Nuts in a jar – not all butter is the same

Nuts in a jar – not all butter is the same

Snacking nuts was popular already back in the ancient times. Nowadays, nuts are an important daily ingredient all over the world. Beside their delicious flavour, we can appreciate their high content of natural fats, fibre, protein, and minerals. These and more are the reasons why we have been turning nuts into various foodstuffs, such as nut butters that are getting increasingly popular not only in the world of fitness, but also among regular customers.

Nevertheless, the term “butter” is not that accurate because the composition is very different compared to the regular butter. Nut butters primarily contain unsaturated fatty acids and higher levels of protein and carbohydrates. The specific amount of micronutrients may vary with the nut type, but overall they contain the B vitamin group, vitamin E, and from minerals predominantly magnesium and phosphorus, occasionally copper and zinc.

Majority of nut creams are suitable for vegetarians; the plain peanut cream satisfies also the vegan diet. The most significant benefit of natural fats is the above mentioned unsaturated fatty acids that include omega-3 (ALA) and omega-6 fatty acids. These positively affect our cardiovascular system and help us maintain normal cholesterol levels.

Nut creams ingredients

Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are fruits of a multi-trunked shrub known as common hazel. Apart from healthy fats, protein, and fibre they contain useful vitamins from the B group, for example thiamine that is beneficial for our heart and positively affects our mental health and nervous system. Vitamin B6 supports metabolism of proteins, sugars, and fats, and plays a significant role in red blood cell production.

Cashew nuts

These tasty fruits coming from Anacardium occidentale (the Cashew tree) are rich in tannins, vitamin C, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Thanks to these micronutrients they support our immunity. Above that, vitamin C positively affects collagen production, and magnesium, among countless other benefits, supports psychological functions, helps to deal with muscle cramps, and helps to maintain electrolyte balance.

Chocolate

Cocoa contains a wide spectrum of essential vitamins and minerals, such as B group vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and iron. In fact, all these nutrients are crucial for normal functions of the nervous system. Furthermore, the contained polyphenols support mineral and vitamin absorption. And on top of that, it is known that after consumption of sweet foods, our body produces serotonin, the so-called “happiness hormone”.

Lyophilized raspberries

It is popular to flavour nut creams with freeze-dried raspberries, known as lyophilized raspberries. This delicate drying method allows the fruits to lose all the water but maintain all the nutrients at the same time. The result is these tender and crunchy raspberries full of their original flavour, vitamins, and minerals.

Whey protein

Whey is protein contained in cow milk. It has high levels of branched-chain amino acids that allow faster protein synthesis and also faster digestibility that goes with it. Nut butters enriched with whey protein will supply your diet plan with proteins and BCAA amino acids that are the key to your fitness goals. Many studies have also mentioned whey’s benefits for our immune system.

Himalayan salt

Some nut creams are enriched with diverse flavourings, for example with the Himalayan salt that is widely known for its high content of minerals and trace elements. Nevertheless, don’t forget that the recommended daily intake of salt is maximum 5-7 g.

Ghee

Ghee is the best-quality highly clarified butter. It has a pleasing butter aroma and a high smoke point that prevents the butter from burning. Ghee is also popular for vitamins A, D, E, K, and a range of antioxidants. In the Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is believed to strengthen our “ojas” – the “life energy” that is responsible for our immunity and our physical and emotional comfort.

Coconut sugar

Coconut sugar is a tasty and healthier type of sweetener – it has a lower glycaemic index, and it is not a refined sugar. It is rich in B vitamin group, contains magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron and beneficial antioxidants.

Peanut butter

Not many of us know that Arachis hypogaea (the peanut) is a legume whose edible seeds are known as peanuts that look and taste just like nuts. Quality creams made exclusively from nuts maintain all the nutrients of the original ingredient, are usually palm-oil free, preservative-free and without artificial dyes. Peanuts contain a wide spectrum of antioxidants, minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, and B vitamin group. Peanuts also contain coenzyme Q10 that is popular for its regenerative benefits and circa half of fats contained in peanuts are represented by monounsaturated fatty acids.

Use of nut creams

Nut and peanut creams work in a variety of recipes. No-cook and no-bake ideas include using them as an extra flavour to porridges, yoghurts, dressings, or smoothies. You can spread them easily thanks to their creamy consistency – on pastry, pancakes, or on fruits as a quick and healthy snack. They are also suitable for cooking and baking – you may use them for numerous cakes and muffins, to flavour creamy soups or prepare Asian cuisine. Gastronomy is all about the taste and there are no limits to your fantasy. You do not need to be a chef to enjoy nut butters – sneak a spoonful from the jar just like that.

Where to be careful

After talking about the benefits, let’s mention the pitfalls. Nuts are common food allergens causing strong allergic reactions. Another frequent mistake is the idea of a “healthy snacking”. We might forget – for their healthy composition and great taste – that even “healthy fats” are still fats. And fats, as we all know, have a very high energy value. Then the weight can go straight up, because one teaspoon of this delicacy contains up to 260kJ. So do not forget that moderation is the key.

Sources

Norman, Jill. Ořechy. Bratislava: Champagne Avantgarde, 1993
https://www.stobklub.cz/clanek/jime-i-rostlinne-5-dil-orechove-maslo-jist-ci-nejist-/
https://zdravi-v-kondici.estranky.cz/clanky/nejzdravejsi-potraviny-sveta/orechy--seminka-a-orechova-masla/
https://www.celostnimedicina.cz/jak-jsou-na-tom-burske-orisky.htm
https://www.celostnimedicina.cz/ghi.htm

Bc. Veronika Pokorná, DiS.

Bc. Veronika Pokorná, DiS. 12.5.2021

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