All nut butters are versatile and add creaminess, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and protein to your diet. Nut butter can serve as a healthful way to add richness to any dish or a satisfying snack on their own. Choosing natural varieties will ensure your nut butter doesn’t contain hydrogenated fat (aka: trans fat).
Here are 11, hard to argue, reasons to eat nut butter every day.
1. It’s delicious!
2. Nut butters contain a significant amount of fat, but the type of fat is predominantly monounsaturated fat, which lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol and appears to lower cardiovascular risk.
3. The healthy fat, in addition to the fiber and protein found in nuts, leads to greater satiation (feeling of fullness) and have been shown to have zero influence on body weight. One or 2 T of almond butter will keep you feeling fuller longer than say, a handful of pretzels.
4. A breakfast containing almonds may help stabilize blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. When your blood sugar is steady you often have more energy and are less likely to feel “starved” and give in to food cravings.
5. Nut butter is a great source of plant-based iron.
6. Almond butter provides about 50% of your daily needs for vitamin E.
7. Eating one ounce of tree nuts per week is associated with a lower prevalence of metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of risk factors that leads to diabetes and heart disease. Tree nuts include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts.
8. In research, people who ate more than ¼ ounce of tree nuts daily weighed less, had lower systolic blood pressure (the top number), higher HDL ("good") cholesterol and had lower intakes of sugar, saturated fats and sodium than those who didn't eat nuts.
9. When individuals with type 2 diabetes replaced a portion of the carbohydrates in their diets with two ounces of tree nuts daily, their total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, blood pressure and 10 year risk of coronary heart disease all declined.
10. Many nut butters, such as JEM nut butter, work excellent for satisfying your sweet tooth, whether eaten alone or with other food.
11. Walnut butter contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants called polyphenols. Both have anti-inflammatory properties that make them an important nutritional recommendation for people suffering from inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Bear in mind that despite their health benefits, nuts are relatively high in calories, so enjoy them in moderation. I usually eat nut butter with fruit - my favorites are JEM almond butter, cashew butter, and sunflower seed butter. How do you like to incorporate nut butter into your day?
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods