Why We Heart Peanut Butter... and You Should, Too!

There are plenty of reasons to love peanut butter. For starters, it tastes great on an apple, a sandwich or by itself. Peanut butter packs a mean punch when it comes to protein and fiber. This helps eaters feel full and satisfied. A study conducted by Purdue University showed that participants who ate peanuts every day didn't go overboard in their daily calorie allotment. Research indicates that because it's a stick-to-your-ribs offering, you're less likely to feel hungry after snacking on a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter than rice cakes or pickles. But don't expect to get all the protein you need from peanut butter -- two tablespoons has just 7 grams of protein which isn't much. To give yourself an added boost, drink a tall glass of milk with your peanut butter and jelly sandwich -- so you'll get more bang for your protein buck. Many people don't realize that in addition to tasting great, peanut butter also brings plenty to the table in terms of vitamins and minerals.

Another thing -- peanut butter is actually rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. In general, nuts have the properties to improve heart health. One ounce of nuts a day can lower your risk of heart disease. It helps to lower blood cholesterol levels and increase the amount of nutrients such as folate, fiber and magnesium. This childhood favorite also has zinc, which boosts the immune system. Peanut butter contains between 92 to 93 percent peanuts, leaving little room for other ingredients. But it's important to enjoy this tasty treat in moderation as it's chock full of calories. In fact, two tablespoons make up one serving for a total of 188 calories. While critics may be quick to point out that peanut butter is indeed a fatty food, it is not a source of unhealthy trans fats, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.