Almond butter and peanut butter occupy similar niches in a healthy diet. Peanut butter can generally substitute for almond butter in recipes, and vice versa, and both nut butters share nutritional similarities. For example, they both provide a source of dietary fiber, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers a tablespoon of either nut butter as 1 ounce equivalent of protein — the same as 1 ounce of meat. However, almond and peanut butter also have some nutritional differences, and almond butter offers some health advantages of peanut butter due to its vitamin and mineral content.
Almond butter has a nutritional advantage over peanut butter due to its vitamin E content. You use vitamin E to protect your cells from oxidative damage. As an antioxidant, vitamin E can neutralize free radicals, preventing these harmful chemicals from oxidizing your DNA and proteins, which damages your cells. Almond butter contains approximately 4 milligrams of vitamin E per tablespoon — about 27 percent of your daily vitamin E requirements, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Peanut butter contains just 1 milligram of vitamin E per 1-tablespoon serving.
Switching from peanut butter to almond butter can also help you boost your magnesium intake. A tablespoon of almond butter contains 45 milligrams of magnesium — 11 percent of the magnesium requirements for men and 14 percent for women, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. An equivalent serving of peanut butter contains just 26 milligrams. Magnesium contributes to the function of your nervous system, facilitates muscle contraction, makes up a component of healthy bone tissue and helps support your metabolism.
Opting for almond butter over peanut butter also proves advantageous due to almond butter’s higher iron content. Iron promotes healthy oxygen transport — it helps you make hemoglobin and myoglobin, two proteins that oxygenate your tissues. Like vitamin E, iron protects your cells from oxidative damage by helping to activate antioxidant enzymes in your cells. A tablespoon of almond butter contains 0.6 milligrams of iron, compared to 0.3 milligrams in a tablespoon of peanut butter. Each tablespoon of almond butter provides 8 percent of the daily iron requirements for men, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, and 3 percent for women.
Making Healthy Choices
Almond butter contains more of a few key vitamins and minerals, but both peanut and almond butters have a place in a healthy diet. Peanut butter offers some nutritional advantages. For example, it provides more selenium — a mineral important to enzyme function — than almond butter. Whether you opt for almond or peanut butters, try to select minimally processed nut butters. Some commercial varieties of peanut and almond butter contain added sugar and salt to add flavor, as well as additives that prevent oil separation. Choose varieties of peanut or almond butter made from nuts alone, with no added preservatives or additives.
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