I love almond butter and unless you’re allergic to it or hate the taste of it, so should you. As a certified nutritional therapist, I believe almond butter is one of the healthiest toppings you can add to a snack. But only if it’s a certain kind of almond butter. In fact, not all almond butter is healthy. Some almond butters may even harm your brain. Yikes! I’ll explain in a little bit….
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But first, let me explain why the kind of almond butter I use benefits your health. First, it’s loaded with fat. “Isn’t that bad for you,” you may be wondering? No! Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to get enough dietary fat. The fat in almond butter helps curb cravings for sugary snacks. Dietary fat also helps regulate hormones. If you don’t get enough fat in your diet, you may become cranky and irritable. Even your sex drive can crash if you eat an ultra low-fat diet.
Plus, there are lots of nutrients in almond butter, which I’ll also cover below.
In my recipe book, Making Cleansing Easier, I have a whole section of healthy snack recipes featuring my raw almond butter. If you want to make some almond butter at home, here’s a recipe that includes directions for making it.
But make sure you don’t just buy any almond butter at the store before trying my almond butter recipes. That’s because there are some health concerns with certain types of almond butter. Try my recipe, it isn’t hard, and you’ll never buy commercial nut butters again.
Almond Butter: Panic if it’s not Organic
Not all nut butters are healthy. Almonds are definitely one food that you want to purchase organic. When comparing how a crop is cultivated organically and conventionally, oftentimes, the methods are very similar. But not so with almonds. In fact, conventionally-grown almonds, the way they are processed, may pose serious hazards to your health. Nine pesticides were found by the USDA on conventional almonds crops. Three of them are neurotoxins. A fourth is a carcinogen. Furthermore, non-organic almonds, during the pasteurization process may use propylene oxide (PPO). PPO is most likely a carcinogen. [SOURCE]
In light of this, I always buy organic almonds. And if I’m at a farmer’s market that offers steam-pasteurized organic raw almonds, I go for those, even if it’s expensive. Steam-pasteurization preserves the nutritional integrity of the raw almond butter. Plus, they’re free of chemicals and pesticides.
Raw Almond Butter: Reasons To Make It At Home
Making raw almond butter at home is easy. And the reasons I love making it at home rather than buying it are:
- It saves money
- It tastes better
- It’s better for your health
Sure, you can buy raw almond butter at a store. But when you make your own, you can fine-tune the ingredients and consistency to your liking.
And some stores only offer roasted almonds. The problem with roasted almonds is two-fold. First, roasted almonds most often come from conventionally-grown almond trees. And as you just learned, conventional almond crops contain lots of pesticides. Second, the roasting process involves cooking the almonds at high heat. This heat destroys enzymes and some of the other nutrients.
Raw Almond Butter: Health Benefits
A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association suggests almond butter may be part of a heart-healthy diet. The researchers advise consuming about an ounce and a half of almonds every day. They’re a great substitute for high-sugar snacks. That’s because they’ll help you feel full for longer. And they won’t lead to an energy crash like sugar does.
The reason raw almond butter is good for your heart is it contains unsaturated fatty acids. About one-third of the fats in almonds are monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are the all-star nutrient in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet. In addition, raw almond butter contains linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is a healthy polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid. Some health experts suggest limiting omega-6’s in the diet. That’s because most people consume 15 or even 20 times more 6’s than omega 3’s. But the 6’s in raw almond butter are far healthier than the 6’s that are ubiquitous in processed foods.
Moreover, raw almond butter is a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. And it’s also a rich source of vitamin E, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. One particular mineral I’ll highlight about raw almond butter is magnesium. Just one tablespoon of almond butter contains about 15% of your recommended daily value. I make sure I get plenty of magnesium in my diet because it may prevent cramps.