You asked, so we’re answering! At this year’s Dietitians of Canada conference, we received lots of interest in the role peanuts play in the diets of special interest populations. Here is an overview of the benefits of peanuts – and peanut butter – for some of these unique groups, along with recommendations to help them incorporate this protein-packed legume into their diets:
Living with diabetes
Dietary management is one way to control diabetes. The high protein, high fibre and healthy oils in peanuts work to control blood sugar and keep you feeling fuller, longer. Peanuts and other legumes are also considered good fibre sources with a low glycemic index, which is essential to managing type 2 diabetes. Studies also suggest that it’s not just what, but when you eat that can have an impact on your dietary management of diabetes. A study released in the British Journal of Nutrition found that eating peanut butter at breakfast had a slightly stronger effect on lowering blood sugar level, as carbohydrates were absorbed into the body slower.
For those with a family history of diabetes, plant proteins – including those from peanuts and peanut butter – have been found to have a risk-lowering effect, compared to other animal protein sources.
Those living with diabetes might consider the following recipes:
- • PB and Roasted Strawberry Canapés
- • Salmon with Peanut Cucumber Relish
- • Overnight Peanut and Pear Muesli
Protein plays an important role no matter what age we are, however experts estimate that older adults need more grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day than the average adult. Peanut butter provides a cost-effective protein source with eight grams of protein in a two-tablespoon serving. Beyond its delicious, nostalgia-inducing taste, peanut butter is also easier to chew than most other protein sources.
Seniors might consider the following recipes:
- • Open-faced Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
- • Five-Spice Peanut and Pumpkin Muffins
- • No-Sugar Added Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Smoothie
At high-risk of cancer
Large studies have found that consuming peanut butter, peanuts and other nuts may reduce risks for developing benign breast disease. The study’s participants’ (young American girls) risk of developing breast cancer later in life also dropped significantly. Peanuts and peanut butter can also satisfy hunger and help manage weight. With obesity being the leading cause of a host of health issues – including cancer – smart snacking can go a long way in the long-run.
These individuals might consider the following recipes: