Peanut butter is the all-American snack topping. It is also a great source of protein, unsaturated fats, and vitamin E. A peanut butter sandwich might be just the thing to help you recover after strenuous exercise. And it's a lot lighter on the pocket than a protein shake!
Who doesn’t love a gooey peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a spoonful of peanut butter on some crispy apple?! If you’re a peanut butter fan, you have every reason to be happy, especially if you’ve just spent a few hours in the gym or on the field. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, unsaturated fats, and vitamin E. This tasty spread also contains valuable minerals like zinc, magnesium, iron, and manganese.1 And the good news doesn’t end there if you play a sport or work out regularly – peanut butter can be your super ally to mend all that training-related wear and tear.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Dietetic Association, for optimum performance, about 20–30% of the total energy consumed by an athlete should come from fat.2 During aerobic training, the body draws more energy from fat rather than carbohydrates. To support this, a person working out must consume more calories than the energy expended – else, it can become counterproductive. The body starts using lean tissue for fuel, leading to a loss of endurance and strength. This could also negatively impact endocrine, immune, and musculoskeletal function. So, essentially, it’s vital that a sportsperson gets the right amount of fat in their diet.
Peanut butter is not only a source of fat but of good, mostly unsaturated fats that benefit the heart – it can lower your risk of fatal coronary heart disease and type-2 diabetes.3 A 32 g (two tablespoon) serving of peanut butter will give you 16 g of fat – that’s a bountiful 50%! Total bang for the buck for any sportsperson.4
Proteins are an important part of our diet, playing a role in repairing and building muscle.5 According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, people who are physically active, especially those into endurance and strength training, need more dietary protein than those who are not – about 0.4–1.2 g more protein per kg of body weight per day.6 Do the math and an average adult needs about 50–70 g of protein a day. The beauty of peanut butter is that just two tablespoons (32 g) can give you seven full grams of protein.7 Add this wholesome, all-natural snack to a balanced, nutritious diet plan, and reap in the benefits of the good fat and protein!
There’s more. An athlete benefits from getting about 25% of the RDA of protein within thirty minutes of exercise, when the muscles are most receptive. Protein, which is made up of amino acids, is broken down in the body during exercise and needs to be rebuilt during recovery. When we consume protein after exercise, through a post-workout snack, muscles can use this protein instead of breaking down muscle tissue and also rebuild its stock of amino acids. And it’s ideal to combine protein with carbohydrates in this snack. Carbs increase insulin levels in the body, which in turn encourages the absorption of amino acids. Milk and eggs can give you the protein but peanut butter is the whole package – fats, protein, and amino acids. Wolf down a peanut butter sandwich and get the carbs in too for a perfect post-workout snack.8
But do keep in mind that peanut butter doesn’t contain all the essential amino acids that your body needs. Getting all of one’s protein requirements from just peanut butter will deprive the body of additional amino acids and nutrients in other sources of protein like meat and dairy. In fact, a glass of milk along with your peanut butter sandwich will complement it beautifully, adding to the protein and amino acid requirements.9
Protect Your Cells From Oxidative Damage
We often consume about 10–15 times more oxygen when we exercise.10 Endurance exercises thus cause oxidative stress – so more free radicals are produced in the body than can be neutralized by the antioxidant defense system.11 Vitamin E is known to be a potent antioxidant and – you guessed it – peanut butter is a good source of vitamin E. That’s one more reason peanut butter scores as a super sports snack – game, set, and match it is!12
With energy bars, whey protein shakes, and animal proteins in various forms and shapes being offered up as post-workout snacks, you may feel spoilt for choice. But let peanut butter top your list for it is packed with proteins, fiber, good fat, vitamin E, and dense calories. That means you get your nutritional fill naturally and also stay full longer, thus avoiding the empty calories of junk food and sugary snacks. The true athlete’s super food indeed!
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Basic Report: 16167, USDA Commodity, Peanut Butter, smooth, USDA. 2016.|
|2, 10.||↑||Rodriguez, Nancy R., Nancy M. DiMarco, and Susie Langley. “Position of the American dietetic association, dietitians of Canada, and the American college of sports medicine: nutrition and athletic performance.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 109, no. 3 (2009): 509-527.|
|3.||↑||Kelly, John H., and Joan Sabaté. “Nuts and coronary heart disease: an epidemiological perspective.” British Journal of Nutrition 96, no. S2 (2006): S61-S67.|
|4.||↑||Peanut Butter,Smooth.Code: 100395, USDA. 2012.|
|5.||↑||Purcell, Laura K. “Sport nutrition for young athletes.” Paediatrics & child health 18, no. 4 (2013): 200.|
|6.||↑||Campbell, Bill, Richard B. Kreider, Tim Ziegenfuss, Paul La Bounty, Mike Roberts, Darren Burke, Jamie Landis, Hector Lopez, and Jose Antonio. “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 4, no. 1 (2007): 1.|
|7.||↑||Peanut Butter, Smooth.Code: 100395, USDA.2012.|
|8.||↑||Protein, The Australian Institute of Sport.2009.|
|9.||↑||Singh, B., and U. Singh. “Peanut as a source of protein for human foods.” Plant Foods for Human Nutrition 41, no. 2 (1991): 165-177.|
|11.||↑||Mastaloudis, Angela, Scott W. Leonard, and Maret G. Traber. “Oxidative stress in athletes during extreme endurance exercise.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 31, no. 7 (2001): 911-922.|
|12.||↑||Böhm, Fritz, Ruth Edge, Edward J. Land, David J. McGarvey, and T. George Truscott. “Carotenoids enhance vitamin E antioxidant efficiency.” Journal of the American chemical society 119, no. 3 (1997): 621-622.|