Although not traditionally thought of as a health food, the peanut butter & jelly sandwich is performance fuel for top athletes and could even extend your life.
A few years ago, ESPN published a feature story calling the PB&J the “NBA’s Secret Addiction.” In the article, the PB&J was credited for helping power the Boston Celtics’ 2008 NBA Championship, before sweeping across virtually every other team in the league.
Last season’s NBA champions, the Milwaukee Bucks, have been known to scarf down 20–30 PB&Js per game and travel with the ingredients. And LeBron James, one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, has said the PB&J is his go-to food right before game time.
Even notorious health fanatic Tom Brady — the greatest football player of all-time — admitted this is his pre-game meal of choice. Although Brady opts for a slight variation — an almond butter and jelly sandwich. For what it’s worth, golfer Dustin Johnson also prefers the almond butter and jelly combo.
If you are an athlete, you would be wise to follow the playbook of these legends.
But even if you’re not, PB&Js appear to deliver impressive health benefits. In fact, a study from earlier this year concluded that eating a PB&J can add 33 minutes to your life! That’s as good a reason as any to reach for this comfort classic. “Make more PB&Js” even made it into a recent list of 100 things to do to help you live to 100.
In terms of why PB&Js are so beneficial, you can point to their healthy fats, carbs, and protein that deliver both fast-acting and sustained energy. The healthiest PB&Js contain whole grains in the bread, berries in the jelly, and peanuts — all of which have been independently associated with health improvements. When packaged together, it is a combination that is hard to beat.
I personally make my PB&J with Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain English Muffins, Bonne Maman Raspberry Preserves for the jelly, and Teddie Smooth Unsalted All Natural Peanut Butter. PB&Js fuel me before tough workouts or simply as a mid-afternoon snack.
It is no surprise that PB&Js have become so popular — in addition to their health benefits, they are easy to prepare and portable, substantial enough to keep you satisfied, and yet light enough not to weigh you down. They also bring back happy childhood memories for so many of us.
Hopefully this article helps you stay a kid at heart and continue incorporating PB&Js into your daily routine.