When You Eat Peanut Butter Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Muscles

Peanut butter is one of those pantry cupboard staples that are a quick, efficient, and tasty way to get in a quick snack when you're hungry. Most of us associate the nutty, creamy, chunky, or crunchy nut butter as a breakfast food, but it's also made its way into desserts, smoothies, and even savory dishes. 

Is peanut butter good for you? — this is a question we've all probably asked ourselves at least once. While the answer is a little nuanced, depending on how much of it you have and what kind you choose to consume, peanut butter does come packed with a lot of nutritional benefits like heart-healthy fats, antioxidants to fight off cell damage, and fiber for digestive health (per WebMD). 

When it comes to your muscles, there's a benefit to eating peanut butter every day. For starters, this popular breakfast spread contains a good amount of protein (you'll find 7.1 grams in 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter). If you know anything about exercise, you know that protein is a nutrient avid fitness followers pursue for muscle repair and growth. Even for those who don't work out, getting an adequate amount of protein to keep your muscles in good health is important. But it's not just the protein in this food that helps your muscles stay strong and healthy. 

The calories in peanut butter can help with muscle strength too

According to registered dietician Dana Ellis Hunnes (via Men's Health), the calories in the spread can also work in your favor regarding muscle health.  

"So many people focus on protein, don't get enough calories, and then wonder why they have trouble gaining muscle. It's because we really need both," shared the expert. There are 190 calories in just two tablespoons (32 grams) of the stuff, which can be beneficial for those trying to gain weight and muscle mass. While you can turn to the nut butter when you're dieting to keep yourself full for longer and maintain muscle mass too, people also consume peanut butter as an easy means to bulking. 

Additionally, peanut butter contains other muscle-friendly nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. While all three of these minerals help your muscles contract, they contribute toward the overall health of your muscles. For example, magnesium becomes all the more important for people who train regularly, according to personal trainer, Louisa Drake (via NEOM). "This is because the body uses magnesium to sustain muscle movement and deliver oxygen to the working muscles. It also plays a part in recovery since it impacts protein synthesis and your ability to bring down inflammation which can be a result of intense training," the fitness expert explained. Muscle contraction and relaxation are also an important part of avoiding cramps, and peanut butter contains minerals that help with that. 

How should you be consuming peanut butter?

The benefits of eating peanut butter can be negated if you consume the wrong kind or if you eat too much peanut butter. The spread does contain a lot of calories, so controlling portion sizes is important. 

While serious body builders and strength-trainers might turn to this high calorie snack as a means to bulk up and increase muscle mass, the calories can quickly add up for those who maintain a relatively lower fitness level. Two tablespoons a day is the recommended intake. Even though the spread has mostly healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), it still contains some amount of saturated fat. So consuming half a jar of it as a snack is definitely not something you should be doing. 

Plus, it's important to read the food labels on the many different kinds of this nut butter at the store. Most of them contain additives like sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and salt, so you're better off looking for organic or all-natural. Organic peanut butters mainly contain peanuts and some salt for flavor. That being said, you can add this muscle-supportive food to your morning oats and smoothies or use it on sandwiches. There are also plenty of savory dishes like peanut butter turkey satay or Thai peanut chicken that you can try. Maintaining healthy muscles is important whether you work out or not and this beneficial butter can be one of those easy additions to your diet every day. Be mindful, however, if you have nut allergies.