The good ol’ peanut butter that once solely ruled the world of nut butters has got many competitors lately. While it is still a staple for many people, some other nut butters are giving it a tough competition. Almond and cashew butters are among them.
Packed with deliciousness, both almond and cashew nut butters are claimed to have a wide range of powerful nutrients and offer many health benefits. But, do they?
Let’s take a look at what these nut butters have to offer to determine if they deserve the high price tags and if it is time that we have variations of the world’s ultimate favorite PB&J sandwich.
Is almond butter healthy
We all know that almonds are packed with loads of healthy nutrients. But, do you know what exactly almond butter has to offer to you? Well, you would after reading this article. Let’s first take a look at the nutritional breakdown of almond butter, so you have a clear idea of what you are getting from that tablespoon of creamy goodness.
Almond Butter Nutrition Facts per Serving (1 Tablespoon)
- Calories – 98
- Fat – 9 g
- Protein – 3.4 g
- Carbohydrates – 3 g
- Fiber – 1.6 g
- Sugars – 0.7 g
- Sodium – 36 mg
Evaluating the Nutritional Profile of Almond Butter
While it’s clear that almond butter is high in calories, the good news is that it contains very little amount of carbs, which means its glycemic load is negligible.
It also contains a good amount of fat, but out of the 9 grams of total fat in a single serving, over 7 grams of it is healthy fat – 5 grams of monounsaturated and over 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat.
The American Heart Association recommends including these healthy fats in your diet (in moderation, of course) because of the health benefits they offer. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are known to help reduce bad cholesterol in the blood, which then can help lower the risk of stroke and heart disease. These fats also provide nutrients that contribute to cell maintenance.
In addition to the macronutrients mentioned above, almond butter also provides a number of micronutrients too. These include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. Calcium, as we all know, is essential for maintaining and improving bone health. However, what many of us do not know is that calcium also plays a vital role in the process of blood clotting. It also contributes to the functioning of muscles and nerves.
Magnesium, on the other hand, plays an essential role in regulating multiple processes in the body. These range from blood pressure and sugar levels to muscle and nerve function to the manufacturing of protein.Lastly, potassium helps regulate nerve signals, muscle contractions, and blood pressures. The mineral also helps reduce water retention in the body as well as contributes to preventing health issues like
kidney stones and osteoporosis. Potassium also contributes to a healthy heart by ensuring a healthy heartbeat – the heart muscles need the mineral to beat properly.
Almond butter is also a good source of vitamin E, which is known to help reduce inflammation in the body. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from free radical damage.
Is Cashew Butter Healthy?
The crunchy, creamy, and buttery cashews are widely consumed worldwide both as a snack, on their own, as well as in a variety of recipes. Making butter out of the cashews is one of the most popular uses of these nuts in the culinary world. Let’s take a look at the combination of nutrients in cashew butter:
Cashew Butter Nutrition Facts per Serving (1 Tablespoon)
- Calories – 94
- Fat – 8 g
- Protein – 2.8 g
- Carbohydrates – 4.4 g
- Fiber – 0.3 g
- Sugars – 0.8 g
- Sodium – 65 mg
Evaluating the Nutritional Profile of Cashew Butter
Cashew butter, like many other nut butters, contains a good amount of calories and fat, but rest assured that they are not empty calories and unhealthy fat. Out of the 8 grams of total fat present in a single serving of cashew butter, only 1.6 grams is saturated fat – there are 4.7 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1.3 grams of polyunsaturated fat. As discussed above, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are good for the body and can contribute to improving and maintaining your health in many ways.
Cashew butter also offers a good ratio of protein to carbohydrate than many other food items, which makes it a good snack option, both generally and post-workout. Although in small quantities, cashew butter also supplies almost all essential amino acids to the body.
A single serving i.e. a tablespoon of this nut butter provides 10% and 13% of magnesium of the RDA for men and women over 30 years of age, respectively. And as discussed above, magnesium contributes to maintaining healthy metabolic, neurological, and immune functions, healthy blood pressure and sugar levels, and steady heartbeat.
Cashew butter also contains a good amount of iron (about 27% of the RDA). From strengthening the immune system to improving focus and concentration to providing energy, iron, as we all know, plays significant roles in several vital functions inside the body.
Lastly, the nut butter contains selenium, which fights against free radicals and prevents them from damaging cells and the DNA membrane.A downside of regular cashew butter, however, is the high amount of sodium. To reduce the sodium content, it is recommended to opt for its unsalted varieties.
Almond Butter Vs Cashew Butter – Which Is Healthier?
By taking into account the nutritional values of both almond and cashews butter, it can be a bit difficult to figure out the winner; there is a close competition between both kinds of nut butter.
But, we are not going to leave you up in the air!
We have a clear answer for you and that is – almond butter is comparatively a better and healthier option. This, however, doesn’t mean that cashew butter is unhealthy.
Let’s discuss what made us reach this conclusion:
Although almond butter has more calories and fat content than the cashew butter (this can be the reason why some people may prefer cashew butter), it also contains more protein and fiber and fewer carbs. Cashews have the highest amount of carbohydrates in the nut family and so, has the butter made from them.
Almond butter also has a significantly low amount of sodium as compared to its cashew counterpart. And when we compare the effects of consuming foods that are high in sodium to foods that contain little more calories (and that too healthy calories), the latter one is a better option.
A single serving of almond butter only contains 4 more calories than cashew butter, but cashew butter contains almost double the amount of sodium. The sodium that comes from one tablespoon of almond butter makes 2.4% of the ideal sodium intake per day, whereas the same amount of cashew butter provides 4.3% of the ideal RDA of sodium.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should start eating all those calorie-dense foods out there just because they have low sodium content.
The Bottom Line
Overall, all nut butters are healthier than traditional butter and oils and are good sources of healthy fats, protein, and minerals. This means you can eat any of them. However, if you are to make a choice, go for almond butter as it is the healthiest of all. To further enhance the benefits, opt for organic almond butter without added sugar.
Lastly, no matter which nut butter you choose to eat, remember that moderation is the key because all of them are calorie-dense and have high-fat content.
A little money-saving tip for all those who love almond or cashew butter, but do not buy it due to their high prices – make your own nut butter at home! The process is very simple and the recipes are easily available online. Just buy the nuts in bulk (buying in bulk costs much less) and make your own butter at home. It will not only cost you much less, but will also be much healthier as there will be no harmful additives and preservatives.