It may be hard to beat peanut butter when it comes to popularity, but does almond butter have any claim to fame when it comes to nutrition? We take a comparative look at the two popular nut butter pantry staples…
First Thing’s First
Peanut butter is a particularly popular kitchen cabinet staple, with 90 per cent of American homes stocking it. One of the problems when considering the health status of peanut butter is that traditional jars of the spread include additives, like processed vegetable oil, salt or sugar. So, the first thing you need to do if you are buying peanut butter, or almond butter for that matter, is to make sure it’s 100 per cent peanuts or almonds ground up into the paste. These can be found in some supermarkets and most health food stores.
Almond Butter vs Peanut Butter
There are plenty of similarities and differences when it comes to the taste and nutrition of peanut butter and almond butter. Let’s take a look…
As Sources Of Heart-Healthy Fats
Both spreads are rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which are good fats that can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. These healthy fats provide nutrients that help develop and maintain the body’s cells and help your body absorb certain vitamins. While both almond butter and peanut butter are good sources of monounsaturated fats, almond butter is slightly richer, with 5 grams per tablespoon, compared to 3.3 grams in a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Verdict: Almond butter and peanut butter are pretty much tied when it comes to heart-healthy fats, with almond butter being slightly higher.
As Sources of Fiber
Most Americans, like many other countries around the world, don’t consume enough fiber. Peanut butter and almond butter are good sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber, with one tablespoon of peanut butter containing 1 gram of fiber, 0.3 grams of which is soluble fiber. Almond butter has quite a bit more fiber, with 1.6 grams in a tablespoon, 0.1 grams of that being soluble fiber. That means almond butter has more insoluble fiber than peanut butter, which passes through the digestive system almost completely unchanged, reducing the risk of hemorrhoids and constipation. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are good for you, and they can help regulate blood sugar levels, minimizing the likelihood of sugar crashes and cravings. While you’d have to eat far more peanut or almond butter to meet your daily recommended intake of fiber (21 to 38 grams per day), every little ounce of fiber you take in is beneficial and adds to your overall intake. Vegetables are some of the best options, along with whole grains, to meet most of your daily requirements.
Verdict: Again, this is pretty much a tie, with almond butter only just taking the win. But the overall intake is so minimal that either could be enjoyed in this case, depending on personal preference!
As A Source Of Protein
Almond butter and peanut butter are incredibly close when it comes to protein, with peanut butter just trumping almond butter. Peanut butter provides 4 grams of protein in a serving of one tablespoon, while almond butter provides 3.4 grams, so it really is very close! Protein is important for strength and muscle building, but it is also beneficial in aiding weight loss, especially when eaten with fiber, which both almond butter and peanut butter provide as well! When combined, protein and fiber fill you up and keep you fuller for longer, reducing the risk of a sugar crash or cravings.
Verdict: Peanut butter just beats almond butter in protein content, but only just! Both nut butters are good sources of protein.
As Sources Of Vitamin E
There is a clear winner when it comes to vitamin E, with almond butter providing four times as much as peanut butter. The fat-soluble vitamin occurs naturally in foods, like nuts, seeds and leafy greens, and is best known for its powerful antioxidant properties. It is important for a number of bodily processes, and helps protect cells from free radical molecules. Vitamin E is important for immune health, and, because of its protection at a cellular level, may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer development in the body.
Verdict: Almond butter wins this one by a landslide, providing four times as much of the fat-soluble vitamin. Peanut butter does, however, provide a decent dose of vitamin E, so you can still enjoy it instead of almond butter if desired.
As Sources Of Essential Minerals
Essential minerals are nutrients that the body needs to function properly, but cannot produce itself, meaning they have to be consumed. They include calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, sodium and fluoride. A tablespoon of almond butter contains 12% of your daily magnesium needs, 19% of your manganese needs, 4% of calcium, 3% of iron, potassium and zinc, 8% of phosphorus and 7% of copper. Peanut butter provides 0.5% of your daily calcium needs, 1.5% of iron and selenium, 6% of magnesium, nearly 5% of phosphorus, 3% of potassium and zinc, 4% of copper, and 11% of manganese. Calcium, magnesium and potassium are extremely important for bone health, development and maintenance, and both nut butters provide these three essential minerals.
Verdict: Almond butter wins again here, but only just. It provides more of your daily recommended intake of each essential mineral, but peanut butter does still provide them, and you only need them in small amounts each day.
And The Winner Is…
Okay, looking purely from a nutritional standpoint, almond butter is technically the winner, but we’re not going to take sides! That’s because, although almond butter does provide denser amounts of nutrients in fewer calories, the difference is so minuscule that it is not really necessary to choose. It’s not like we eat cups and cups of nut butters during the day, or have them as a major features in meals (if you do, then, don’t!!). Generally nut butters should be enjoyed in moderation, or used as ingredients or smaller features alongside other foods. In that case, you are still enjoying those nutritional benefits from either one! When it comes to price, peanut butter is generally cheaper, however, you do need to remember to go for the 100% stuff, not the supermarket salty, oily ones! When comparing the two from a calorie point-of-view, if that is important to you, they both have about 95 calories in one tablespoon, making them equal.
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