Want to learn more about almond butter nutrition? I decided to research this topic and compare almond butter to peanut butter, to see which is healthier.
First of all, almond butter. This is a really healthy food made from almonds (duh), a tree nut high in monounsaturated fat. Almonds also contain high levels of fiber, vitamin E, riboflavin, calcium, copper, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and manganese. That's a lot of nutrients. Almonds may help protect you against cancer and heart disease by virtue of their antioxidants and cholesterol-lowering fiber and fat.
However, there is a caveat to almond butter nutrition (which also applies to peanut butter, and any nut at all). It's high in fat. Now, this isn't necessarily bad; in fact, adding a little fat to an otherwise nutritious meal can help your body to absorb more of the nutrients (particularly fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin E). But you should eat almond butter in moderation, because too much can really add up, calorie-wise.
Better than Peanut Butter?
Now for the almond butter versus peanut butter debate. Is one healthier than the other? Are they the same? is a common question, and there's some debate on this topic, but I'm going to tell you here that almond butter is BETTER for you than peanut butter. Here's why.
If you compare the nutrition details for the two, you'll see that they look very, very similar. However, there are differences that are not reflected in these numbers. For one thing, peanuts aren't a tree nut, like almonds; they're legumes. Also, because peanut butter is more mass produced, it often contains added ingredients that can be bad for you. For example, salt or trans fats, which are added to make the peanut butter taste better or last longer on the shelf. Many mass-produced peanut butters actually contain partially hydrogenated oils, but because they contain less than 0.5 grams per serving, they are allowed to write "0" after "Trans Fats" on the label (because it rounds down). This is a sneaky trick, so watch out for it.
Allergies and Carcinogens, oh my
Another reason is because more people have allergies to peanuts than to almond butter. So if allergies are a concern, it might be safer to stay away from peanuts (but ask your doctor or allergist to be sure). Lastly, peanuts contain aflatoxins, which are a known carcinogen.
What to Eat It With?
What are some healthy foods to eat along with your nutritious almond butter? Well, carrots and celery, often eaten with peanut butter, taste great with almond butter, too. They're also nutritious. You can, of course, make an AB&J (almond butter and jelly) sandwich. One of my favorite tricks when making an almond butter sandwich is to add Nutella (hazlenut-chocolate spread) and a banana, chopped up into little pieces.