According to a study from New York, around 1.1% of the population in the United States experience peanut butter allergy. To address this issue, these individuals seek help from a physician.
But, what is the real association between peanut butter and constipation? This article will discuss this correlation, how peanut butter affects gastrointestinal health, and how to prevent and treat constipation.
Peanut Butter Health Benefits
In the form of a spread, Peanut is used by many people globally. Aside from its amazing taste, it is a healthy, high-calorie-density snack.
It is rich in healthy fats, monounsaturated fats, and minerals, making it suitable for those who are diet-conscious or those who are on a low-carb diet.
1) Weight loss
Sometimes, people may think that peanut butter causes weight gain. However, this high-fiber diet snack does the opposite.
According to a study from Spain, at low doses, peanut butter can help you lose weight.
A comparative study from Texas reported that those who took peanut butter were less likely to become overweight or experience weight gain than those who did not consume it.
It is also important to take note that 2-3 servings of peanut butter per week will already suffice in supporting your body to lose weight.
2) Support cardiovascular health
Another benefit of peanut butter is its cardiovascular health support. According to a study from Iran, it was reported that short-term consumption of peanut butter can improve lipid profiles.
This snack can increase your good cholesterol and lower your bad cholesterol levels.
3) Lowers risk of cancers
Did you know that if you eat peanut butter, you also protect yourself from cancer?
According to a study from The Netherlands, the essential amino acid methionine, insoluble fiber, and soluble fiber content of peanut butter can reduce cancer mortality.
Peanut butter is rich in vitamin E and this vitamin is known to reduce the risk of cancers in the stomach, colon, liver, and lungs.
4) Prevents neurodegenerative diseases
One of the best things about peanut butter is that its soluble and insoluble fiber can support memory and prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
According to a study from Spain, it was reported that this snack could also reduce anxiety and depression.
5) Reduces risk of diabetes
According to a study from Brazil, it was reported that eating peanut butter can reduce your risk of developing diabetes.
This study also stated that peanut butter’s healthy fat and dietary fiber content could increase gut satiety, making you crave less.
6) Supports muscles and bones
Peanut butter is a plant-based protein. This makes high-fiber peanut butter perfect for bodybuilders and those who want to increase their lean muscle mass.
Before we tackle peanut butter & constipation, we have to first discuss what constipation is. Generally, this gastrointestinal condition makes it more difficult to pass stools.
There are two types of constipation, acute and chronic constipation.
Acute or short-term constipation promotes infrequent bowel movements and may only last a few days. Usually, this type of constipation may be treated with natural stool softeners such as castor, olive oil, or OTC laxatives.
On the other hand, chronic constipation may last for months to years. A shift in a healthy diet or consumption of dietary fiber may not fix it either.
Instead, it can also be treated with the help of a medical doctor.
Causes of Constipation
Knowing the two types of constipation, it is also essential to understand the causes of constipation.
The common cause of constipation is not having enough dietary fiber in the body or unhealthy food habits.
Aside from this, constipation can also arise from medications, lack of exercise, and lack of fluid intake. Some people can also experience constipation if they have problems with intestinal function.
Peanut Butter & Constipation
You may sometimes experience stomach pain after peanut butter consumption, and this makes you wonder, does peanut butter cause constipation or can peanut butter make constipation worse?
In this section, we will answer the question: can peanut butter cause constipation and other gastrointestinal distress?
1) Peanut Allergy
Some people who usually eat peanut snacks tend to ask, does peanut butter cause constipation? Generally, peanut butter does not cause acute or chronic constipation.
Remember that consuming peanut butter also comes with risks, especially for food sensitivities such as peanut butter allergy.
You might experience uncomfortable symptoms such as constipation if you have a peanut allergy. Usually, some people may experience an allergic reaction, while others may experience intolerance.
According to a study from the United Kingdom, peanut allergies are life-threatening. However, peanut food intolerance may only cause mild digestive issues.
In another study from the UK, it was also reported that the allergic reactions from peanut allergy might be observed within an hour after eating peanut butter.
2) Peanut Butter Influences Bowel Movement
The trans fat found in peanut butter is known to keep your digestive tract moving.
However, high doses, specifically above 6 grams per serving, can already cause gastrointestinal distress such as constipation, diarrhea, and gas.
According to a study from New York, peanut butter consumption can be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
However, at high doses, it can induce irritable bowel syndrome symptoms. Aside from peanut butter, other food and beverages that induce IBS include diet sodas and multi-grain beads.
3) Sensitivity to Salicylates and Amines
According to Dermatologists from Australia, peanuts contain salicylates and amines. These two are usually found in the skin of peanuts, thus always present in peanut butter preparations.
According to a study from Italy, salicylates can cause constipation. This study reported that this compound can cause abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Apart from peanut butter, salicylates are usually present in medications such as aspirin.
Moreover, amines, on the other hand, can provide constipation relief. Consistent with a study from New Jersey, these organic compounds can be used to treat severe constipation.
In this study, it was also reported that the amine content of peanuts is fast-acting.
However, at large doses, these organic compounds can cause constipation. Generally, too much amine affects the digestive system negatively, especially for individuals sensitive to these kinds of natural food chemicals.
4) Peanut Butter Contains Saturated Fat
Generally, peanuts contain around 50% of monounsaturated fats. However, it is also important to understand that these nut butter snacks contain saturated fat. One tablespoon of peanut butter or roasted peanuts can already provide 2.5 grams of saturated fat.
According to a study from Boston, high saturated fat intake can increase your risk of experiencing constipation and fewer bowel movements.
If you wish to purchase a peanut butter product, read the label and check the saturated fat content. Aside from saturated fats, you should also check if you have other sensitivities in the product to avoid constipation.
5) Peanut Butter Can Cause Hydration Problems
Peanuts and other high-fiber foods can cause dehydration. Generally, dehydration and constipation are highly associated with each other.
According to a study from France, fluid loss or dehydration can increase the risk of constipation.
The reason is that when you do not have enough water, your kidneys will have difficulty digesting the food you eat.
This encourages you to drink water even when not thirsty to keep your digestive system moving properly and maintain your gut health.
6) Vitamin B3 Content
Peanut butter is one of the foods rich in vitamin B or niacin. Based on a study from India, this food contains up to 75% of the RDA of niacin.
Although this vitamin provides many health benefits, too much peanut butter can affect your gastrointestinal health negatively.
How to Prevent Constipation
You can try many ways to prevent constipation. Usually, people tend to control their urge to poop, and this is one of the causes of constipation. Other ways to prevent constipation will be discussed in this section.
1) Stop eating peanut butter
If you know that you have a peanut allergy or peanut intolerance, it is about time for you to consider quitting these nut butter snacks.
As much as possible, eliminate the foods that contain peanuts from your diet. If you do not know if you have peanut intolerance, you can consider using food sensitivity test kits.
2) Try other nuts
If peanut butter is what makes you constipated, and you cannot resist the mouth-watering taste nuts give, you might want to consider other nuts.
If you love making spreads, you can try almond butter or cashew butter to replace peanut butter.
3) Manage stress levels
Besides your mental health, stress also affects your digestion, thus making your gastrointestinal muscles intense.
According to a study from Sri Lanka, it was reported that stress and constipation are highly associated.
This study found that children exposed to high-stress levels are more at risk of imbalanced gut motility and, thus more at risk of experiencing constipation and other health disorders such as intestinal ulcers.
d.) Control your intake of fiber-rich foods
Fiber-rich foods are usually used to provide constipation relief. However, in some cases, these nutrient-dense foods can make constipation worse.
According to a study in Germany, it was reported that it is better to reduce your intake of fiber-rich foods if you want to improve your constipation.
So, if you do not want to eliminate peanuts, limit your peanut butter digestion equation.
How to Relieve Constipation
If not peanut butter, you can try many ways to address your constipation. Aside from having adequate hydration and controlling your fiber intake, take a look at some tips below:
Be physically active. As much as possible, exercise daily.
Consume whole grains.
Take an herbal or natural laxative. Consider natural ones before trying medicated ones.
Incorporate probiotic and prebiotic foods into your diet.
Take note that many factors cause constipation. Suppose you know you have a healthy diet but still experience constipation. In that case, it is highly advised to seek medical care as soon as possible to check if underlying health problems cause constipation.
Side Effects of Peanut Butter
People may sometimes ask, is peanut butter good? The answer is yes. Peanut butter is a healthy snack.
However, it still comes with side effects, especially when a person takes too much peanut butter.
Apart from constipation, below are some other side effects of peanut butter:
Increased blood sugar if you take commercial nut butter products with added sugar instead of pure peanut butter
If you feel unusual symptoms after consuming peanut butter, seek medical care as soon as possible.
Peanut butter is an amazing snack for both children and adults. Natural peanut butter comes with many health benefits such as cardiovascular support, immune system boost, and reduced risk of cancers such as colon cancer.
But, for those who wonder, does peanut butter cause constipation?
The answer is yes, and there are other side effects too. Instead of eliminating peanut butter, you can try almond butter or cashew butter.
Lastly, constipation is more likely to occur in patients with a peanut allergy or peanut intolerance.
If you have this food sensitivity, you are highly encouraged to avoid these snacks.
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