Your Guide to the Best Nut Butters and Other Creamy Spreads

Posted by Sayful-L-Islam Khan on

Nuts are the perfect snack when you're on the go, but sometimes plain nuts can get boring. That's where nut butter comes in! Nut butter is made by taking raw nuts and grinding them up into a creamy paste. Best of all, they offer an additional level of variety so you can keep snacking healthy. In this blog post, we'll explore the best kinds of healthiest nut butters available on the market today! 

Almond Butter 

If you want to expand your taste horizons beyond peanut butter, almond butter is a terrific option. Almond butter has a similar texture and thickness to peanut butter and has a delicious flavor. Almond butter provides roughly 3 grams more heart-healthy monounsaturated fat per serving than peanut butter, which is a good thing. In addition, unlike processed ordinary peanut butter, almond butter is usually lower in sugar and contains a small amount of calcium (60 mg per tablespoon). Look for roasted almonds in brands that only have one ingredient.

Almond butter is delicious smeared on apple slices or celery, and it's a great post-workout snack thanks to its protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

However, it is advised to mix up your nut butter game because almond butter is more expensive than peanut butter (and almonds require a lot of water to manufacture).  

Cashew Butter

Cashew butter has a lower fat and protein content than peanut butter, but it might have a higher sugar content if sugar is added. Look for nut butters that are made entirely of nuts, with no added oils, salt, or sugar, as with all other nut butters. If you don't eat legumes like peanuts or soybeans, cashew butters can be a nutritious alternative. In addition, two teaspoons will provide roughly 10% of your daily iron. However, because cashews are heavy in fat and calories, you should limit your amount size.

According to Glassman, "Cashew butter is naturally sweeter than many other nut butters." So it's a wonderful choice if you're trying to cut back on added sugar without losing your sweet tooth.

Cashew butter is also more expensive, so use it as a special treat rather than your go-to for smoothies, cooking, or protein-packed snacks. 

Coconut Butter

Coconut butter is not a nutritional standout on our list due to its high-fat content and relatively low protein content. Moreover, despite the new fad for coconut oil or butter, there is an only minimal study on its potential health advantages. Coconut butter is best used as a treat, such as in desserts or as a snack. Coconut is not a genuine nut, although the Food and Drug Administration classified it as a tree nut. According to botany, a coconut is a drupe or fruit with a fleshy exterior section around a solid endocarp pit with a seed inside.

“In comparison to other butters, coconut butter has the highest fiber content,” Gans explains. (As you surely know, fiber is essential for maintaining a good blood sugar level, a healthy heart, and a smooth digestive tract.)

According to Keatley, coconut butter also contains protein, potassium, magnesium, and iron. However, it has many saturated fats, which may or may not be suitable for you. 

While you may not want to eat coconut butter as frequently as you might almond or peanut butter, it may still be part of a balanced, healthy diet. “Just be conservative with your serving sizes,” Keatley advises.

Full-Fat, Regular Peanut Butter

Traditional, full-fat, shelf-stable peanut butter like the kind you (and everyone else) ate as a kid is higher in sugar than other nut butters. The fat in today’s full-fat peanut butter (now that the U.S. FDA has mandated manufacturers eliminate trans fats from foods) is primarily healthy unsaturated fat. It’s best to buy peanut butter that’s just peanuts and salt, without added palm or other oils. Even though this nut butter is often the cheapest, it’s wiser to choose a variety and enjoy the health benefits of other options too! 

Hazelnut Butter

While almond butter and natural peanut butter are all healthy options, this fashionable spread should be avoided. While tasty, hazelnut spreads can be high in sugar, and some of the more popular flavors include chocolate. Therefore, you should check sugar and fat (typically palm oil) content on the nutrition label. In addition, hazelnut spreads should be consumed in moderation, as they are rich, calorie-dense treats. 

"Hazelnut butter can also be a decent substitute for those who are allergic to peanuts," explains Gans. In addition, oleic acid, a type of monounsaturated fat found in hazelnut butter, may help lessen your risk of heart disease and stroke.

According to Keatley, this uncommon choice is also free of natural sugars and a good source of vitamin E.

Just make sure you get actual hazelnut butter instead of chocolate hazelnut spread. 

Natural Peanut Butter

This is the greatest choice for a peanut spread: Nothing but peanuts (and sometimes salt) are listed on the ingredients list of pure peanut butter. Sugar, fats, salt, preservatives, and chocolate are all things to avoid. Low-fat peanut butter isn't necessary. The calories are the same or higher because of the extra substances added by manufacturers to improve the taste after removing the fat. Natural peanut butter brands offer half the sugar of classic peanut butter, and the natural, beneficial monosaturated fat makes you feel content and full. 

Soy Nut Butter

For people who are allergic to tree nuts or peanuts, soy nut butter is a good alternative. If your children's school or lunchroom is peanut-free, this spread could be an excellent option for their lunch. Soy nut butter, made from lightly roasted soy nuts, has a similar taste and texture to peanut butter but contains substantially less total and saturated fat. Per serving, soy nut butter contains 7 grams of soy protein.

Sunflower Seed Butter

Sunflower seeds can be ground into a smooth, spreadable substitute for peanut butter, which is another healthy option for allergic to tree nuts. Sunflower seeds are low in saturated fat and high in protein, fiber, zinc, and iron. Sunflower butter has nearly four times the vitamin E of peanut butter and doubles the iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc of peanut butter. Sunflower butter also has a little higher sugar and fat content than peanut butter. 

Because up to 1.5 percent of Americans are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (a number that has risen since the 1990s), alternate banana and bread spreads are essential these days.  

"For anyone with a nut allergy or sensitivity, sunflower seed butter is a fantastic choice," says Glassman. 

She also points out that sunflower seed butter is abundant in vitamins E and A, great for glowing skin and sparkling eyes. It also contains more magnesium per serving than any other butter on the list, making it a potent anti-inflammatory and beauty-sleep aid. 

On the other hand, Sunflower butter has a larger calorie count and a lower protein content than the other spreads on this list, so don't consume too much of it.

Tahini

Tahini is a Middle Eastern staple prepared from powdered sesame seeds. Tahini can be used to make hummus and baba ganoush, or it can be thinned with water to form a creamy sauce to serve over sandwiches and salads or as a vegetable dip. It is a healthy choice because it usually contains no added sugars. In addition, sesame seeds are a rich supply of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, dietary fiber, and an excellent source of copper an excellent source of manganese. However, research suggests that peanut allergies and allergies to sesame seeds and tahini may overlap.

Like many other butters on this list, tahini is a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, Gans says.

Tahini also contains "a ton" of copper, which aids in forming red blood cells, according to Keatley. (However, because zinc and copper fight for absorption in the body, don't consume tahini with high-zinc meals like meat or shellfish if you genuinely want to get the most out of the copper in tahini.)