With such a wide variety of nut and seed butters available at your local supermarket it can be difficult to figure out just which options are the best for your health. Different nuts and seeds provide different health benefits, but they all contain some proportion of protein, heart healthy fats, and fiber. The spreads that contain added ingredients are the ones that become not so healthy. Let's compare my favorite healthy nut and seed butter spreads...
Nut Butter Nutrition Comparison, per 2 Tbsp:
Peanut Butter, unsalted/unsweetened:
16g total fat
2g saturated fat
*Peanuts are a great source of heart healthy fats, but also contain some saturated fats. They are full of fiber and protein, making a peanut butter a healthy source of energy to pair with a carbohydrate source for a snack or meal.
Almond Butter, unsalted/unsweetened:
17g total fat
1.5g saturated fat
*Almonds are lower in saturated fat than peanuts, and they also contain a high amount of the heart healthy fats. They are also high in fiber and protein, providing the body with nutrient-dense energy to last all day.
20g total fat
2g saturated fat
*Sunflower seeds also contain high amounts of heart healthy fats, as well as 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. Sunbutter tends to taste a little more like a regular peanut butter than almond butter does. Sunbutter is also a good source of fiber and protein for long-lasting energy.
When choosing a nut/seed butter, always look at the ingredients label. For the healthiest option, the only ingredient listed should be the nut or seed the spread is made out of. If you prefer salted nut butter and do not need a restricted sodium diet, the salted variety will be okay. Avoid any nut or seed butters that contain added ingredients such a hydrogenated oils (another word for trans fats), preservatives, or sugars. Many popular brands of nut and seed butters add these types of ingredients to make the spreads taste better. One thing you want to always remember, their goal is to sell their product. If it tastes good, more people will purchase it.
Have you ever noticed that some nut butters have oil separating on the top layer in the jar? This is actually a good sign! If the natural oils from the nutbutter separate in the jar, this means that it is a natural nut butter spread. All of the brands who sell nut butters in which the oil does not separate have added ingredients to stabilize the product to prevent the oil from separating. For the least processed and healthiest nut or seed butters, focus on finding one with only one or two ingredients, nuts/seeds and salt, if desired, and with oil separation on top!
Now get out there and get your nut butter on, folks! :)