Zinc in Peanut Butter

Most nutritionists agree—peanut butter is good for you. Peanut butter was first introduced as food for wealthy people at expensive health care facilities. Last year, Americans ate enough peanut butter to coat the floor of the Grand Canyon. That is about three pounds per person in sandwiches, on toast, in gourmet recipes, and simply by the spoonful right out of the jar. Peanut butter is so nutritious, but how much of zinc in peanut butter is good for you?

Nutrients in Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, and all those healthy fats that help control both bad cholesterol and weight gain. It is also a good source of many vitamins and minerals including zinc.

Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is not stored in the body; it must be consumed daily as part of a healthy diet. Second only to iron in its vital role in body chemistry, zinc is necessary for the production of over 100 enzymes that are required for many bodily functions. Here are just a few that depend on an adequate amount of zinc.

  • Proper immune system function
  • Growth in infants and children
  • The ability to taste and smell
  • Carbohydrate breakdown and insulin support
  • Wound healing
  • Blood clotting
  • Proper functioning of the ovaries and testes

Because of its ability to boost the immune system, zinc is often used to treat and prevent viral and bacterial infections such as the common cold, ear infections, bladder infections and swine flu. It is also used to treat parasitic diseases such as malaria.

Many noninfectious disorders are commonly treated with zinc.

  • Depression
  • Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Alcohol-related liver disease
  • Chron’s disease
  • Male infertility, enlarged prostate, erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Hair loss
  • Acne
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Warts
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Down syndrome

Zinc is also prescribed as a preventative for illnesses such as cancer, seizures, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), clogged arteries and leprosy. Athletes often take zinc to enhance their athletic performance.

Most nutritionists agree that unless you have a clinical deficiency, it is best to get your daily supply of zinc from the foods you eat. Dietary sources high in zinc include red meat, poultry, fish and nuts such as peanuts. Peanut butter is an easy and tasty way to increase the zinc in your diet.

The amount of zinc in a serving of peanut butter depends in part on the type of peanut butter you eat. Peanut butter that is simply roasted, ground peanuts has the most zinc. Peanut butter that includes other filler ingredients will have less zinc per serving. Fortified peanut butter has the highest zinc content.

One serving (2 tablespoons) of natural peanut butter contains about 10 percent of the recommended daily amount of zinc. Two tablespoons of fortified peanut butter provide 31 percent of the recommended intake for a healthy adult.

For those most at risk for a zinc deficiency, severely malnourished children, pregnant or nursing mothers, and anyone who follows a strict vegan diet, peanut butter is an easy and tasty way to increase their zinc intake. There is even a “Project Peanut Butter,” which has successfully treated over 400,000 children suffering from malnutrition. For the rest of us, the zinc in peanut butter is just one more reason to enjoy our not-so-guilty pleasure.