Doctor: Peanut butter can be healthy

A Boston doctor says eating peanut butter can be a healthy choice.

Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston says the presence of some saturated fat doesn’t automatically kick peanut butter into the camp of unhealthy foods.

Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu — all considered to be ‘healthy’ foods — have some saturated fat, Willett says in a statement.

It’s the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.

Peanut butter has nutrients including fiber and some vitamins and minerals — especially potassium. Unsalted peanut butter has a terrific potassium-to-sodium ratio, which counters the harmful cardiovascular effects of a sodium surplus, Willett says. Even salted peanut butter still has about twice as much potassium as sodium.

Numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts, Willett says in the Harvard Heart Letter.

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