What is Almond Butter?
As the name suggests, almond butter is a light brown creamy paste made from either raw or slow roasted almonds that have been ground to release their oils. It can be crunchy or smooth and has a delicate sweet flavour.
Good quality almond butter contains just almonds, nothing else. And it’s really easy to make your own. All you need is a blender and almonds. Simply whizz them up until the butter forms, pour into a jar and store in the fridge.
Sometimes almond butter can separate when it’s stored (unless it’s emulsified). The oil will come to the top but do not worry, this is normal. Just stir it before using. As it’s quite high in fat, it’s important to always store your butter in the fridge to make sure it doesn’t become rancid.
Almond butter is a slightly healthier alternative to peanut butter and is especially useful for those with a peanut allergy or if you just don’t like peanuts.
Because almond butter only contains is almonds, the health benefits are similar to the nut itself.
It is packed full of nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamin E and some of the B vitamins. And as an excellent source of fibre, it’s great for healthy digestion too.
Protein is essential for tissue regeneration and repair so eating protein this way is especially good for athletes. This is because the protein digests slowly, providing a steady source of energy during training and workouts.
According to a study carried out by Pennsylvania State University, the fats in almonds (low in saturated fat and high in unsaturated fat) together with its other nutrients and phytosterols work together to reduce the ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood. This makes almonds and almond butter particularly helpful at preventing diseases of the heart. It is also a good source of thiamine, which is needed for a healthy heart.
Eating almond butter regularly may also positively affect insulin sensitivity. This means it can also play a role in reducing the risk of diabetes. Studies have also found that including almond butter in your diet can help with weight loss and management as it helps reduce hunger. This is because its low in carbs and high in protein.
Because its a rich source of copper, manganese, riboflavin, vitamin E and zinc, almond butter helps protect the cells of the body from damaging free radicals. Plus, the levels of riboflavin and zinc contribute to the maintenance of healthy skin, eyes and hair helping to support proper nervous system function.
But a word of warning, almonds contain small amounts of oxalates. People with kidney and gallbladder issues sometimes have trouble breaking down oxalates and should consult a doctor before including almond butter in their diet.
You can add almond butter to smoothies too. Pair it with strawberry, banana and berries for a perfect morning tonic. Or add a teaspoon to your protein shake for a more potent energy boosting drink.
That’s not all! You can add a dollop to your porridge or breakfast cereal, or include it in sauces for chicken, pasta, curries or oriental food. It also works well in cookies, cheesecakes, brownies and cakes.
Energy ball recipes including almond butter: