The health benefits of peanut butter for children include good supply of protein for body development, good supply of essential fats for brain development, supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and supply of resveratrol which is good for the immune system.
Peanut butter, a breakfast spread is so popular that it is almost a household item and without it most people’s breakfast is not complete. In the United States alone, peanuts and peanut butter are consumed to the extent of 1.5 billion pounds every year.
As many people believe, the making peanut butter is neither new nor was it invented in modern United States or in the Europe. But, it was first made by Aztecs, one of native American groups, thousands of years ago. Peanuts are believed to be the native to American soil and it was convenient for the Aztec to make roast and ground peanuts during high peanut season and consume it for the rest of the year.
The modern version of peanut butter was first produced in late 1800s. Kellogg’s was one of the first to produce the commercial version of peanut butter that time and later on, so many manufacturers followed suit.
Nutrition on peanut butter
The nutrition found in peanut butter, according to the National Nutrient Database from the US Department of Agriculture include the following.
|Nutrition||Value per 100 g||Nutrition||Value per 100 g|
|Water||1.5 g||Energy||588 kcal|
|Protein||21.93 g||Total Lipid||49.54|
|Carbohydrates||23.98 g||Sugars||6.5 g|
|Fiber||5.7 g||Calcium||54 mg|
|Iron||2.16 mg||Magnesium||179 mg|
|Phosphorous||355 mg||Potassium||592 mg|
|Sodium||476 mg||Zinc||2.67 mg|
|Thiamin||0.107 mg||Riboflavin||0.105 mg|
|Niacin||13.16 mg||Vitamin B-6||0.55 mg|
|Folate||35 ug||Vitamin E||5.94 mg|
Is it safe to give Peanut Butter to my child?
Peanut butter is a high risk food for babies under the age of 1 year. The risk of developing peanut allergy is high in babies and hence, it is recommended not to give infants, younger than 1 year of age peanut butter. Only after your baby is at least 1½ years old, you might want to try peanut butter. By the time your baby attains 1½ years or 2 years his or her digestive system grows strong enough and the immune responses to new foods will subside. But, keeping the disadvantages aside, if you look at the advantages, peanut butter is one of the best foods that you can think of, for your child.
Health benefits of peanut butter for children
Here are some of the health benefits offered by peanut butter for children.
Good for physical development: Peanut butter is high in protein. Protein is a vital ingredient for developing strong body on the inside. The protein content, as we know is good for strengthening all the muscles in the body including the muscles in the organs. Peanuts and peanut butter are one of the very high sources of protein in the plant kingdom and hence, they are an excellent source of protein for your child.
Ideal for brain development as well: Peanut butter contains omega 3 fatty acids. The same fats found in most fish. These omega 3 fatty acids are ideal for brain development for your child. As your child grows, he or she needs a regular supply of these fatty acids. In other words, peanut butter is as helpful as fish in making your child smarter.
Supply of various vitamins and minerals: Apart from high protein content and good fats, peanut butter is also a good source of various vitamins and minerals such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium and zinc. Each of these vitamins and minerals has a great role to play in your child’s physical and mental development.
Good source of antioxidants: Peanuts are a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your child’s body from the inside. Antioxidants in diet help in countering the attack of free radicals that are produced during metabolism and prevent tissue and DNA damage. (Hathorn, et al, 2012).
High amount of resveratrol: Resveratrol is a biochemical that is found in high amounts in peanut butter. This biochemical has been recently known for its disease fighting potential as studies suggest that it can enhance the immune system. (Yusuf, et al, 2009).
Measures to be taken while giving peanut butter to your children
Here are some of the measures that you need to take while giving peanut butter to your children
Be on the lookout for peanut allergies: Peanuts and peanut butter are one of the high risk foods, as they can induce allergies. Sometimes, these allergies can be very severe, leading to anaphylactic shock and it can even be fatal. So, be on the lookout for any allergic reactions like inflamed lips, mouth, reddening of skin, choking, nausea, difficulty in breathing, etc.
Take your doctor’s advice: It is better to take your pediatrician’s advice before giving peanuts or peanut butter. As your doctor will help you in determining whether or not your child is allergic to peanuts or other tree nuts. Try to know whether your family has a history of peanut or tree nut allergies. It can make things easier for your doctor to determine whether or not your child has a risk of developing some allergies.
What kind of peanut butter is good: Generally, crunchy men like crunchy peanut butter while children and women like the soft peanut butter. So, most probably your child would like soft peanut butter. Also make sure to read all the ingredients in the peanut butter. Preferably opt for peanut butter with low sugar, low sodium.