BY NANCY CLARK
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
In my humble opinion, peanut butter is one of the best sports foods around. Not only is it yummy, it is also health-promoting and performance-enhancing. If you are among the many athletes who try to stay away from peanut butter because it is fattening or too fatty, think again. While any food eaten in excess can be fattening, people who eat peanut butter five or more times a week are not fatter than nut avoiders. A Purdue University study reports subjects who ate peanuts daily did not overeat total calories for the day. That’s because peanuts and peanut are satiating; they help you feel pleasantly fed. Peanut eaters tend to intuitively eat less at other times of the day. It has other health benefits as well. Peanut butter contains primarily health-promoting mono- and poly- unsaturated fat that knock down inflammation. People who eat peanut butter and nuts five or more times a week have lower markers of inflammation than nut avoiders. For athletes who get micro-injuries every time they train, an anti-inflammatory food such as peanut butter is a wise choice. What’s good for the body is also good for the brain. Research suggests that peanut butter eaters benefit from improved brain-blood circulation and mental function. This contributes to enhanced processing speed and better short-term memory. Plus, a diet rich in healthy fats helps slow cognitive decline.