We all know that peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth. But do you know that peanut butter might also help you “stick it out” during a hard workout or an intense race? In fact, peanut butter–yes, that sticky companion to jelly on all those sandwiches your mom made–just might be the best endurance food on the planet.
Peanut butter provides a feeling of fullness much longer after you’ve eaten than if you’d munched on carbohydrates in the form of, say, pretzels, a candy bar, or even a banana. That feeling of fullness can help you finish that last set of repeats demanded by your trainer or power you to the finish line during the last mile of the Peachtree road race.
Straight sugar or any simple sugar found in carbohydrates shoots your insulin levels high soon after you eat, but then drops them to the floor halfway through your workout. Peanut butter, on the other hand, is full of fat, protein, and fiber, and it gives you a slow, sustained release of energy. It does contain fat, but it is overwhelmingly the preferred unsaturated fat, which makes peanut butter good for your heart.
Diets high in unsaturated fats lower bad cholesterol and generally make the heart a much healthier machine. And as a good source of protein, it’s is a primary building block in muscle growth and helps speed muscle recovery. A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein, or roughly the same amount of protein found in four slices of turkey. Peanut butter also is a good source of niacin and folic acid (they help convert food to energy) and vitamin E. In addition, the dense calories in peanut butter keep your energy level on an even keel and your hunger down throughout the day.
And that, in turn, will prevent you from overeating and keep you eating healthfully all day.