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There really is nothing quite like peanut butter. It's a popular pantry staple no matter how old you are as it's nutrient-dense, affordable, and convenient. Nutrition expert Faisal Al Shawa will be talking about peanut butter and its amazing qualities.

To start, peanut butter is a great alternative to all kinds of sugary spreads such as Nutella that are used on crackers or rice cakes, etc. Peanut butter is a great source of plant-based protein, it contains good quality fats and of course, it tastes great!

However, it is better to consume organic peanut butter than a conventional one. Why? Let’s find out.

To start with, organic peanut butter means that the peanuts were grown on a farm that limits the use of pesticides, especially synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. The farms must also work to promote healthy ecological balance and biodiversity. Additionally, all the other ingredients in the peanut butter must be organically grown to achieve that title, this can be especially important for some common additives like palm oil. Overall, organic farming methods are better for the planet and the environment.

Natural peanut butter can be organic or conventionally produced. Natural peanut butter means it hasn't been hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Hydrogenation in some peanut butter is what helps to keep the peanut butter smooth, creamy, and unseparated. You can often tell if peanut butter is natural because there will be a layer of oil on the top of the peanut butter that needs to be mixed in. This separation of the peanut oil and the peanut butter is normal. Hydrogenation or partial hydrogenation is the process that turns unsaturated fat into saturated solid fat or trans-fat. Saturated and trans fats are associated with poor health outcomes.

Conventional peanut butter can often have multiple added ingredients, like sugar and other additives that can increase shelf life or prevent separation of oil from the peanut butter. Natural peanut butter tends to have two ingredients, peanuts, and salt, but conventional peanut butter can have many different ingredients including molasses, sugar, corn syrup, vegetable oils, stabilizers, and others. All these added ingredients result in a lot of extra calories or added sugars to your diet.

When it comes to healthy fats in general, think of them as traffic lights. Green means go and this applies to avocado, nuts, olive oil, and fish. Orange light applies to the types of fats you have to consume in moderation such as coconut oil, dairy, and red meat. Red light is for fats you have to stop consuming completely like vegetable oils and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil.

The next time you want to pick good quality peanut butter? Check out Mint Basil Market’s website! 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

January 31, 2022 — Mint Basil Team

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