Peanut butter is an incredibly versatile food; there are very few foods that cannot be complemented or enhanced by this delicious treat. But did you know there is an array of other natural nut butters you can try that will change your diet and blow your mind with flavor combinations?
Let’s have a look at some of the natural nut butters you should try, and why they are so good for you.
Natural Peanut Butter
There are few children who haven’t grown up with peanut butter as a staple of their childhood diet. But the mass-produced peanut butter that we were all so familiar with is actually highly processed, and often very high in sugar, as well as saturated fat.
Some fat is good for you, and the right kinds of fats are incredibly healthy, but the PB from childhood is likely not one of those.
Natural peanut butter, on the other hand, is far, far better.
Natural peanut butter is basically just ground peanuts to make a paste, sometimes with some salt added to enhance the flavor. This is all you need and all it should be.
High in plant-based protein, peanut butter is a good slow-release form of energy, making it a great breakfast or mid-afternoon pick-me-up. It is high in antioxidants as well.
High in good fats including oleic and linoleic acid, it can help your immune system, your joints, and muscles, your mood and cognition, and can reduce the risk of chronic illness and heart disease.
It is very high in B vitamins and vitamin E as well as folate and magnesium.
Peanut butter is a no-brainer just on bread or toast, but it is a wonderful ingredient in many kinds of cooking.
It makes a great addition to banana bread or carrot or fruit muffins, goes well with anything chocolate and in ice cream or cookies.
It is also a magical ingredient in savory dishes, and can be added to soups and stews, dips and salad dressing or stir-fry and curries, and so much more.
Why is Peanut Butter not good?
For many people, peanut butter isn’t an option. As many as 5 million Americans suffer from peanut allergy, and while many of them will grow out of this when they leave childhood behind, around 80% will retain this allergy all of their lives.
Peanut butter contains some substances that can be harmful to people, including aflatoxins, which are carcinogenic. The long-term effect of aflatoxins is not yet known, but some human studies have made connections with stunted growth both mentally and physically, as well as some cancers.
For these reasons, some people prefer to stay away from peanut butter. Fortunately, there are some magnificent alternatives you can try.
Natural Nut Butter Alternatives
The heart and body healthy powers of the good fats in peanut butter can be found in other nut butters as well, without the risks of allergic reaction or long-term effects.
Almonds are awesome – high in nutrients and minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamin E, they also lower blood pressure and help your heart.
Almond butter is a great source of slow-release energy, so it is a wonderful snack on wholegrain toast or added ingredient into your banana smoothie.
Lower in fat than peanut butter, cashew butter is a rich and sweet alternative, which goes very well in savory dishes such as curries. It is high in iron, folate, magnesium and phosphorous and is also super heart-healthy.
Macadamia nut butter
An excellent source of healthy fats and good oils, macadamia nut butter is wonderful for your heart and your cholesterol.
We don’t mean Nutella, which admittedly is pretty awesome tasting (although full of saturated fat and sugar), but natural hazelnut butter. A great source of omega-3, fiber, manganese, copper and vitamin E, it does have less plant-based protein than peanut butter.
This alternative is SO good – healthy and delicious. It is high in protein, fiber, and potassium and has more healthy fatty acids that peanut butter.
Almond and pistachio butter is another great option.
Pecans are super good for you, high in healthy fatty acids as well as fiber, potassium and magnesium. It is high in saturated fat, however, so don’t have too much of this one.
Brazil nut butter
Brazil nut butter is high in fiber and also really good for digestive health. It is a wonderful substitute for peanut butter in sweet dishes like desserts, as well as lovely on toast.
Another alternative you could try is walnut butter, which is high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins. It lacks some of the benefits of other nut butters though as it is low in protein yet high in saturated fat. A yummy alternative, but to be used sparingly.
You can also look into some completely nut-free alternatives to these spreads as well, including sunflower seed butter, coconut butter, and soynut butter.
Tahini, which is a spread made from toasted sesame seeds, has been popular in Middle Eastern cooking for centuries. The rest of the world is now figuring out how tasty and versatile this spread is, in dips, curries, salad dressings, and even on toast with jam.
Sesame seeds are super-healthy for cholesterol and heart, as well as being high in vitamin B1, iron, calcium, magnesium, iron, and fiber.
Another interesting alternative is pumpkin seed butter. Pumpkin seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and also are a fantastic source of protein, beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber.
You can buy nuts or seeds and make your own natural butters at home, or look through the range we have available at Eric’s. All natural, with no preservatives or additives, they are usually just enhanced with simple things like honey, salt, cinnamon or vanilla.
Ask our staff for their favorite recommendation today.