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What is Almond Butter?
As the name implies, almond butter is an increasingly popular variation on traditional peanut butter, using almonds instead of peanuts. Boasting more minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber than normal peanut butter, almond butter is known to fill you up even quicker, but it doesn’t have quite as much protein as peanut butter. In terms of calories, they are also quite similar – at approximately 100 calories per tablespoon.
Almond butter has a sweet taste and is produced by blending roasted or raw almonds; this organic treat can be spread on toast, used for sandwiches or as a dip, and blended in sauces, spreads, curries, and other popular foods. It is excellent for baking applications and adds a unique earthy bite to desserts, whereas peanut butter can often be overwhelming in its flavor.
Almond Butter Nutrition
Almond butter is an excellent nutritional source, and while it is comparable to peanut butter in certain ways, it is also superior to others. As mentioned, there are about 100 calories per tablespoon of almond butter, but that primarily comes from protein and fiber, rather than basic carbohydrates. Each tablespoon also possesses an impressive 2 grams of protein, along with very high omega-3 fatty acid levels, which are unsaturated fats and thus good for heart health. When it comes to minerals and vitamins, almond butter delivers notable amounts of vitamin E, phosphorous, copper, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron. Finally, each tablespoon of almond butter also contains 1 gram of dietary fiber.
Almond Butter Health Benefits
The most impressive health benefits of almond butter include its ability to help improve the appearance of the skin, regulate diabetes, aid in weight loss, improve the metabolism and protect the cardiovascular system, among others.
Many people overlook the fact that almonds are a rich source of antioxidants, including vitamin E. You can get 25% of your daily requirement for this vitamin from a single tablespoon of this specialty nut butter. This and other omega-3 fatty acids can act as antioxidants in your body, helping to reduce oxidative stress and reduce chronic disease in the form of wrinkles, age spots or blemishes.
Since there is a very low level of carbohydrates in this nut butter, it will prevent the spikes and drops in blood sugar that you often get from other easy snack foods. In fact, the blood sugar-regulating properties of this butter make it a favorite for diabetics around the world.
With high concentrations of fiber and protein, but a relatively low level of calories, this type of nut butter is ideal for those trying to lose weight or boost their energy levels in the midst of a strict diet.
Prevents Heart Issues
Although there is a high level of fat in almonds, it comes in the form of unsaturated fat, many of which the body needs to balance cholesterol levels and protect the heart against conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
The energy you derive from proteins and fats is far greater than what you get from basic carbohydrates, meaning that this nut butter can help increase your metabolic level for a longer time, helping to optimize many different functions in your body.
Treats Chronic Diseases
If you suffer from inflammation, chronic pain, stomach disorders or other health issues potentially caused by the activity of free radicals, research has found that almond butter is able to lower your risk of chronic diseases.
How to Make Almond Butter?
If you want to make almond butter at home, it is surprisingly easy, and much less expensive than if you purchase it in stores.
Step 1 – To begin, gather 1-2 cups of almonds (roasted or raw, depending on the flavor you want.)
Step 2 – Place the almonds in the blender on high for 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt before blending.
Step 3 – Every 2 minutes, stop the blender and push down the almond chunks from the walls with a spatula. Add more sea salt, to taste, if necessary.
Step 4 – Once the almonds are completely crushed and in a consistent, liquid state, pour the almond butter into a small jar or airtight container.
Step 5 – Store these containers in the refrigerator so the butter can settle and thicken.
Note: Homemade almond butter should keep for at least a month if you store it properly, while store-bought varieties will be good for 3-6 months.