Whether you are a meat eater or not does not restrict the ability to explore other protein alternatives such as found in the magical world of nut butters. When speaking of nut butters, one cannot limit oneself to the first nut that comes to mind, popular with grape jelly and strawberry jam since childhood. No. There are so many more options in the world of nut butters than that of the simple peanut, and gratefully so. Especially in a day and age where peanuts can kill. Enough to make one stick to burgers and sausage any day.
Opening up to the wide world of nut butters available on the market can be quite a liberating and joyful experience. Though many have heard of and tried almond butter and have even made it the new household favorite, what of pecan, walnut, cashew and pumpkin seed butter? Yes, there are many options to choose from. There is even sesame butter and soy nut butter, and probably a few others being left out of comment, but you get the point.
What are the benefits of these lovely smashed and pressed nuts? Well, each one has its own nutritional profile to brag and unique flavor, but all of them are incredibly great sources of protein for the vegetarian and meat-eater alike. Sometimes it is nice to have options and one needs to look no farther than the blessed nut family for a tissue building, flavorful delight. Each tablespoon of nut butter contains roughly 3 grams of protein, so a healthy scoop lends to a proper serving of protein that can be dished up several times in the day.
Traditional Peanut Butter
Most peanut butter ought to be avoided, as it often contains added sugar and alarmingly evil hydrogenated oils. If you haven’t heard, hydrogenated oils, like found in margarine, clog the receptor sites of essential fatty acids making it impossible for your body to intake good fats. This is a problem, because it is very hard to remove the harmful fats once they are in the body. Hydrogenation is a process that makes oils last longer and shelf stable, less likely to go rancid, but this is no favor to your body. Peanut butter which does not need refrigeration can often be found with hydrogenated oil on the label and should be avoided at all costs to your health.
Let’s look at some of the other butters available in their natural state, which must of course be refrigerated to keep them fresh. All the butters mentioned here are wonderful sources of both protein and good fats.
Take walnut butter, for example. As one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts can help lower negative cholesterol and protect the heart as well as contributing to brain nutrition and joint health. A delicious little hummus recipe popped up in the search for sources on this article asking one to combine walnut butter with a bit of lemon juice, garlic and chick-peas for a delightful, cardiovascular-friendly dip like no other.
Cashew butter is a wonderfully mild nut butter high in protein, low in fat. Rich in B vitamins, Cashew butter is great for a metabolism boost and also helps improve muscle and skin tone as well as cellular health. Cashews have a creamy dairy-like texture and a bit of cashew butter in a smoothie with water can make a creamy alternative to milk while boosting the protein content and good taste.
Pecan and Pumpkin
Pecan butter is a great butter for detoxing the system. Full of antioxidants – vitamin A, C, E, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and zinc, the rich flavor of pecan speaks to its rich source of nutrients along side its abundant protein. Then there is pumpkin seed butter, an excellent source of zinc. Good both for male prostate health and the immune system, among other things. Pumpkin seed butter is another great source of omega fatty acids and calcium.
Almond butter is most popular among nut butter alternatives, a great source of meat-free protein. High in calcium, magnesium and potassium almonds help to feed the nervous system, strengthen bones and improve muscle function – important for anyone, but especially athletes. For reducing risk of heart disease and cancer, almonds are incredible, as they boast the highest food source Vitamin E, providing 1/3 of the recommended daily allowance in just one small serving. What a gift!
Nut butters are a beautiful way to curb the meat intake and cut back on saturated animal fats while finding a healthy protein alternative and so much more. Easy to eat and versatile, one can find endless uses for incorporating nut butters into the diet. From spreading some on a slice of bread to eating spoonfuls mixed with superfood powders or sprucing up your favorite sauce or smoothie, let nut butters be your new best friend for protein and see how amazing you feel.
Written by: Stasia Bliss
“http://www.vrg.org/journal/vj2001nov/2001novnuts.htm” title=”Vegetarian Journal” target=”_blank”>Source 1
“http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nut-butters-count-proteins-fats-2177.html” title=”San Francisco Gate” target=”_blank”>Source 2