The creamy, nutty goodness that is peanut butter is so amazingly delicious. March 1st was made for National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day. Ah, peanut butter. One day is not enough to recognize peanut butter.
The peanut plant probably originated in Peru or Brazil in South America. No fossil records prove this, but people in South America made pottery in the shape of peanuts or decorated jars with peanuts as far back as 3,500 years ago.
As early as 1500 B.C., the Incans of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life. Tribes in central Brazil also ground peanuts with maize to make a drink.
European explorers first discovered peanuts in Brazil. Peanuts were grown as far north as Mexico when the Spanish began their exploration of the new world. The explorers took peanuts back to Spain, and from there traders and explorers spread them to Asia and Africa. Africans were the first people to introduce peanuts to North America beginning in the 1700s.
In the early 1900s peanuts became a significant agricultural crop when the boll weevil threatened the South’s cotton crop. Following the suggestions of noted scientist Dr. George Washington Carver, peanuts served as an effective commercial crop and, for a time, rivaled the position of cotton in the South.
Today peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop grown in the United States with a farm value of over one billion U.S. dollars, according to The American Peanut Council. Peanut butter accounts for about half of the U.S. edible use of peanuts—accounting for $850 million in retail sales each year. It is a popular sandwich spread, for children and adults, because it is both nutritious and economical.
Is Peanut Butter Good or Bad for Your Health?
There are a lot of good things about peanut butter, but also a few negatives. It’s fairly rich in nutrients and a decent protein source. It’s also loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, although this doesn't seem as significant when you consider the high calorie load. On the other hand, it’s a potential source of aflatoxins, which are associated with harmful effects in the long run.
Even though you shouldn't use peanut butter as a dominant food source in your diet, it’s probably fine to eat every now and then in small amounts.But the main problem with peanut butter is that it's so incredibly hard to resist. If you eat only small amounts at a time, it probably won't cause any harm.
However, it can be almost impossible to stop after eating just a spoon full. So if you have a tendency to binge on peanut butter, it may be best to avoid it altogether. If you can keep it moderate, by all means, continue to enjoy peanut butter every now and then.
Moderate consumption of peanut butter is unlikely to have any major negative effects as long as you are avoiding truly awful foods like sugary soda, trans fats and other highly processed junk foods.