I often post recipes with almond butter and have even more coming up so I thought I’d take a minute to tell you why I love almonds, or more specifically – almond butter, so much.
I’m guessing we can all agree that peanut butter is probably the most beloved of all nut butters. I love making my own homemade peanut butter and using it in sweet treats like these healthy peanut butter balls and flourless gluten-free peanut butter cookies.
It’s a nutritious, key ingredient in a number of dishes and a staple in any American pantry. Although peanut butter is a delicious source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, there’s another alternative that has been gaining more popularity recently (or, you know… in the last decade or so).
Enter almond butter! Not only is it an awesome ingredient to add to various recipes, but almond butter also has several evidence-based health benefits. Here are 7 amazing almond butter benefits that you should know about.
1. Good for your brain
According to the Journal of Nutrition and Aging, besides fiber and folate, almonds have a wide range of nutrients such as vitamin E, a key nutrient that slows down the aging of brain cells that might impact memory.
Almonds are also known to pack a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to delay age-related brain decline, and act as antioxidants in the brain to reduce inflammation.
Also, almonds are rich in Vitamin B6, which aids the production of neurotransmitter chemicals that improve communication between brain cells.
Last but not least, zinc, which almonds also have plenty of, is a mineral known to boost the immune system, which may prevent bacterial and viral infections that can damage brain cells.
Clearly, almond butter will keep your brain sharp and healthy.
2. Good for your cholesterol
Monosaturated fats, which almond butter has plenty of, are the kind of fat that help you get rid of the bad cholesterol that builds up on your arteries, known as LDL (low-density lipoprotein).
Yeah, no one wants that. Did you know that a 2 tablespoon serving of almond butter contains 1/4 more of those good fats than peanut butter?
It seems like so often (at least to me!), what’s good for you doesn’t taste like it. But when it comes to almond butter and its benefits, it’s clearly not the case.
3. Good for your glycemic index
So basically, the glycemic index lets you know how much and how fast a certain food raises your blood sugar levels.
In this 2011 peer-reviewed medical journal called Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, researchers concluded that the consumption of 2 ounces of almonds, which amount to approximately 45 almonds, was associated with lower levels of fasting glucose and fasting insulin.
Not only is almond butter a delicious and healthy alternative, but it’s also especially good for people with diabetes, as it may help reduce the rise in glucose and insulin levels, according to research.
4. Good for appetite control
Due to its high fiber content, one of the many amazing almond butter benefits is appetite suppression. Here’s another study, this one published by the MDPI.
A sample of 42 female participants was recruited to test whether the choice of almonds as a mid-morning snack would reduce overall hunger. The study concluded that almonds suppress those mid-morning, high-fat foods cravings much better than other snacks, like crackers. The reason is that almonds are a slow-digesting, nutrient-dense food that will make you feel full longer than other average carby snacks.
But if you really love your crackers, these keto cheese crackers are made with almond flour so you can enjoy the benefits of almonds while enjoying your crackers.
5. Good for your gut
Studies suggest that almonds feed good bacteria living in your gut, serving as prebiotics. “So, what’s that?” you may ask.
Prebiotics are types of dietary fiber that feed your gut with healthy bacteria. In turn, all that healthy bacteria produces nutrients that ensure you have a healthy digestive system.
Having a healthy gut is essential for your well-being. It contributes to a strong immune system, improved mood and prevents a plethora of annoying (to serious) issues such as upset stomach, sleep disturbances and weight gain.
6. Good for your skin
Did you know that Cleopatra was said to include almonds in her skincare regimen? Obviously, I’m not suggesting you spread almond butter on your face and sit in your tub drinking a glass of wine after a hard day’s work, although I wouldn’t judge you if you did.
But even back then, humans were aware of the benefits. Apart from vitamin E, which we already mentioned is a key ingredient that may promote slow aging, almond butter is a rich source of zinc, vitamin B and copper, which are all key nutrients that aid in keeping the integrity of healthy skin.
7. Good for your bones
One tablespoon of almond butter contains approximately 50 mg of calcium and 45 mg of magnesium. Not bad for a 100-calorie treat, right?
But here’s more science, according to this study in Metabolism Journal, based on the blood samples of 14 participants. Almond meal (which is just ground up almonds) was shown to reduce calcium release by 65%. We want to keep that calcium to keep our bones healthy!
So there you have it. From keeping you mentally sharp to helping you curb your appetite while improving your glycemic control, and helping you look young. All great reasons to include almond butter in your diet!
What to do with Almond Butter
If you’re really aiming at making the most of these almond butter benefits, you should really try making your own homemade almond butter. Not only it is the best way to preserve the nutritional value of almonds, but you also avoid all those extra added sugars, fats and preservatives that come with some brands of store-bought almond butter.
Also, you can have that amazing treat at a fraction of the price. All you need is roasted almonds, a food processor and 10 minutes!
Once you have your almond butter, you can try some of my favorite almond butter dessert recipes, like this vegan + paleo fudge, these almond flour chocolate chip cookies, no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies or bliss balls.