Peanut butter is thought of as a relatively recent “invention”. But nuts have long been a part of the human diet. Ancient cultures that extensively consumed various types of nuts, quite conceivably already had different methods of preparation for them. Grinding the nuts into a paste is likely one of them.
Raw nut butters are nutritionally similar to the nuts from which they’re made. What simply happens is that a solid and crunchy food is thoroughly ground into something soft and spreadable. You still get the same amount of proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that were present in the raw nuts. The fact that they’re uncooked however can pose some health risks that need to be considered.
Read on and discover more about the pros and cons of raw nut butter and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends only moderate consumption of these sources of protein.
Raw Nut Butter Benefits:
A nut butter’s nutritional profile naturally depends on which type of nut was used. For example, there are only slight differences between almond, peanut and hazelnut butter when it comes to proteins and fats. A tablespoon of each will provide around 2-4 grams of total proteins and 8-10 grams of total fat. However, almond and peanut butters have significant enough amounts of calcium while hazelnut doesn’t really offer this mineral.
Nuts are also known to be good sources of Vitamin E. This nutrient is fat-soluble and functions as an antioxidant. Among other benefits, it helps inhibit the creation of free radicals when fats are oxidized in the body. Another nutrient found in most nuts is monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). Oleic and linoleic acid are examples of MUFA. In hazelnuts, around 90 % of the oil is composed of these fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats are known to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and therefore beneficial to the cardiovascular system.
Raw food is considered to be more nutritious because high cooking heat destroys some of the nutrient substances like beneficial enzymes in the food. Besides being nutritionally deficient, highly processed food can also contain risky additives or ingredients. Take the case of peanut butter. Most conventional varieties of this nut butter are made by oil-roasting the peanuts. This adds hydrogenated oil and thus puts a lot of trans fats in the final product.
Raw Nut Butter Risks:
One risk you have to consider with any type of raw food is contamination. Raw nuts are more nutritious but being uncooked, harmful microorganisms can also more easily latch on and thrive. Salmonella has been found to contaminate raw nuts. The important thing here then is to be sure of the source and manufacturer of the raw nut butter product you plan to purchase.
Much harder to avoid are allergies to nuts. The most common is perhaps peanut allergy. Some of those who have it find they can consume almond or hazelnut butters safely. In any case, people that exhibit a strong allergic reaction to nuts should consult their doctors before trying any raw nut butter.
Raw Nut Butter Practical Uses:
It’s actually quite easy to make your own raw nut butter. The important first step is to be sure about the quality of the raw nuts you purchase. Check for any discoloration, moisture or, if unpackaged, rancid smells. For convenience, look for those that are already shelled. As much as possible choose to buy from local organic producers whose products are certified.
All you really need to make nut butter is a powerful blender or food processor. Some recipes suggest adding less than a tablespoon of olive oil just to make the grinding a little smoother. But take note that this could noticeably affect the flavor as olive oil has its own distinct taste. You can also add a bit of salt or sugar depending on your preference. It may take at least 12 to 15 minutes before you start seeing a thick and smooth butter.
Remember that the natural oils from plants can quickly go rancid. Store your homemade raw nut butter in an airtight container and place it somewhere cool and dry. Make only enough that you can easily consume in a week. As the butter settles in storage, you’ll likely see the oil separate from the rest of the paste. Simply stir it before use to get the right consistency.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of non-organic dairy products and why you should avoid them to succeed in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the protein sources on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• Organic Yogurt (Full-Fat)
• Soaked or sprouted beans and legumes
• Raw seeds and nuts
• Roasted Seeds and Nuts
• Regular or Canned Beans and Legumes
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of raw nut butter, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of raw nut butter.