Which nut butter is for you?
Are you nutty about nut butter? As you probably already know, as well as tasting great, they are serious nutritional powerhouses, packed with nutrients and healthy fats.
To make it even better, studies have shown that eating nuts is associated with improvements in cholesterol levels and reduced risks of some types of cancer.
It’s not just about the peanut butter anymore; you can now take your pick from an utterly delicious range of nutty creations. But, navigating your way down the spread aisle can be overwhelming, and how do you know which nut butter to opt for? Each nut butter has its own unique blend of nutrients. So depending on what kind of nutritional hit you require, here is a quick guide to help you decide which jar of nutty goodness to choose.
The one for instant energy
Try: Meridian Coconut and Peanut Butter, £2.49*
Why it works: This is a delicious sweet and creamy combination of coconut, peanuts and honey. Nutritionist Frida Harju explains, ‘coconut butter can be a good alternative to peanut butter, especially as it helps deliver fast energy to your body and speed up your metabolism, making weight loss easier.’ In addition, the honey and peanuts are also a great source of energy, adding a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Try slathering this on toast for breakfast for slow releasing energy.
The one for when you’re feeling tired
Try: Biona Cashew butter, £3.99
Why it works: A study from Harvard Medical School states that any form of cashew butter has positive benefits for your diet, by protecting your heart and preventing cardiovascular conditions. Furthermore, nutritionist Steven Brown says that cashews are: ‘high in protein and low in sugar, as well as providing a great source of unsaturated fats, magnesium and iron. Magnesium and iron contribute to the reduction in tiredness and fatigue and support energy yielding metabolism.’ This butter is great for anyone who enjoys the smooth creamy taste, but wants an alternative to peanut or conventional butter.
The one for people on the go
Try: PBB Powdered Peanut Butter Original, £9.35
Why it works: Still get your nut fix and chuck some of this in a smoothie or shake for while you’re on the move. PBB is essentially powdered peanuts that have been pressed to remove much of the oil and fats. This makes for a versatile alternative and, according to Harju, it ‘has as many as 70 per cent fewer calories and fats than traditional peanut butters.’ Its high protein content will help you feel fuller for longer, and Peter Cox, clinical nutritionist at OMNIYA, adds, ‘peanut butter is rich in potassium, which makes it a perfect post exercise snack.’
The one for nut allergies
Try: Eskal Freenut Butter smooth, £5.50
Why it works: If you feel like you’re missing out on all the nutty-ness, then this makes for a convincing alternative. A nutritiously packed spread made from sunflower seeds which according to Cox ‘contain significant amounts of selenium as well as vitamins E, B1 and B6, a combination which suggests an anti-stress and anxiety lowering effect.’ In addition, as well as being wheat, gluten and dairy free, Brown explains that this spread provides ‘a good amount of protein, healthy fats and magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which are known to contribute to normal energy metabolism.’
The one for snacking addicts
Try: Pip & Nut Almond Butter Squeeze pack, £1.19
Why it works: Nut butter is a delicious, energy-dense snack to get you through the day – but for those who can’t resist eating this yummy treat out of the jar (admit it – we’ve all done it!), these portion-controlled sachets are a winner. Squeezed out on to an oatcake, or used for a topping for your morning porridge, these packs provide just the right amount of nut butter to keep you going throughout the day. Plus, according to a study by the Institute of Food Technologists, people who regularly consumed almonds as a mid-morning snack reportedly felt less hungry and ate less at lunch and dinner. They are also the most nutritionally dense nut and, according to Harju, they are ‘the healthiest nut around; rich in vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, folate, iron and calcium, which speed up your metabolic rate.’ Sounds like a winner to us!
Which nut butter is your favourite? Tweet us @healthymag – we love to hear from you!
*All products available from hollandandbarrett.com