In a previous article we discussed the benefits of almonds and answered the question of ‘are almonds good for you?’ Most of the recent studies indicate that almonds are a great way to reduce LDL cholesterol because they are full of monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E and fiber. Eating raw dry-roasted almonds every single day may get monotonous so many people want to have options to change their diet a little from day to day. So the question now becomes, ‘is almond butter good for you?’
Everyone is familiar with peanut butter. Who hasn’t had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Besides that, there are many ways to enjoy peanut butter, even just enjoying it by itself is a pleasure. However, we want to get the heart-healthy benefits of almonds. It is easy to replace almond butter for anything you use peanut butter for. It has a distinct taste that is similar enough to peanut butter that it is easy for those that think they can’t make the switch.
Are almond butter benefits equal to what you can get from whole almonds?
In a 2003 study conducted at Stanford University three forms of almonds were tested. Raw almonds, roasted salted almonds and roasted almond butter were given to volunteers that had high cholesterol. Along with a diet that is considered heart-healthy each volunteer consumed around 3.5 ounces of one form of almonds every day. After four weeks it was shown that all three produced a drop in bad cholesterol levels (LDL), though raw almonds seemed to have produced a higher drop in LDL levels. Roasted almond butter also provided a slight increase in good cholesterol (HDL). The study (Journal of the American College of Nutrition) concluded that:
“These results suggest that unblanched almonds—whether raw, dry roasted, or in roasted butter form—can play an effective role in cholesterol-lowering, plant-based diets.”
Is almond butter good for you?
From the results of this recent study it seems that the benefits of almond butter are close to what you would get if you consumed raw unroasted almonds. As with almonds, caution must be taken in regards to the calories that you consume. You do not want to trade the positive almond butter benefits with the negative effect of weight gain. It may be easier to regulate your almond consumption with whole almonds as you can eat those one at a time. One ounce of whole almonds, which is around 25 nuts, provides the same benefit as 2 tablespoons of almond butter. A good snack to incorporate almond butter into your diet is by spreading two measured tablespoons of it on toasted whole grain bread.