Four tips you need to know now before choosing another nut butter.
Just the mention of peanut butter and jelly conjures up fond childhood memories. When it comes to these comfort food condiments, picking the right ones is far from child’s play. There are four things you need to keep in mind when choosing the best nut butter.
Read Ingredients Carefully
Always read the ingredients. There is no reason for added sugars, oil or preservatives. Plain and simple is always best!
Try for an organic spread because nuts are naturally high in fat and oil, and that makes them sponges for unwanted chemicals, such as pesticides.
Sprouting Is Key
Find a nut butter, like those we suggest in Rich Food Poor Food, made from sprouted nuts. Remember, peanuts are considered plant seeds, and when a plant seed undergoes germination through sprouting or soaking, a lot of beneficial changes occur. The phytic acid (EMD) that they naturally contain is broken down, which makes them far less micronutrient depleting. Also, some of the trypsin inhibitors, meant to protect them from insects become inactivated. This is great news because these same trypsin inhibitors can also prevent enzymes from digesting protein in the human digestive tract. This burdens the pancreas and is thought to perhaps cause pancreatic cancer. Finally, sprouted nuts have increased availability of vitamins and minerals, which, after all, makes them our Rich Food choice.
Go Nutty, But Not Too Nutty!
This is especially relevant if you or family members have a peanut allergy or are striving to follow a Primal/Paleo dietary profile. Peanut allergies are quite common, and many health conscious eaters are wary of certain mild objections to peanut butter, such as a mold called aflatoxin that grows on peanuts (it’s greatly reduced in the processing into butter, though), and a moderate level of lecitins (gut irritators) that can compromise digestive health. Furthermore, peanuts are technically legumes, not nuts, so Primal/Paleo followers commonly pursue alternatives accordingly. Quality grocers offer a variety of delicious, healthful nut butters, including almond, cashew, tahini, and even macadamia nut butter. Macadamia nut butter, although hard to find and expensive, is the premier Rich Food nut choice since it won’t compromise your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio like other nut butters. Also consider trying flax seeds and chia seeds, they both have higher levels of omega 3 to omega 6. And don’t forget the ever delicious coconut butter! Coconut butter provides the health boosting, hard to find, medium chain triglycerides (MCT) that enhance fat metabolism and regulate appetite.