Back in the day, peanut butter was the most sophisticated nut butter you could imagine. Now, a slight glimpse in the condiment aisle at your health food store will leave you staggering and possibly confused with the breadth of spreadable options.
Nuts are often touted for their micro and macro nutrient components, but is one nut in butter better than another? Multiple studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts in their diet are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts. It is feasible that nut eaters are healthier than non-nut eaters, but most likely the nuts themselves have a lot to do with these benefits.
When it comes to pinpointing the variability in nutrient content of peanut vs. almond vs. cashew butter, the differences are minimal. All three varieties contain comparable amounts of calories and fat in one tablespoon increments. Fiber content and potassium content are also neck-to-neck for all three nut varieties. Peanut butter does have a slight protein edge and contains on average two grams more protein per serving. Cashew butter possesses eight percent more nonheme iron than peanuts, yet peanut butter leads the pack for niacin and folate. If higher anti-oxidant vitamin E and magnesium intake is your goal, then almond butter should be your butter of choice since it has 45 percent of your total recommended intake in a one-ounce serving.
Despite the minimal differences in nutrient profiles, it is essential to be mindful of the ingredients if opting to purchase nut butter. More often than not, nut butters include sweeteners, oil, and excess salt. Aim for a jar that includes as little ingredients as possible (i.e. nuts and salt) to avoid excess calories and preservatives or try making your own! One to two tablespoons is all it takes to get the nutritional benefits of nut butter.
Homemade nut butters have a shorter shelf life than conventional store bought, so make them in small batches. One cup of nuts will make about a half cup of cup nut butter. Store the butter covered in the refrigerator for up to a month. Scroll down for a DIY recipe you'll love.
Peanut And Cacao Butter
2 cups roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a food processor, blend peanuts for 10 to 15 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute or so. Continue blending until mixture is smooth and buttery. Whisk together coconut oil and cacao powder. Add cacao and coconut blend to the peanut butter and process for another minute or so until well combined. Pair this butter with banana for the perfect chocolate, peanut butter, and banana combo. [Click over to Refinery29 for more recipes!]