C'mon now, lets be honest, who doesn't love peanut butter? Well, I know one thing is for certain, I will always be in the fan club. Whether I have just finished trekking up a mountain, or am having some toast for breakfast, peanut butter is always on my mind. Being a coach and fitness enthusiast I am always looking for healthy treats I can bake on the weekend and snack on during the week.
Well, these homemade granola bars are at the top of my go-to recipes. These are simple, nutritious and delicious - the triple threat I look for in Bell's kitchen.
BENEFITS OF PEANUT BUTTER
#1 Source of Protein
Peanuts are a natural source of protein that many people tend to overlook in favour of foods such as meat, and seafood. With peanut butter however, as it is so delicious, well, people are far less likely to overlook it.
Protein is vital for cellular function and repair, not to mention the fact that it plays a vital role in protein synthesis, and muscle growth and recovery.
Two tablespoons of peanut butter will provide around 7–8 grams of protein, which is very reasonable indeed, and will certainly help you on your way to your daily macro-nutrient goals and targets.
Fibre is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fibre helps to:
Promote healthy digestion
Increase nutrient uptake and absorption
Help keep you feeling full for longer
Generally, two tablespoons of peanut butter will provide around 2g of fibre.
We require around 30g per day according to government guidelines, but that 2g is certainly a substantial amount, especially when supplemented with other foods.
#3 Lowers Cholesterol Levels
A 2016 research paper published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology has revealed that peanuts are an excellent source of compounds like resveratrol, phenolic acids, flavonoids and phytosterols that completely stop the absorption of cholesterol from the diet.
The fat content in peanut butter is almost equal to that of the fats found in olive oil. It contains both polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. As these fats are not saturated, they are good to consume without putting the heart at any risk.
The unsaturated fats in peanut butter help to lower bad cholesterol levels (low-density lipoprotein) and promote the circulation of good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein).
#4 Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
Consuming peanut butter can also be beneficial in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Peanuts contain not only protein but also unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats have been noted to improve insulin sensitivity. Research into peanut butter consumption and diabetes showed that a higher intake of peanut butter and other nuts lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.
#5 Good Source of Vitamins
Peanut butter contains many vitamins that are good for our body to function properly. Vitamin A found in it is helpful for eyesight, while vitamin C helps to boost the immune system and heals simple ulcers faster. On the other hand, the vitamin E found in peanut butter is a very important micronutrient needed by our body to dissolve complex fatty acid structures and fat blockages in the arteries.
#6 Antioxidant Properties
Peanut butter contains antioxidant properties due to the presence of folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamin. One of the antioxidants found in it is resveratrol. Resveratrol is a polyphenolic antioxidant which may help in controlling chronic diseases.
WHAT YOU NEED:
1/3 cup (100g) honey
1/4 cup (65g) peanut butter
1/4 cup (50g) coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup (70g) almonds, chopped
2 cups (185g) rolled oats
2.2 oz. (65g) dark chocolate, chopped
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO:
Prepare an 8 x 8 inch baking tray by lining it with baking paper.
In a medium saucepan, mix together the honey, peanut butter and coconut oil. Heat over low heat, until everything is melted. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Once cooled slightly, stir in the almonds, rolled oats and most of the chocolate (leave some to top the bars).
Transfer the mixture into the lined tray and firmly press it down.
Tops with the remaining chocolate, then refrigerate for minimum 2 hours.
Once chilled, cut into 12 bars and store in a air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.