Enter peanut butter; this versatile food will fit in with so many healthy endeavors. It's a great snack with apples, or spread on crackers and especially yummy in a peanut butter workout smoothie with added protein powder for recovery.
Did you know that peanuts are not a nut but a member of the legume family which is related to peas, lentils, chickpeas and other beans? Because of this they have many necessary and healthy nutrients like folate which is essential for the structure of our DNA and RNA at the cellular level and is important for our body tissues like bone marrow and the intestinal tract. Folate is also necessary to help the body synthesis and breakdown amino acids. Without folate or folic acid, your body's nervous system and brain function would be affected in negative ways.
Peanut butter also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant, involved in immune function and also aids the heart along with resveratrol. Other nutrients in peanut butter are the mineral zinc, used by your body for repair and the immune system, niacin, protein and manganese. According to the American Peanut Council, "the Nurses' Health Study that involved over 86,000 women, have found that frequent nut consumption is related to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease." This great little bean also contains thiamine (vitamin B1), B6, riboflavin (B2), iron and calcium.
RELATED: What You Should Eat After Your Workout - Post Workout Nutrition
Peanuts are also a contender with fruit as a source of antioxidants because they contain oleic acid, the same fat in olive oil. The research done on peanuts was found to be as loaded with antioxidants as strawberries and blackberries. They also contain more antioxidants than apples and carrots! This I'm sure will be a surprise to many people as it was to me.
Yes peanut butter does contain fat but 80 percent is good fat which can help you lower LDL cholesterol (the lousy cholesterol). Fat none-the-less is a critical nutrient needed for brain function and for moving fat soluble vitamins where your body needs them like the skin.
Peanut Butter Energy Bites Recipe
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- ⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup ground flax seeds
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir together well to combine.
- Place bowl of "dough" in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour so it can set up.
- Bring dough out of the fridge and roll into balls about 1 Tablespoon in size.
- Store in a covered container in the fridge.