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Food in focus: Peanut butter

From a family toast topper to health food darling. Peanut butter is back in vogue with celebrities and health-conscious Instagrammers smothering it on apple slices and dolloping it in smoothies and bowls. But is it actually good for you?

Good news… it is!  We already know how beneficial a handful of nuts is in our diets, and peanut butter is no exception.

Even though technically it’s a legume, peanuts are packed with nutrients, including healthy fats,  fibre (a great combination for weight management) and many minerals. In fact, numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diet are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts.

Peanuts also contain protein. If you’re spreading your peanut butter on a piece of whole grain bread, it makes the protein ‘complete’, so you’ll reap the benefits of all 9 essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein).

Peanuts also have a higher antioxidant capacity than well-known antioxidant powerhouses like green tea.

But how much should we be consuming daily? The NZ Heart Foundation recommends adults eat approximately 3-4 handfuls of nuts a week (up to 15g nuts per day) as part of a heart-healthy diet.

But, are all peanut butters created equal? When choosing a peanut butter product for your family, choose those that have minimal ingredients, no added sugar or flavours and a low sodium content.

Remember you can also cook with peanut butter – check out these healthy and delicious peanut butter recipes.