Almond butter is a food paste similar to its popular and better-known cousin -peanut butter. However, almond butter has many differences and in fact, many more benefits as compared to peanut butter. But more on these later. For now, let’s understand exactly what almond butter consists of.
Unlike peanuts, which are a legume (although most often confused for a nut), almonds are tree nuts. Almond butter is made from grinding whole almonds together in a food processor. You can also choose to mix in a little bit of sea salt if you prefer a salted almond taste. Other ingredients could also include vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste. However, they are not necessary. When mixed, these ingredients form a delicious nut paste that can be used in various formats and hundreds of recipes.
The whole almonds can start as either raw or roasted, and the results can be a paste that is either crunchy or smooth, depending on your preference -just like peanut butter. However similar this paste may seem to be as compared to peanut butter; almond butter is quite different, and it is for these reasons that it has been touted as a healthier alternative. Let’s dive right into this exciting world of nut butters and learn why almond butter is a better alternative to peanut butter and what benefits it can offer for your health!
First of all, the concept of using almond butter as an alternative to peanut butter can be partially attributed to the rise of peanut allergies over the last decade. Many people, children, and adults alike are no longer able to enjoy the advantages and tastes of peanut-based food products. So, for some people, almond butter is a great solution. However, it is not a foolproof solution. Not all those who are allergic to peanuts can ingest almonds. Being that they are a tree nut, almonds are for many people, an allergen as well. Most important than the allergy discussion (for this article), is that almond butter when compared to peanut butter, has been shown to have many more healthy nutrients and minerals than its counterpart.
Health Benefits of Almond Butter
One of the most significant benefits that almond butter has as compared to peanut butter is almost double the amount of fiber and significantly higher levels of calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium and about half the saturated fat. Almond butter is also high in monosaturated fats, as well as being a good source of protein. A great start, right? It is, but there are still other things to consider.
A typical question that often comes up when discussing the health content of nuts is the fat content. Do nuts and almonds, in particular, really contain a lot of fat? And is this bad for your health? Yes, indeed, the fat content in nuts varies significantly depending on the nut. However, fat is not necessarily a bad thing. Fats have now been proven to be very healthy and even necessary for our health. It’s all about the type of fats. One of the reasons that almond butter is a better option than peanut butter, for example, is because it contains less saturated fats and more unsaturated fats. As well, almond butter has about fifty percent less sugar than peanut butter.
Since almond butter is high in monounsaturated fats, it can be part of a heart-healthy diet. Monounsaturated fats help to reduce unhealthy cholesterol and raise levels of good cholesterol. If you didn’t know already, fats are not the enemy anymore. In fact, over the last few years, healthy fats have been deemed necessary for a complete diet. Want to understand more about healthy fats and how to incorporate them into your diet? Check out our article on good fats here
What about fiber? Is the fiber content essential to take note of in almond butter? Yes! Yes, it is. The reason is that fiber is necessary for gut health, and the typical Western diet does not have adequate amounts of fiber in it. Consuming almond butter will aid in increasing fiber levels in the body, which in turn aids the body in some of the following ways.
The high proportion of fiber in almond butter can:
- Help to regulate bowel movements
- Improve overall gut health
- Help satiate the appetite and consequently aid in weight loss
- Provide prebiotics for better gut and intestinal health
- Aid in lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood
- Reduced risks of diseases such as cancer
- Healthy blood glucose levels
- Help control inflammation in the body
Well, that was a pretty comprehensive list, and that was only about the fiber in almond butter! Want to know what other magically elements can happen when you eat almond butter? Sure, you do! Here we go!
The Positive Effects of Almond Butter in the Body
One of the most incredible elements of almond butter is its ability to improve the appearance of the skin! Almonds are a rich source of antioxidants, including Vitamin E. 25% of the daily recommended requirement for this vitamin can come from just one single tablespoon of almond butter! Antioxidants help to reduce the activity of free radicals, which in turn causes oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is what creates skin issues such as wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes, and age spots. Almond butter is a great way to manage the appearance of these skin problems.
Almond butter is an excellent addition to any weight loss plan! Due to its high levels of fiber, healthy fats, protein, and low level of calories, almond butter is ideal for weight control and energy-boosting. It fills you up and controls your appetite while nourishing your body with nutrients. Almond butter helps the body to run on fats and not sugars, this in turn (along with the other elements of high fat, low carb diets) helps to encourage a state of ketosis. Ketosis has been proven to dramatically improve and maintain weight loss as well as improve the ability of the body to run at an optimal level.
Almond butter has very low levels of carbohydrates, which can prevent the drops and spikes in blood sugar than many other snack options can create. This issue is a constant source of concern for diabetics and others with blood sugar sensitivities. However, almond butter solves this snacking issue! People with diabetes can enjoy this delicious product while enjoying the sugar-regulating properties that it provides.
Protects the Heart
Almonds and, therefore, almond butter, does have high-fat content; however, this fat is unsaturated. This is a type of fat that the body needs as it helps to balance cholesterol levels and protect the heart against strokes, heart attacks, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.
Almond butter is filled with protein and healthy fats. As we know, protein and fats provide the body with energy! Basic carbohydrates do not give anywhere near the same levels of energy, because the energy derived from them comes from sugar. When the body is using protein and fats as an energy source, the body’s metabolism is running higher and therefore optimizes many functions in the body. Raising your metabolic level help to increase and maintain a healthy weight loss.
Treats Chronic Diseases
Inflammation, chronic pain, auto-immune disorders, and other health issues are known to be caused by and symptoms enhanced by free radicals. Risks of all of these can be lowered by consuming almond butter as well as better managed if you already have some of these health issues.
Ways to Eat Almond Butter
Now that we know why almond butter is a better alternative to peanut butter and we are aware of some of the incredible benefits almond butter has. The only question left is, how should we eat it? Well, there are many different ways to consume almond butter. Here are just a few examples.
- Almond butter is often used as a spread on toast, bagels, French toast, pancakes or waffles
- It can also be spread on fruit like bananas apples or pears
- Or even spread across vegetables like celery sticks with added raisins on top
- Sprinkled in yogurt as a sweetener
- Poured over hot cereal like oatmeal or cream of wheat
- Mixed into a smoothie as a protein supplement
- Added to savory dishes and sauces. The nutty flavour of almond butter is a delicious addition to pasta sauces for example
- Asian cuisine has many nut-based recipes that can benefit by the addition of almond butter
- Almond butter is an excellent topping over ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Baked into sweet treats like muffins, cookies, sweetbreads and cakes
- And finally, as a better and healthier alternative in the traditional PB&J sandwich
How to Make Your Own Almond Butter
Now, of course, you can always buy almond butter at the grocery or health food store. However, making your own at home is incredibly easy! Even if you are not particularly adept in the kitchen. How come? Because literally, all you need is almonds and a food processor! The other simple ingredients (sea salt, vanilla extract, cinnamon, etc…) mentioned at the beginning of this article are only optional. There are many videos and recipes for almond butter that you can find online, but here is one of our favourites. Watch this video from Clean & Delicious with Dani Spies to learn how to make your own almond butter in just a few minutes.
Does Almond Butter Fit into a Keto Diet?
Keto and other low carb, high-fat diets are very popular right now. And so naturally, another question that often comes up for people following these healthy lifestyles is the following: Can almond butter be a beneficial addition to a keto or low carb diet? The answer is a resounding, yes! Adding almond butter to diets such as low carb and high-fat eating plans can work very well. Mainly because it is a valuable source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and counts as a low carb food on eating plans such as these. Almond butter is filled with healthy fats and is an excellent source of protein. Keto, paleo and other low carb, high-fat diets are all based around these principles.
Want to understand better what the keto diet is and how it can benefit you? Read up on the keto craze, and its benefits right here on our blog
So now, you can see that almond butter is an incredibly healthy food product that can be used in many ways and has a multitude of benefits for your health! It is a tasty and more nutrient-packed, lower-sugar alternative to peanut butter. Almond butter has many benefits for the skin, heart, and cholesterol levels. It fits well into a low carb, high-fat diets like keto or paleo. Almond butter is also a plant-based food and, therefore, a great source of protein and fats for vegans. And, to top off all these incredible benefits, …it is easy and cheap to make at home! There are zero downsides to preparing and consuming almond butter. So, don’t delay, make it a staple of your healthy diet and lifestyle today!