Peanut Butter: American Breakfast with Healthy Fats
Peanut butter is traditional American treat. Sticky and creamy-like paste can have a light brown or coffee color. Butter is prepared from roasted peanuts. In USA, this butter is usually consumed as a breakfast food along with bread or as it is. It is often added to pastry. Peanut butter is prepared in factories using cold processing method by grinding peanuts with vegetable oil and maple syrup.
Peanuts have been discovered in South America already in 10th century B.C. Incas used to make butter from peanuts. Chinese kitchen is famous for adding peanuts to creamy sauces; African folks use peanuts instead of starch and flour to thicken dishes up. In 1890, the nutritionist John Kellogg came up with «modern» American way of using peanuts to please vegetarians that do not consume eggs and meat due to health issues or of their own free will. In the first half of 20th century, Americans started to use peanut butter as a cheap source of vegetable protein.
Organic peanut butter became increasingly popular among healthy eaters. Creamy nutty paste contains «advantegous» polyunsaturated fats such as omega-6 and omega-3, which are very important for human body. The question is: should Russian healthy eaters start consuming peanut butter as well?
A Little Bit About «Healthy» Fats
Fat can be of saturated type (butter, meat and milk), polyunsaturated type such as omega-6 and omega-3 (vegetable oils), and monounsaturated type such as omega-9 (olive oil). Human body needs fatty acids in order to get vitamins, produce hormones in required amounts as well as to ensure proper brain functioning (brain consists of at least 60 % of fat). Omega-6 and omega-3 are not produced by the human body, yet they are required to ensure its proper functioning. Polyunsaturated fats can be consumed with food. They do not fill arteries with cholesterol.
It is wrong to assume that vegetable fats are good for the human body and animal fats cause harm. Animal fats are only harmful when consumed along with animal source foods, vegetable low in fiber or contain hormones and antibiotics. Once refined, vegetable oil becomes non-healthy product. Saturated fats should be consumed in moderate amounts (10 % of daily fat intake) and in pure form. In this case, they improve digestion and do not harm cardiovascular system.
Criteria of «Healthiness» of the Fats and Oils
Heat processing time should be short enough to avoid oxidation and saponification. This is because expelled harmful substances block the liver, carcinogens give a rise to the growth of tumors.
Only separation, butter mixing and cold pressing processes should be done.
Purification and hydrogenation, that is, hardening of vegetable oil for the oil to become margarine, should be avoided. Such processes further formation of trans-fats which are harmful for the enzyme and hormonal systems.
Product should be packed in the dark glass cans.
Omega-6 and Omega-3 in Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is a source of unsaturated fats with amazing benefits which come to full use granted correct combination of omega-3 and omega-6.
Synthesis of the Hormone-Like Substances such as Eicosanoids
Eicosanoids ensure proper functioning of the immune system and weaken inflammatory processes. They relieve allergy- and asthma-related symptoms as well as improve state of autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus erythematosus. Eicosanoids are also choleretics. They improve digestion.
Eicosanoids can be found in the cellular membranes of the blood vessels, retina, spermatozoids and brain.
They provide human body with nutritional substances.
Eicosanoids are accumulated in the fatty tissues and help to burn old fats.
They regulate serotonin exchange. Depression is out of question as the serotonin ensures good mood.
Eicosanoids decrease risk of occurrence of the blood clots as they widen vessels. In such case, cells get more nutritional substances. The latter helps to prevent likelihood of occurrence of the heart diseases.
Eicosanoids lower cholesterol and help to prevent occurrence of the atherosclerosis.
They also restore tissues.
Eicosanoids help to manage appetite. Breakfast containing peanut butter will keep one full for a long time.
Peanuts contain antioxidants, which neutralize effect the free radicals have upon human body and slow ageing processes down.
Magnesium helps to lower risk of diabetes occurrence.
Minerals and zinc strengthen immune system.
Fiber helps to manage constipation and improves bowels’ activity.
Iron normalizes blood pressure.
Consumed during breakfast, peanut better helps to numb the hunger pains during dieting and it is very tasty treat as such.
Peanut butter is an excellent alternative to the animal fats and proteins for vegetarians.
Disadvantages of Peanut Butter
All foods with peanuts contain at least 30% of the omega-6. Excessive consumption of the omega-6 results in thickening of the blood and increase of its clotting ability. The latter increases risk of formation of the blood clots. Immune system can start malfunctioning.
Peanuts are often infected with fungus which produces aflatoxins with carcinogenic properties. Some people can be allergic to peanuts.
Peanuts are very high in fats and rich in calories so it is not recommended to consume it in large amounts.
Peanut butter consumption is fiber rich and, therefore, it is contraindicated for people who have some stomach diseases.
Peanut butter is a source of «healthy» unsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6. Organic peanut butter should be consumed with morning tea or breakfast as it does not contain cholesterol and is rich in vitamins. Excessive consumption of the peanut butter will disrupt the balance of the fatty acids and have negative impact upon human body.