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Health Benefits of Peanut Butter for the Elderly
Author: Dawn Flemming
April 4th, 2019
Categories : Nutrition

Peanut butter has a bat reputation as a junk food, but if you get the right kind your body may benefit from it tremendously.

By Dawn Flemming

Peanut butter has gotten a bad rap because it is high in calories. There are other reasons why. Many commercial peanut butters are high in sugar, sodium and processed vegetable oils which turn an otherwise healthy food into something unhealthy.

But if you’re able to get your hands on the healthy brands of peanut butter, such as the organic forms sold at Trader Joe’s, then you can benefit from it quite a bit if you consume it moderately. The beneficial effects of healthy peanut butter are especially relevant to the elderly.

Here are three benefits that seniors can take from peanut butter:

Weight Loss

A 2018 study showed that people who ate nuts over a period of 5 years were much less likely to be obese and had reduced weight gain.

What is popular nowadays is that people are consuming peanut butter in its powdered form.

But remember that the powdered form of peanut butter, although much lower in calories, has had its fat and oil pressed out of it which are critical components of satiety. It is the satiety factor of peanut butter that led people to reduced weight gain.

Heart Health

Peanuts butter has the right mix of key nutrients that are important for heart health. According to Medical News Today, the following are the health benefits of peanut butter for the heart:

Peanut butter contains many nutrients that can improve heart health, including:

  • monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs)
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
  • niacin
  • magnesium
  • vitamin E

The proportion of unsaturated fats (PUFAs and MUFAs) to saturated fats in the diet plays a particularly important role in heart health. Peanut butter has a similar ratio to olive oil — which is also known as a heart-healthy option.

A high intake of nuts may have links to a reduced risk of mortality from heart disease or other causes. The researchers recommend peanuts in particular as a cost-effective way to improve heart health for some people.

Research also suggests that including 46 g per day of peanuts or peanut butter into an American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet plan for 6 months could benefit the heart, improve blood lipid profiles, and control weight for people with diabetes.

As noted in the introduction of this article, peanut butter must be consumed in moderation as it is high in calories. You also need to make sure to get unsalted peanut butter as it may adversely affect your heart.

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Breast Disease

The consumption of peanut butter has been associated with a decreased risk of developing breast cancer as it overall reduces the rates of benign breast diseases which can be pre-markers for breast cancer. According to this study, it seems that the critical factor involved is the  fat from peanuts. As such, simply consuming powdered peanut butter (whose fat and oil has been pressed out) may not be as beneficial as the real thing.

Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.

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