The famous almond butter of today came from the times of ancient Greeks and Romans. The Greeks would call almonds as “Greek nuts”, claiming that they first grew them. The making of butter or pastes from nuts is an age-old practice.
In recent times, almond butter has been very popular due to its sweet and salty taste along with rich nutrients. To help you decide whether or not to get a jar of almond butter, we’ve stirred up facts about what almond butter is and what are the substitutes for almond butter to have on the go.
Any health-conscious person will love the nutty almond butter for its core benefits and have some excellent alternatives ready to use for emergencies.
What is Almond Butter?
Almond butter is a paste made from ground almonds as the name suggests. In markets, there are mainly two types of jars of almond butter available. These are- “stir” and “no-stir” jars of butter. The “stir” formula is prepared through the separation during processing, and the “non-stir” is mixed.
This is the reason you find some almond butter jars to have a crunchy paste and other jars to have a smooth paste. The almonds used to make this butter can be either raw or roasted. It is sometimes called “marzipan”. Almonds are tree nuts and thus provide protein, salts, and natural sugar.
Why is it Different?
Almond butter tastes a lot different from the regular dairy. Unlike normal butter, almond butter doesn’t turn solid while in the fridge. Butter made from whole milk has excessive saturated fat that causes heart diseases.
On the other hand, almond butter provides monounsaturated fats which raise HDL cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol. There are usually no additives to almond butter other than natural ones like flax, chia seeds, and hemp.
Tree nuts like almonds have a rich flavor to them that makes them suitable for Thai foods and salad dressings. It’s salty and sweet at the same time. Its butter is quite different from regular butter in terms of taste and quality.
Almond Butter Health Benefits
Almond butter is, in one word, healthy. It has many nutritional benefits that make it a part of the doctor’s recommendation, which is the Mediterranean style diet. Almond butter’s health benefits include-
- It is rich in monounsaturated fats that lower the risks of cardiovascular diseases. If you take almond butter four times a week, it reduces the risk of heart disease by almost 35%.
- Almond butter contains a lot of magnesium, and this allows the proper flow of blood and salts in the body. Thus, it helps to maintain blood pressure. Magnesium in almonds helps lower blood pressure as well. When you have a magnesium deficiency, your blood pressure goes up rapidly.
- It is a good source of energy. Almonds have lots of protein in them along with vitamin E and flavonoids.
- With the rise in diabetic patients nowadays, almond butter is super healthy for people at risk of diabetes. That’s because its sugar content is low and has a low glycemic index. It is also healthy as it has many useful antioxidants that prevent the sharp rise of blood sugar levels.
- One ounce of almonds contains almost 3.5 grams of fiber and just 14 grams of fat. Out of that, 9 grams of the fat is healthy and monounsaturated. Researchers have proved that fibers and protein present in almonds help to reduce hunger. Due to this, the almond butter intake helps to lose weight easily.
- Almond butter helps to lower bad cholesterol in the body and increases HDL, i.e. good cholesterol in the blood. A study showed that 20% of calories from almonds reduced LDL cholesterol levels by around 12.4 mg/dL.
Substitutes for Almond Butter
Almond butter might not always be available in the market, or you may just run out. In that case, you need an easy alternative. Here’s a list:
Sunflower Seed Butter
If you are unfortunately allergic to peanut and almonds, this is a good option for you. Sunflower seed butter is almost the same as almond butter in terms of nutrition contains, even more, monounsaturated fats that almond butter alongside vitamin E (3.6 milligrams almost).
It also has more folic acid, but the fiber content is lesser and the taste is different. However, you can easily swap almond butter for sunflower seed butter on a toast or bread.
This is a distinct and common alternative for almond butter. Peanuts are legumes, unlike almonds which are tree nuts. Compared to almond butter, it is much sweeter and smoother as a paste or spread.
Besides, jars of almond butter have oils at the top that you need to mix it up when spreading on a toast, but peanut butter is more creamy and homologous. Peanut butter isn’t as healthy as almond, but it is a good alternative.
Cashew nuts are actually not nuts at all. These are fruits that have the same nutritional properties as almonds. They help to lower bad cholesterol and rich in minerals and antioxidants. The flavor is different, but it does go with almost anything that almond butter goes.
At the same time, you should remember that cashew butter has more saturated fats and isn’t rich in vitamin E, but they provide vitamin K, which is absent in almond butter.
This might seem like a strange substitute, but it does work. Greek yogurt is rich in protein as it comes from milk and has lots of calories. It’s a suitable replacement for almond butter in case of baking. However, if you’re looking for weight loss, you should look for something else.
Black Bean Paste
Black beans are healthy as they have a lot of minerals, protein, and vitamins. If blended with some water or vegetable oil, it gets even healthier. This kind of paste is suitable for making cakes, muffins, and brownies.
If you are looking for a smooth spread with all the benefits of almond butter, avocado is your answer. Avocados are healthy as they have omega 3 fatty acids, folate, magnesium, and vitamin E.
You can always use hummus, honey, or regular hazelnut spread to replace almond butter. If you can’t get it anywhere in your area, any fruit spread works like a charm too.
That’s about all that you need to know what almond butter is and how it can be easily swapped for an almond butter substitute to meet your needs.