Nut butters…. We all know them, and we all love them! Not only are they super delicious on your morning oats, with fruit for a snack, or straight from the jar, they’re also super nutritious! While all nut butters have health benefits, we wanted to break down the nutritional benefits of each common one to see if one comes out on top. So, let the battles begin!
Let’s start with the basics. Almost all nut butters are good for you mainly because they are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats help increase HDL cholesterol “the good kind
“, while keeping LDL cholesterol “the bad kind” check. Most nut and seed butters have between 80-100 calories per tablespoon, and 7-10 grams of mostly unsaturated fat. This makes them a great choice for athletes looking to get calories in or just your everyday person looking to fuel their day. They also contain protein and fiber and can help you feel full for longer periods.
Now, to each individual nut butter…..
Peanut Butter - This one is a classic. While peanuts are technically not a nut (they're a member of the legume family), peanut butter is one of the most protein-dense nut butters you can find. A 2-tablespoon serving of peanut butter provides 8 grams of plant-based protein, making it one of the highest protein options, along with having those heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
Almond Butter - Almonds deliver a powerful package of nutrients and are among the lowest in calories. A 2 tablespoon portion of almond butter delivers about 7 grams of protein and 170 calories. Almonds are also very low in carbohydrates, and boast the highest fiber content of all the tree nuts. In comparison to other nut butters, almond butter provides an excellent dose of vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium.
Cashew butter provides the lowest amount of protein out of all the nut butters with only 6 grams of protein per two tablespoons. In comparison to other nut butters, cashews are also higher in carbohydrates and lower in fiber, more specifically only 1 gram of fiber. However, where cashews do shine is the fact that they are still a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. For example, cashews are exceptionally high in iron and zinc.
Walnut butter - This nut butter is a little less common, but we are starting to see it come around. Walnut butter is one of the highest in calories of all the nut and seed butters due to its high fat content. It is also relatively low in protein tied with cashew butter at 5g per serving. However, there’s a reason why walnut butter really shines. The fats it contains are insanely healthy. Walnuts themselves are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (the only nut with a significant amount of these nutrients) which can improve brain health , heart health, and more.
So, now that you know these facts, you have the power to choose which option is right for you! There is no universal right answer, it just depends on what you’re prioritizing in your diet!