Creamy, smooth, and sweet peanut butter is irresistible. You can have it at any time of the day. Yes, you can have peanut butter at night, too. It will not make you put on the pounds if you consume it in moderation. Having peanut butter before bed may help you sleep better. Read on to know why you should have peanut butter before bed.
Why Should You Eat Peanut Butter before Bed?
Here are four reasons to eat peanut butter before sleeping.
1. Helps in weight management
A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says that nut consumption in women does not have an association with weight gain or obesity. Instead, women who consume nuts have a lower risk of weight gain. Nuts may also help in weight management.
2. Helps you sleep
Does peanut butter help you sleep? Yes, it does, with the help of an amino acid called tryptophan. Tryptophan helps release serotonin, which has a calming effect on the brain. Carbohydrates make this amino acid more available to the brain as they help release insulin.
Insulin indirectly helps transport tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. So, carb-rich meals may make you feel sleepy. Peanut butter is a good source of carbohydrates and proteins. Hence, having peanut butter before bed helps you get a sound sleep.
3. Prevents late-night cravings
Those who wish to lose weight should eat a healthy snack before bed. But late night snacking on unhealthy food leads to increased calorie intake and weight. So, it is necessary to have a snack rich in carbs, fiber, proteins, and other essential nutrients. Additionally, it should not contain more than 200 calories.
According to an article published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, proteins affect the hormones that regulate hunger. Having five whole grain crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter is a good bedtime snack.
Two tablespoons of unsalted peanut butter contains 188 calories. It will provide eight grams of proteins and 1.9 grams of fiber. Having peanut butter before bed will make you feel satiated and help you get a sound sleep. It will also not make you feel bloated.
4. Helps build muscles
Can you have peanut butter before bed for bodybuilding? According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 10 to 35% of your calories should come from proteins. The average person should have 0.8 grams of proteins per kilogram of body weight, while athletes should have 1.3 to 1.8 grams of proteins.
Studies say that consuming proteins before bed promotes muscle growth. Muscles undergo repair and grow as we sleep. During sleep, growth hormones get elevated. Supplying your body with amino acids during the spike of growth hormones helps build muscle.
Studies Supporting These Claims
A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise shows that people who took proteins before bed had a better muscle recovery than those who consumed proteins after a workout.
Another study published in Journal of Nutrition monitored the effect of proteins before bed. For the study, the participants were divided into two groups. The researchers gave one group a placebo drink, while the other was given a drink containing 27.5 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates. They found that the participants consuming the protein drink had better muscle growth, muscle strength, and muscle fiber size.
With all that said, peanut butter is high in calories and shouldn’t be the only source of proteins in your diet.
Healthy Ways to Eat Peanut Butter as a Bedtime Snack
There are some ways in which you can have peanut butter before bed to promote good health. Try these healthy peanut butter snacks.
- Cut a banana in half lengthwise and spread peanut butter on it. Top it with chopped nuts, raisins, or shredded coconut and enjoy.
- Dip green apple slices in peanut butter. Tart apple with sweet peanut butter is a greater flavor combination.
- Spread peanut butter on whole wheat crackers or reduced-salt saltine crackers.
- Use it as a dip for pretzels or bread sticks.
- Spread peanut butter on celery sticks. Enjoy the crunch of the juicy celery with the creamy peanut butter. You can top it with raisins, nuts, or some fruits chunks.
- Spread it on whole grain toast or a whole grain bread and have it before bed.
- You can also have it with rice or popcorn cakes, or just add it to popcorn.
- Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Use whole grain bread and sweeteners such as honey, raisins, pear, apple instead of jelly.
- Heat unsweetened peanut butter and add soy sauce, cilantro, garlic, and ginger. Use it as a dip for grilled eggplant, shrimp, or grilled chicken breast.
- Put one or two tablespoons of peanut butter on oatmeal or yogurt and enjoy.
- You can replace syrups with peanut butter for pancakes, waffles, and crepes.
Final Word on Having Peanut Butter before Bed
Having peanut butter before bed helps you build muscle, improves muscle strength, and also helps you sleep well. But, as with everything, moderation is key. A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 188 calories. So, it is better to watch your intake and include other healthy sources such as milk and eggs.
Additionally, it is very important to read the ingredients listed on the peanut butter jar. Some brands may contain artificial coloring agents, emulsifiers, added oils, salt, and sugar. Do not buy such brands. Go for unsalted organic peanut butter which does not have any of these additives, otherwise, eating peanut butter would do more harm than good.
Spring, B., “Recent research on the behavioral effects of tryptophan and carbohydrate.,” Nutrition and Health, January 1, 1984; 3(1-2): 55-67; http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/026010608400300204, last accessed July 6, 2017.
Gunnars, K., “Is Peanut Butter Bad For Your Health? A Look at The Evidence,” Authority Nutrition, May 30, 2017; https://authoritynutrition.com/is-peanut-butter-bad-for-you/, last accessed July 6, 2017.
“Food and Sleep,” National Sleep Foundation; https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/food-and-sleep, last accessed July 5, 2017.