Food & Recipes

Eating Peanut Butter Can Help Sharpen Your Brain, Steady Blood Sugar, and Curb Hunger

Find yourself feeling tired all the time, but don’t want to reach for another cup of coffee? You might want to consider the energy-revving benefits of delicious peanut butter instead!

How Peanut Butter Boosts Vitality:

Curbs hunger pangs: The protein in this rich childhood favorite is broken down into two amino acids that can dampen hunger and nix cravings for carbohydrates for up to 3 hours. All told, researchers at Harvard University found that increasing intake of these amino acids can reduce snacking by 81% and slash overall calorie intake by 16%.

Sharpens thinking: Adding 2 Tbsp. of all-natural peanut butter to a smoothie can reduce brain fog and difficulty concentrating by 41%, according to scientists at East Carolina University. Credit goes to the spread’s healthy plant fats, which speed the communication between neurons and spur the healing of aging and damaged brain cells.

Steadies blood sugar: Peanut butter’s monounsaturated fats improve the ability of cells to absorb and burn excess sugar for fuel, while its oleic acid increases cells’ sensitivity to the blood sugar–regulating hormone insulin. The payoff: A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that these effects cut the risk of blood-sugar spikes in half.

These creamy delights deliver plentiful protein and healthy fats to keep you happy and energized all day!

Blueberry Blastoff

  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger

In a blender, puree all ingredients with 1 cup ice. Makes 2 servings.

Bonus! Plant pigments in blueberries help triple fat burning.

Double-Nut Chocolate Bliss

  • 1½ cups dark chocolate almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • ¼ tsp. mint extract

Peel and slice banana; freeze until solid, 1 hr. Puree banana, remaining ingredients and ½ cup ice. Garnish with mint. Makes 2 servings

Bonus! Tryptophan in bananas can brighten mood by 20 percent.

Strawberry Soother

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup strawberries, halved
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice

In blender, puree all ingredients and 1 cup ice until smooth. If desired, garnish with strawberries. Makes 2 servings.

Bonus! Fatty acids in coconut milk increase metabolism by 56 percent.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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