When choosing a nut butter, the dilemma was once very simple – crunchy or smooth?
These days, however, you’ll find the shelves bursting with choice.
From variations on the classic peanut, you can also find almond butter, cashew butter, walnut butter, hazelnut butter, macadamia butter and more.
In this article, we’ll be focusing on almond butter, or more specifically, almond butter V peanut butter and the health benefits of almond butter in comparison.
Much like peanut butter, or any other nut butter for that matter, almond butter is the process of blending almonds into a fine paste.
As they’ve grown in popularity nut butters have been touted as a wellness food, with Instagram nutritionists lining up to show off their nutty creations.
As with any nutritional trend, it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the facts.
Almonds are an energy-dense food which as a result are high in calories.
Most of these calories come from the nut’s fat content, which is usually from unsaturated fat.
There are two sub-types of unsaturated fat – polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.
Most commonly available nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios) are high in monounsaturated fat.
Along with their healthy fats, almond butter also contain:
Different nuts have different nutritional strengths, too.
Almonds are high in calcium, pistachios have lots of vitamin B6, peanuts are best for protein whereas Brazil nuts are rich in selenium.
Of course, taking in too many calories, even from healthy fats, results in weight gain if you can’t burn off more calories than you’re eating.
This is why, despite their many health-giving properties, you shouldn’t get carried away with portion sizes when it comes to nut butters.
Around 30g, or two tablespoons (not heaped!), is about right for one portion.
|1 tablespoon of plain; unsalted almond butter (16g)||Nutrients per serving|
Almond butter is a diet-friendly source that is suitable for:
However, you should always read the label before purchase to make sure.
To be honest, it’s a fairly even contest when you look at the nutritional value.
Almond butter you could argue is slightly healthier as it has more vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Although both nut butters are roughly equal in terms of calories and sugar.
Peanut butter does however have more protein than almond butter so it’s pretty close!
Due to the fact that almond butter is made from ground almonds, they share many of the same health benefits as whole almonds.
Almond butter may be high in calories, but it is also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are good for your health.
Because almond butter has a high number of monosaturated fats, it is thought to lower LDL which is linked to “bad” cholesterol and raise HDL which is considered “good” cholesterol.
Almond butter may also help improve your heart health as it contains nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and L-arginine which are all thought to lower your risk of heart disease.1
The recommended daily allowance for calcium in the UK is 700mg for adults aged between 19 and 64.
Almond butter contains a high calcium level which is important for bone health.
It is also considered that the magnesium in almond butter also helps your body absorb the calcium better, which supports bone health.
Some studies show that almonds may help adults with high cholesterol lose weight.
However, there has not yet been enough research into almond butter to illustrate that it has the same effect.2
Like other nut butters, almond butter is fairly versatile.
We’ve come up with ten ideas that can help you add a bit of almond butter to your life.
Add it on top of your rolled oats or porridge as a nice nutty treat.
Use it as an alternative to syrup on your pancakes, waffles and French toast
Add almond butter and diced apples to cooked quinoa for a high-protein breakfast
Blend a banana, kale, almond butter, almond milk, chia seeds, protein powder, and ice for an awesome smoothie
Mix it with granola to make some healthy protein bites
Make your own almond latte by warming up some milk, stirring in one teaspoon of almond butter until dissolved
Spread some almond butter on a rice cake for a nice afternoon snack
Combine almond butter with tamari and minced ginger for an Asian-inspired sauce that goes great on salmon, prawns and other seafood
Use almond butter as a dip for your vegetables like celery or carrots
Substitute your peanut butter for almond butter for a new take on pad Thai
Almond butter has many health benefits, as listed above.
However, when buying almond butter you should look at the ingredients and look out for hidden sugars or oils, which can add extra calories and higher fat content.
One of the most important things to consider is nut allergies, as many people are allergic to tree nuts, including almonds.
Symptoms of tree nut allergies include:
Almond butter is also high in oxalates, so if you have a history of kidney stones, or you believe you are at risk of developing them, you should avoid almond butter and limit the number of almonds you eat.3
Nut butters are very healthy when included in moderation within a balanced diet.
Nut butters make a delicious, filling and nutritious addition to any meal or snack. However – as with most things – moderation is key.
Last updated: 30 September 2021
Joined Holland & Barrett: Apr 2019
Masters Degree in Toxicology and BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a Clinical Toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products.
After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.