Peanut butter is one of America's favourite foods. We eat peanut butter sandwiches plain, with jelly or honey, with bananas or almost anything else. We make peanut butter into sweet and spicy sauces, spread it on apples, celery and crackers, make peanut butter cookies and spoon it right out of the jar. There may be as many types of peanut butter as there are recipes for it. Healthy peanut butter is a nutritional choice.
Organic peanut butter is made from peanuts grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertiliser. Organic peanut butter is considered the healthiest as it does not contain pesticide residues that may be found in peanut butter processed from conventionally grown peanuts. In 2006, the United States Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program reported that 27 per cent of conventional peanut butter contained residue of piperonyl butoxide, a possible carcinogen and suspected hormone disrupter, and 3.7 per cent of conventional peanut butter contained residue of DDE p,p', a known carcinogen and suspected hormone disrupter.
The healthiest peanut butter is made from just peanuts. Whole peanuts are ground into smooth or crunchy consistency and no salt, sugar or other ingredients are added. When you open the jar, you will likely see liquid on top of the solid peanut butter mass. The liquid is the natural peanut oil that has separated. Simply stir it back into the peanut butter. Some natural food stores stock whole roasted peanuts and have a grinder where you can make your own peanut butter on the spot.
Peanut butter is a good source of protein, folic acid and vitamins and minerals. One tablespoon of peanut butter has 94 calories and provides 4 gm of protein, 1 gm of fibre, 25 mg magnesium, 57 mg phosphorus, 104 mg potassium, 2 mg niacin and 12mcg folate. Unsalted peanut butter contains 3 mg of sodium per tablespoon, compared with 73 mg of sodium in salted peanut butter.
If you are allergic to peanuts, you should not eat peanut butter. Most people with peanut allergies react adversely when they eat peanuts or peanut butter, though some may experience a reaction from skin contact alone. People with severe peanut allergies should avoid any contact with peanuts, including products produced in a facility that processes peanuts. Manufacturers must disclose this information on product labels.