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Nutrient Differences in Nut & Seed Butters

 

Peanut butter is a wonderful food item, found in many countries and cultures around the world. It provides a cocktail of superb unsaturated fat, fiber, and protein. This versatile, delicious spread can be blended up into a creamy sauce for savory dishes or used as a chunky dip for fruit and vegetables. Remember the classic – ‘ants on a log’?

 

Browsing through the nut butter aisle, you may have noticed many new peanut butter flavors and alternative nut butters popping up. You may be thinking, ‘Well, what’s better…peanut, cashew, or almond butter?’ With our current nut butter craze, we now have tons of options on the shelf that provide a variety in taste, texture, and nutrition.

 

The biggest take away to this nut lesson is that all of these delicious foods provide very similar nutrient profiles. The first step is choosing an all-natural, organic nut butter. Take a look at the ingredient list and make sure it only has a couple of ingredients. For instance, you only need PEANUTS to make peanut butter. If it is filled with partially hydrogenated oil or added sugar, put it down and try another! 

 

All nut butters, just like the big daddy, peanut butter, have protein, fiber, and fat, as well as potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, and antioxidants. Nut butters are a great way to increase protein intake, especially if you are vegetarian or sticking to a more plant-based style of eating. They are also rich in unsaturated fat and potassium, which are great heart healthy nutrients, lowering the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. Fiber is a perfect nutrient for digestion and bowel health and magnesium helps to fortify the bones and muscles.

 

This combination of protein, fiber, and fat is a great way to achieve fullness and satisfaction, causing you to eat less throughout the day as you fill your body with this nourishing, nutrient-dense food. However, just because I’m raving about it doesn’t mean you can go home and attack the jar with a spoon! It is important to stay within one portion (~2 tablespoons), as this nutrient-dense food is also pretty high in calories per serving. Now, calories aren’t the devil, we need them for energy, but as all of you know, we don’t want to go overboard! 

 

Here are a few tips when choosing nut & seed butters:

  • Peanut butter is the best source of protein out of all the nut buttes (9g/serving)

  • Sunflower seed butter comes in second for protein content if steering away from peanut butter (7g/serving)

  • One brand of seed butter that is COMPLETELY nut-free is ‘Sunbutter

  • Cashew butter has the highest source of monounsaturated fat (10g/serving)

  • Almond butter is the lowest in saturated fat (1.5g/serving)

  • ‘Salted’ nut butters add about 100mg of sodium, which isn’t too much of a concern for your total daily salt intake

**Try a nut-free sauce with this delicious Thai Lettuce Wrap recipe**

 

 

Resources: 

photo: cookinglight.com

nutrient info: trader joes products

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