. If these are not available, make sure you thoroughly wash the skins before eating them.
Apples and peanut butter are a healthy & delicious snack
An apple with peanut butter spread on it is a very healthy snack that is rich in protein, fiber, good fats and lots of vitamins & minerals. The type of peanut butter that you use will make all of the difference, so ensure you buy a high quality one.
Eaten as a snack, apples with peanut butter will fill you up and keep you satisfied until your next meal. It is important to note however that peanut butter is high in calories, so if you are watching your weight you shouldn’t eat more than 2 – 3 tablespoons.
In place of peanut butter, you can have almond, cashew, pecan and hazelnut butter. In place of apples, you can have apricots, pears, carrots and peaches. This means that you can mix and match the two in lots of different ways, so that you never get bored!