Almond butter is garnering attention in the health world lately. The most popular of the alternative nut butters – other varieties include, walnut, cashew, hazelnut butter – almond butter might seem like the next food fad, but it has some legit health benefits. It is a good source or magnesium, vitamin E, and potassium. It’s also a great source of selenium, which has been shown to be effective in preventing cancer. Plus, it offers a dose of protein and healthy unsaturated fats to satiate hunger, so it can help you maintain a healthy weight.
What is almond butter?
Like any nut butter, it is a spreadable paste made by grinding almonds to a smooth creamy consistency. Contrary to what the name suggest, it doesn’t actually contain any butter and hence is dairy-free, says Ankita Maniktala Kukreja, a certified nutritionist and co-founder, The Butternut.Co.
According to Maniktala Kukreja, almond butter and other nut butters are one of the healthiest food on the planet.
“They contain heart healthy good fats, protein, fiber and a host of essential vitamins and minerals. Apart from being one of the most abundant form of plant-based protein, they also enhance brain function, increase satiety and promote healthy skin,” she says.
Almond butter has gained a serious foodie following; you can simply spread it on some bread or serve it as a dip with your favourite fruit. When choosing an almond butter, Maniktala Kukreja recommends going organic, with little to no added ingredients.
“An important criterion to keep in mind is the ingredient list of the nut butter you choose. Often they include high amounts of refined sugar and hydrogenated oils, which strip away the benefits provided by nuts – and leave you with excess calories and unhealthy fats. A good nut butter is pure, made with few ingredients, without any refined oils and fat; and must contain a high percentage of nuts,” she says.
Peanut butter vs almond butter
Want to find out which one is the better butter? In terms of protein, fat, and calories, the two are almost identical twins, says Anupam Dey, a Kolkata-based dietician. Both weigh in at around 200 calories, 17 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fibre, and about 8 grams of protein for two tablespoons — give or take a gram here and there.
However, the big difference between the two is their micronutrient content, says Dey.
“Certain kinds of fats are good and almond butter is loaded with one of these good fats, containing 50% more monounsaturated fat, which helps lower blood cholesterol,” Dey says.
Peanut butter on the other hand contains almost two times the Omega-6 fatty acids, which are associated with inflammation and increased risk of heart disease, according to Dey.
“Both are nutrient-dense foods, but in the spirit of ‘healthy’ competition, the winner is almond butter. However, if it’s taste we’re talking, that’s a matter of personal preference,” says Dey.