Health Benefits of Nut and Seed Butters

Nut and seed butters are a creamy and delicious way to include more healthy fats, nutrients and protein from a plant source! In fact, these plant-based butters can be essential in contributing healthy sources of fat, protein and calories to vegetarian and vegan styles of eating. No matter what your eating routine is, including a serving of nut and seed butters is one strategy to bump your nutrient intake to the next level. Some popular and commercially available nut and seed butters are listed below with tips on what nutrients they provide:

*% daily value requirements calculated based on criteria set by CFIA

Nut and seed butters are a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals as shown in the above table. Almond and sesame seed butter are particularly high in vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps to protect cells against oxidative damage and strengthens immune function. Sunflower seed butter is particularly high in folate, a B vitamin essential for red blood cell production, healthy cell division and development of the brain and spinal tissue. This nut butter also provides the mineral selenium, which is essential to thyroid hormone metabolism as well as acts as an antioxidant. Pumpkin seed butter is an excellent source of non-heme iron, the plant-based type of iron that is better absorbed when consumed with foods that are high in vitamin C. Pumpkin seed butter also contributes zinc and magnesium. Both minerals play an important role in immune function, while zinc is essential to wound healing and protein synthesis, and magnesium specifically supports healthy bone structure and production of powerful antioxidants in the body.  Vitamin K is another micronutrient essential to healthy bones. Cashew butter is a wonderful source of this vitamin that is also involved in regulating blood clotting. Peanut butter is an excellent source of Niacin (vitamin B3), a key component in energy production enzymes and antioxidants that prevent against excessive tissue damage! That’s nuts!

Top 10 Simple Nut/Seed Butter Recipe Ideas:

  • On toast, pancakes, French toast, waffles or muffins. (E.g. Sunflower seed butter on a freshly baked muffin.)
  • Blended into a smoothie. (E.g. In a frozen banana, almond butter and cocoa smoothie.)
  • Melted into a stir-fry sauce. (E.g. Homemade peanut garlic sauce.)
  • On fruit. (E.g. Pumpkin seed or peanut butter on slices of apple with mini dark chocolate chips sprinkled over top for a healthy “apple cookie” snack.)
  • Mixed into oatmeal. (E.g. Peanut butter mixed into oatmeal with mashed banana and chia seeds, such as in this Overnight Chia Peanut Butter Oats recipe!)
  • Baked into muffins, cookies, cupcakes or energy balls. (E.g. Almond butter oat and dried fruit energy balls.)
  • Swirled into plain Greek yogurt with a little homemade fruit preserve. (E.g. Peanut butter and jam swirled into plain 0% Greek yogurt.)
  • On celery sticks with raisins. (E.g. Nut butter filled celery.)
  • Hummus. (E.g. Sun dried tomato hummus dip using sesame seed butter or tahini.)
  • Cashew cream. (E.g. Soaked cashews, drained then blended with almond/coconut/soy milk to create a homemade cashew butter whipped “cream” topping for fruits or pumpkin pie!)

What is your favourite way to enjoy nut or seed butters? We would love to hear in the comment section below! 🙂