If you’re like me, peanut butter has been apart of your life ever since those PB&J sandwiches your mom packed in your lunchbox in elementary school (complete with a heartfelt, somewhat embarrassing, note). But since your childhood, peanut butter has gotten into a competition with some other nut butter varieties that offer alternative benefits.
Most nut butters are full of healthy fats, but some are better for weight loss, others provide more energy, and some help to boost your metabolism. To find out the pros and cons of these lesser-known nut butters and which ones you should really be eating, read on.
Pros: With nutrients like copper and magnesium, cashew better is great for building bone strength and maintaining heart health. Cashews also contain biotin, which helps make hair shiny and thick.
Cons: Cashew butter is sometimes harder to find, and it’s one of the most expensive types of nut butters. It also typically doesn’t contain omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to normal brain function, growth, and development.
Best Buy: Brad’s Organic Cashew Butter is made with absolutely no preservatives and has zero trans-fats or cholesterol, making it an incredibly healthy option.
Pros: Because of the high omega-3 fatty acid content in walnuts, walnut butters are excellent for heart health. These butters have a meatier flavor that is best used in savory dishes, like these fancy dinner rolls.
Cons: Walnut butters contain less protein and more saturated fats than their other nut butter counterparts.
Best Buy: Walnut butters can be hard to find, but Artisana Organics Raw Walnut Butter is a good option because it contains only organic walnuts, as well as some organic cashews for additional protein.
Pros: Pistachios are an extremely healthy nut, as they’re naturally cholesterol-free and help in boosting antioxidant levels. A 1-oz. serving of these nuts contain almost as much potassium as a banana, and some research suggests they can aid with weight loss.
Cons: Because pistachios themselves are typically more expensive, pistachio butters can be too.
Best Buy: Nutraw Organic Pistachio Butter claims to be a “superfood spread,” and for good reason. This butter is packed with 6g of protein, 3g of fiber, and 80mg of Omega-3s. It’s also made with cold-pressed coconut oil and vanilla, giving it some extra sweetness.
Pros: Pecans are great for your brain, as they contain choline, a nutrient that ensures optimal brain functioning and boosts memory power. They also contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, and E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Cons: Pecans are very high in calories and fat content, with one serving of 18 to 20 halves containing 200 calories and 20 grams fat. Therefore, when using pecan butter, keep your portions in check and eat in moderation.
Best Buy: American Wild Food’s Maca-Chaga Pecan Butter incorporates maca root and chaga mushrooms, which boost immunity and overall general health. Don’t be scared by the mushrooms, because this butter tastes like chocolate.
Pros: Hazelnuts are super nutritious and aid in muscle, skin, bone, joint and digestive health. These nut butters contain magnesium, calcium, and vitamins B and E, and are rich in unsaturated fats.
Cons: A serving of hazelnut butter has about half the amount of protein that peanut butter has, making it a less filling option.
Best Buy: White Heart Hazelnut Butter contains 100% roasted and blended hazelnuts, and nothing else. With no extra additives or fake flavorings this butter will be your new favorite go-to spread on toast. Move over, Nutella.
Macadamia Nut Butter
Pros: Macadamia nuts are full of the antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs), which studies show are 20 times more powerful than vitamin C. And let’s be honest, macadamia nut butter sounds way more exotic than peanut butter. *hula dances*
Cons: Macadamias are high in calories and low in protein. Macadamia nut butters can also be hard to find in stores, so you may have to resort to ordering it online.
Best Buy: The best place to get your macadamia nut butter would be straight from their original source, Hawaii. North Shore Goodies’ Macadamia Nut Honey Coconut Peanut Butter (!!) is made with peanuts, macadamia nuts, and coconuts all grown in Hawaii.
Brazil Nut Butter
Pros: Brazil nuts contain a large amount of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects fats in the body and helps with anti-aging. These large nuts are also rich in monounsaturated fats, which help to lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) in the blood.
Cons: Brazil nuts and nut butters are very high in selenium and an overabundance of this can cause brittle nails, hair loss, fatigue, and/or rashes. Watch your portions.
Best Buy: Dastony Brazil Nut Butter is made using a method called stone-grinding, in which the brazil nuts undergo an immense amount of pressure in order to preserve nutrients and flavor that makes the butter silky smooth.