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Try these natural spreads that are healthier (and tastier) than peanut butter.
Sales of peanut butter alternatives have jumped 40 percent in the past year, and each packs its own unique flavor and health benefits. To find your new favorite, sample these natural spreads.
Walnut Butter for Disease Prevention
Vegetarians and vegans, this spread’s for you: Walnut butter has the highest levels of omega-3s, a healthy fat found predominantly in fish that helps boost the immune system and prevent heart disease, diabetes, and more. Our pick: Artisana Organic Raw Walnut Butter is prepared at low temps to preserve nutrients and enzymes ($12,artisanafoods.com).
Almond Butter for a Great Complexion
A rich source of vitamin E, almond butter provides almost 30 percent of your daily needs in 1 tablespoon. “Vitamin E helps protect cell membranes and guard against UV radiation damage,” says Joy Bauer, RD, author of Joy Bauer’s Food Cures. Almond butter also is higher in fiber and lower in sodium than peanut butter. Our pick” MaraNatha Almond Butter is double ground for a smooth texture ($7.50,maranathafoods.com).
Cashew Butter for Heart Health
More than half the fat in this nut butter comes from oleic acid, a heart-healthy unsaturated fat that helps improve cholesterol and blood pressure, says Nicolette M. Pace, RD, a nutritionist in Great Neck, New York. Our pick: Once Again Organic Cashew Butter comes unsweetened and sodium-free ($11,onceagainnutbutter.com).
Hazelnut Butter for a Mood Boost
Another great source of skin-protecting vitamin E, hazelnut butters also tend to be blended with cocoa, which researchers found may help keep you calmer and more content, according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Just indulge sparingly, so you don’t overdo it on the sugar. Our pick: Rawmio Hazelnut combines stone-ground organic hazelnuts with cacao nibs ($14, rawguru.com).
Soy Nut Butter for Bone Health
If you’re allergic to peanuts, toss this nut butter in your cart. “It’s similar to pea—nut butter in taste and texture, so it’s a perfect substitute,” Pace says. Plus, soy foods may strengthen bones and help prevent osteoporosis, research suggests. Our pick: I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter has sweet caramel undertones ($19 for two jars, soynutbutter.com).