You’ve certainly heard of peanut butter – but did you know there are other nut and even seed butters out there? There are quite a few different nut and seed butters on the market, and each has a beneficial nutritional profile. For those with an allergy to peanuts, nut and seed butters can provide just as good (if not better) nutrition without the risk of setting off a peanut allergy. Let’s take a look at some of these butters, and what some of their benefits are.

* Sunflower Butter – The cheerful sunflower is the source of these healthful little seeds. Sunflower butter has 1/3 less saturated fat than peanut butter. Sunflower butter is a good source of iron, vitamin E, fiber, and protein.

vanilla almond butter
vanilla almond butter (Photo credit: elana’s pantry)

Found in the seeds, Sunflower Oil is considered heart-healthy. In fact, doctors have been known to “prescribe” sunflower seeds to treat high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

* Pumpkin Seed Butter – The humble pumpkin seed, treated as gloppy waste at jack-o-lantern carving time, has all sorts of health benefits. Pumpkin seeds are considered promoters of prostate health, and their high magnesium content makes them a good osteoporosis preventer (magnesium enhances calcium absorption). Like other nut and seed butters, pumpkin seed butter is high in essential fatty acids. It is also considered an effective anti-inflammatory.

* Cashew Butter – Cashews have antibacterial action, and the butter is high in zinc, B vitamins, potassium, iron, and essential fatty acids. The creamy puree has significant protein and fiber as well. Cashew butter has less fat than peanut butter.

* Almond Butter – Almonds are implicated in reducing cholesterol and the risk of diabetes. They are very high in magnesium and calcium, which help build strong bones. The monounsaturated fats in almond butter outweigh the saturated fat, making them a heart-healthy choice.

* Sesame Seed Butter – Also known as tahini, this seed butter is used as an ingredient in hummus. It has a creamy texture and good nutrient value, containing high amounts of copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients. It even has a fair amount of zinc, iron, phosphorous, and fiber. Try combining this iron-rich seed butter with foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges or raw bell peppers (for example, dip strips of bell pepper into hummus).

Nut and seed butters are good choices for vegans who do not consume animal protein, or for anyone who wants to engage in a healthy, whole foods diet. They provide alternatives to those with peanut allergies, and they taste very good!

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