In weightlifting circles, peanut butter is often considered somewhat of a super food. While it may not pack in quite the vitamins and minerals that a serving of veggies does, peanut butter does have one big advantage working in its favor for those looking to get stronger -- its high calorie content. Not only that, but peanut butter provides protein and healthy fats needed for recovery.
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Getting stronger requires not only a carefully designed training plan, but also a solid diet. To gain muscle and strength, you need a surplus of calories, which means adding high-calorie foods to your diet. A typical 32-gram serving of peanut butter contains a whopping 188 calories, making it a good choice for easily adding calories into your diet if you're struggling to eat enough.
PB to the Rescue
Eating peanut butter may aid with post-workout soreness. During an intense weightlifting session, your muscles develop tiny tears that then get repaired in recovery to build muscle. These tears can make you feel sore for up to 48 hours after finishing your workout. Consuming a calorie-dense snack, such as peanut butter on toast, within 15 to 60 minutes after your session, kick-starts recovery and can speed up recovery, claims the Alice Health Promotion department at Columbia University.
The Low-Fat Fiasco
The notion of a low-fat peanut butter may be tempting, but buyer beware. According to the editors at "Muscle & Fitness" magazine, regular peanut butter is a far superior choice to the low-fat version. The healthy fats are one of the main benefits of peanut butter and low-fat versions can contain double the amount of carbohydrate and sugars.
The Peanut Butter Plan
While peanut butter may be a good way to bump up your calorie intake and take in healthy fats, as well as protein, don't rely on it too much. You should include a variety of fat sources in your diet, such as oily fish, avocados, coconut and other types of nut. Include one or two tablespoons of peanut butter on toast or in porridge at breakfast, spread it on a tortilla wrap or rice cake post-workout and have the odd spoonful throughout the day if you're struggling to get your required calorie intake.