Peanut Butter vs Almond Butter
Peanut butter is a staple in many American homes. We use it in baking, smoothies, and to make the famous PB & J that we put into our kid’s favorite lunches.
But as much as we love peanut butter, it may not be the best option on the shelf as peanut allergies are on the rise, allergies that can be deadly. Because of this danger, peanut butter is now often banned in many public schools as it is considered to be a health risk.
Fortunately, another trend has arisen, and that is the popularity of nut butter, such as almond butter. Peanut butter and almond butter have a lot in common, but there are also some significant differences when it comes to quality and nutritional value.
Almond butter is quickly becoming known as the healthy alternative to peanut butter and for a good reason.
We may have grown up loving peanut butter, but when you compare the two side by side, there really is no contest. And picking peanut butter, although still a popular choice, may even be a harmful one.
How Did Peanut Butter Become So Popular?
Peanut butter had a long history dating back to the Aztecs but was not integrated into the modern world until 1904 when it was introduced at the St. Louis World Fair. The processing of peanut butter evolved over the next two decades.
The mass production of peanut butter served as a cheap source of protein for soldiers and the working class during World War I and World War II.
After the war, peanut butter became an item found in every household and a cultural icon. It seemed that peanut butter was here to stay, becoming one of the largest American industries.
However, in recent years peanut butter sales have slowly begun to decline, especially with the rise of alternatives like almond butter. This is not only because of the increase in peanut butter allergies but also because of other health risks that have arisen.
In 2008, an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning killed nine people and sent hundreds to the hospital, ending in the largest food recall in US history. This was all linked back to the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), a large peanut processing plant in Virginia who knowingly sold contaminated peanuts to the public.
After the outbreak, peanut sales suffered as many opted to avoid peanut products, resulting in an estimated loss of $1 billion dollars for the peanut industry.
Could Mold Be in Your Peanuts?
Contamination in peanuts can be a concern, and aflatoxin mold, in particular, contaminates peanuts and can cause liver damage. It is so common that the FDA allows trace amounts of aflatoxin to be present within foods.
And just because the FDA allows trace amounts, does not mean it is safe as there are two ways you can be affected by aflatoxin. The first is by consuming it in large quantities, which is rare and considered a poisoning, or over time where small amounts spread out can have adverse side effects, such as liver damage and stunted growth in children.
Peanuts are so susceptible to molds, like aflatoxin, because they are legumes, rather than nuts. Nuts are more protected from mold than legumes because nuts have a hard shell to protect them, a peanut pod is soft and permeable, making them more susceptible to mold. They are more at risk because unlike nuts peanuts grow underground where conditions can vary and support mold growth.
Turning peanuts into peanut butter can often cut down on the number of aflatoxins that can be present within the legume, but it cannot cancel it out altogether.
Other Unhealthy Side Effects of Peanuts
Contamination is not the only health concern you have to watch out for, but also the proteins found inside of the peanut called lectins. These can account for up to 10% of a peanuts total protein content and, over time, negatively impact your health.
Lectins are a group of proteins that bind to cell membranes and interfere with cellular regeneration.
One health concern is that lectins have the ability to damage the lining within the digestive system and lead to leaky gut syndrome. Your gut lining is there to decipher what to let into the bloodstream, keeping ‘bad’ stuff out and letting the ‘good’ stuff through. Cellular regeneration is crucial in repairing the lining of the gut when it is damaged, a common occurrence during normal digestion, but when you introduce lectins, cellular regeneration is slowed down. This can keep the gut from keeping the ‘bad’ stuff out of our system.
When we consume lectins, we are not able to digest them, and the body sends out antibodies to destroy them, creating chronic inflammation.
Peanuts vs Tree Nuts
Peanuts are not tree nuts, like almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc. A tree nut is a type of fruit that is made up of an inedible hard shell, containing a seed. This is not what defines a peanut.
Although peanuts are often considered to be a ‘nut,' they are in fact not a nut but a legume and are part of the same plant family as beans and peas.
They also grow underground, unlike tree nuts like almonds. This life underground is what makes them more susceptible to contamination, such as the growth of molds like aflatoxins.
Almonds and other tree nuts grow on trees, where there the environment is less likely to breed the bacteria that leads to mold.
Because peanuts are different than tree nuts, those you are allergic to peanuts are not typically allergic to almonds. This makes almond butter an excellent choice for those who are allergic to peanuts.
Peanut Butter vs Almond Butter: Nutritional Value
Almond butter is a great alternative to peanut butter because you have less risk of having an allergic reaction. It is also higher in vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
Compared to peanut butter, almond butter has almost three times a much vitamin E, which can lower the plaque in your arteries and reduce your risk of heart attack.
Almond butter is also better if you are trying to lose weight because it is full of fiber and this improves satiety, keeping you feeling fuller longer. This leads to fewer food cravings and a lower consumption of calories.
Both peanut and almond butter contains healthy fats, but almond butter has an advantage because it contains a higher amount of monounsaturated fat which is linked to reduced heart disease. In comparison, almond butter contains 25% more monounsaturated fat than traditional peanut butter.
Peanut butter, on the other hand, has a higher amount of saturated fat which can raise your cholesterol when consumed in large quantities, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
When it comes to nutritional value, almond butter significantly outweighs the nutritional value of peanut butter with greater health benefits.
This decision only gets easier when you look at some of the biggest brands of peanut butter lining the shelves at the grocery story. The most popular brands, including Jif, Peter Pan, and Skippy, have a few things in common… And that is not a good thing.
These top peanut butter brands contain high amounts of added sugar (including artificial sweeteners) and hydrogenated vegetable oil, both of which are connected to adverse health effects, including weight gain, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Because almond butter is rightfully perceived as a healthier choice, they are less likely to made with harmful ingredients, such as added sugars and hydrogenated oils.
How Sprouting Boost Benefits
There is a significant difference in nutritional value and your body’s ability to absorb and use the nutrients that are contained in almonds, based on how you prepare it. There are many ways to eat almonds and many ways to make almond butter. You can use raw, roasted, or sprouted almonds, and it is the sprouted almonds that are the best.
Almond butter is more nutritional than peanut butter because almonds inherently pack more nutrition and when you sprout them, the nutritional value goes through the roof.
When you sprout a nut, such as almonds, they become easier to digest, and the nutrients are more easily absorbed by the body. Almonds are rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, selenium, zinc, and iron, all of which are healthy minerals and when you sprout your almonds, these minerals are more absorbable.
When an almond is not sprouted almonds contain high amounts of phytic acids, which block nutrient absorption. However, by sprouting your almonds you significantly reduce the amount of phytic acids, allowing the once blocked nutrients to be more absorbable.
You also remove enzyme inhibitors by sprouting, allowing for the better breakdown of protein and carbohydrates.
How Choosing a Good Almond Butter is Key
When it comes to choosing between peanut butter and almond butter, it is clear that almond butter is the healthier choice due to the higher risk of peanut contamination and higher overall nutritional value.
On top of that, you can boost the nutrition of almond butter by first sprouting the almonds, meaning your best and healthiest option is a sprouted almond butter.
When picking a good sprouted almond butter, you want to make sure that the ingredients are all natural. This means no artificial sweeteners or flavors. Also, be sure to pick one that is not full of hydrogenated vegetable oil or added sugars, as these ingredients only lower the nutritional value of the almond butter.
Because sprouted almond butter is more nutritious and better for your digestion than traditional peanut butter, and even most almond butter around, Claire’s Goodness only uses sprouted almond and 100% natural, healthy ingredients.
Claire’s Goodness provides a healthy alternative to traditional peanut butter and almond butter without sacrificing taste. When you sprout your almonds, treat them with love, and include only natural ingredients you end up with a product that is smoother, creamier, and more satisfying.
This sprouted almond butter is the perfect ingredient in any recipe that calls for nut butter, including America’s favorite sandwich. It is only a matter of time before almond butter takes the place of peanut butter on the shelves of pantries all across the world.
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