Nut butter will forever be a staple in our pantry. A teaspoon of almond butter is the perfect pick when we’re feeling a little hungry, and tahini-stuffed dates are one of our pre-workout snacks. The humble peanut butter and jelly sandwich is something we’ll never get tired of—especially on the days when we don’t feel like we can cook. But is nut butter healthy? Are all nut butters vegan? We are here with the answers.
Is nut butter vegan?
Most nut butters are free from animal products, and thus are suitable for vegetarians. In its purest form, nut butter is made by crushing or grinding nuts into a paste. The ingredients you want to monitor include anything that comes from an animal. Brands are known to use honeyOr milk powder, whey protein, collagen or egg whites in nut butters, so remember to clear the ingredients list before making your purchase.
Some nut butters are made with only one ingredient, while others may contain added salt, sugar, or oil. These are vegan, but some vegans may avoid nut butters that contain palm oil due to this controversial ingredient being linked to Elimination of Forests, primarily in Indonesia and Malaysia. The destruction of these biologically diverse areas is a threat to many species, including the critically endangered orangutans, pygmy elephants, and Sumatran rhinos. This destruction of forests and peatlands also contributes to global warming, as this practice releases carbon emissions that trap heat in the atmosphere.
Is nut butter healthy?
The specific nutrients vary among nut butters but generally contain a number of healthy nutrients, including protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals such as zinc.
Nut and seed butters generally contain heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, which help lower “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. If you’re looking for healthy nuts or seed butters to eat regularly, look for anything that contains partially hydrogenated oils, which are trans fats. Trans fats are known to raise levels of low-density lipoprotein and lower high-density lipoprotein – the “good” cholesterol.
Nut butters are high in calories, so the serving size tends to be small. However, this is not a one-size-fits-all guideline. “While a serving of nut butter is usually 2 tablespoons, that doesn’t mean you should always limit yourself to that amount,” he explains. Stephanie Wells, MS, RD. “The right amount for you will depend on your age, metabolic rate, fitness or nutrition goals. If you are trying to build muscle or have a poor appetite and need a way to get in extra calories, eating more than two tablespoons of nut butter can be a great way to meet your needs.” .
If you monitor your sugar and salt intake, you may want to choose an option made with only nuts and seeds. Some nut butters also contain added oils that help stabilize the final product – which means it’s the kind you don’t need to stir.
“Although they are not harmful, additional oils are not necessary,” Wells says. “And while sweetened nut butters are still a great source of protein and other nutrients, it’s generally best to limit your intake of added sugars.”
What are the healthiest nut butters?
1 almond butter
Almond butter is a great post-workout snack, thanks to its combination of protein (about seven grams per serving), fiber, and healthy fats. It is high in monounsaturated fats, which lowers bad cholesterol and raises good cholesterol. It can also help control blood sugar after eating. Almond butter also contains more vitamin E, calcium, and iron than peanut butter. Compared to peanut butter, it is higher in fiber, lower in saturated fat, and lower in carbohydrates.
Look for almond butter that is made with dry roasted almonds and is free of added sugar and oil. we love 365 Whole Foods Creamy Almond Butter Because it is made from only one ingredient.
2 Peanut Butter
Arguably the most popular nut butter, thanks to PB&J’s sandwiches, it’s an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin E important for healthy blood, brain, and skin. It also contains some B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and selenium. At eight grams per serving, peanut butter is a good source of protein. Additionally, it tends to be the least expensive option for nut butter.
We love eating it by spooning it, adding it to smoothies, or using it in recipes like this one Oat bites, peanut butter, and coconut. attempt Santa Cruz Organic Light Roasted Peanut Butterwhich contains roasted peanuts and less than 1% added salt.
3 cashew butter
Cashew butter has a thinner texture and more creamy flavor than other nut butters, making it a popular addition to vegan desserts, like this one. Salted Cashew Butter With Vanilla Candy. It has less protein than almond butter or peanut butter, at six grams per two tablespoons, and is full of healthy monounsaturated fats, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. A serving of cashew butter contains 10 percent of the daily value for iron, according to USDA data, as well as trace amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin K.
Look for cashew butter that has few added ingredients. this is Creamy cashew butter from Georgia Mills It contains only slowly roasted cashews and a pinch of sea salt.
Made from roasted and hulled sesame seeds, tahini is a staple in the Middle East, eastern Mediterranean, and some North African cuisine. This versatile ingredient has a fluffy, creamy texture and a rich, nutty flavor with a bitter finish that pairs well with dishes like hummus, baba ghanoush and halva as well as desserts like homemade vegan biscuits and dairy-free ice cream.
Tahini has fewer calories than other types of nut butter and is a good source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and an array of vitamins and minerals. It is a particularly good source of copper, which is necessary for the absorption of iron, as well as phosphorous, selenium, iron, zinc and calcium. As for the benefits, studies have shown that sesame seeds can help lower bad LDL cholesterol.
Choose tahini made with sesame seeds and nothing more, like this single-source paste som.
5 sunflower seed butter
Sunflower seed butter is ideal for people with nut allergies, and is among the healthiest options for nut butters. Sunflower seeds have a slightly bitter taste, so salt and sugar are often added to balance the flavour.
Nutritionally, sunflower seed butter is calorie-dense, containing mostly monounsaturated fats and small amounts of polyunsaturated fats. At 5.6 grams of protein per two tablespoons, it has less protein compared to other types of nut butters. It contains more copper, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, iron and vitamin E than peanut butter.
If you’re concerned about your calorie intake, look for sunflower seed butters that don’t have added sugar, like SunButter’s No Added Sugar variety.
6 nut butter
Among the nut butters, nut butters aren’t as high in protein, nor are they high in heart-healthy fats or trace minerals — although they do contain small amounts of iron, calcium, and potassium. The strength of nut butters lies in its content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 from plants is called alpha-linolenic acid, which has been linked to a lower risk of death from heart disease. Walnuts also contain polyphenols, which are known to help reduce inflammation.
Many commercial nut butters contain more than one type of tree nuts, such as Artisana Organic Raw Nut Butter With Cashew Nuts. But, you can also make your own 100 percent nut butter by adding 1 or 2 cups of walnuts to the bowl of a food processor, then grinding them until a smooth paste forms, about 1 minute. For a softer, sweeter, crunchier nut butter, arrange raw walnuts on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for eight minutes. Let cool before adding to the food processor, and add salt and sugar to taste.
For more information on health and nutrition, read:
5 ways to make vegan desserts healthy
A complete vegan diet explained
10 High-Protein Vegan Recipes You Can Try