Almond Butter Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

almond butter nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Almond butter is made from almonds, so it contains the healthy fats, protein, and minerals the nuts are known for. It can easily be part of a healthy diet, adding flavor and nutrition to sandwiches, smoothies, oatmeal, and more. However, almond butter is also high in calories. So if you're looking to lose weight or reduce your fat intake, you'll need to take serving size into account when you add this food to your diet.

Almond Butter Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 tablespoon (16g) of plain almond butter (no salt added).

  • Calories: 98
  • Fat: 9g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Sugars: 0.7g
  • Protein: 3.4g

Carbs

Almond butter is very calorie-dense, with 98 calories per tablespoon. It contains only 3 grams of carbohydrate per serving, most of that from fiber (1.6 grams per tablespoon). The glycemic load of a 1-tablespoon serving is estimated to be 0.

Fat

There are 9 grams of fat in a 1-tablespoon serving. A small amount of the fat is saturated (just over 1 gram), but most of it is healthy monounsaturated (5.2 grams) and polyunsaturated (2.2 grams) fat.

Protein

Like other nut butters, almond butter is a good source of protein, with 3.4 grams per tablespoon.

Vitamins and Minerals

Almond butter is high in potassium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. The sodium count will vary a bit based on whether or not the almond butter was made with added salt and how much is added during processing. Check the label on the packaging for sodium levels.

Almond butter is also an excellent source of vitamin E. One tablespoon contains just under 4 milligrams, which is 26% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the vitamin. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps the immune system function.

Health Benefits

Compared to peanut butter, almond butter is a tiny bit more heart-healthy with less saturated fat, more monounsaturated fat, and more fiber. Other nutritional values (such as calories and protein) are almost exactly the same.

Promotes Heart Health

Almond butter is high in monounsaturated fats (about 5 grams per tablespoon). Monounsaturated fats help to reduce LDL cholesterol (the "bad" kind) and raise HDL cholesterol (the "good" kind). A 2016 review study on tree nuts and peanuts concluded that "higher nut intake is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer and all-cause mortality, and mortality from respiratory disease, diabetes, and infections." An earlier study that focused on almonds also showed that they helped lower coronary heart disease risk.

Supports Bone Health

Almonds are high in calcium, which is good for strong bones, normal blood clotting, and proper muscle and nerve function. They're also high in magnesium, which helps the body absorb calcium.

Helps Control Blood Sugar

Magnesium is also essential for hundreds of different biochemical processes that take place in your body every day, such as regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure. One study of magnesium supplements found that they helped with blood sugar control in people with diabetes, as well as improving insulin sensitivity in people at risk of diabetes. Another study, published in 2011, found similar effects with almonds themselves (rather than magnesium supplements).

Repairs Cell Damage

The vitamin E in almonds contains antioxidants, which help repair damage caused by oxidative stress. This can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and some cancers. Almonds have significantly more vitamin E than other tree nuts and also have other healthy antioxidant compounds such as polyphenols and flavonoids.

May Aid Healthy Weight Loss

Some research suggests that almonds may help adults with high cholesterol lose weight, but it's not known if eating almond butter would have the same effect.

Allergies

Almonds are a tree nut, and tree nut allergies are one of the eight most common food allergies in the United States. About 0.5% to 1% of the U.S. population is affected, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). While an allergy to one tree nut does not necessarily mean a person is allergic to other tree nuts, if you have a tree nut allergy, you should avoid almonds and almond butter until you know if they are safe for you. 

Though a legume rather than a tree nut, if you are allergic to peanuts, you should still be cautious with almonds and other tree nuts. Around 30% of people who are allergic to peanuts are also allergic to almonds. If you think you or your child may have an allergy to peanuts or almonds, talk to your healthcare provider about diagnosis and management.

Adverse Effects

Almonds are high in oxalates, which can be a problem for people who have a history of kidney stones or are at risk of developing kidney stones. If you have been advised to reduce oxalates in your diet, you should avoid or limit consumption of almonds and almond butter.

Varieties

Commercially available almond butter is sometimes made from just almonds. But as with peanut butter and other nut and seed butters, almond butter products may also have extra ingredients including added sugar, salt, and oils. Check labels carefully, especially if you are looking to avoid those ingredients.

It might seem logical that a serving of almonds—no matter the form—would provide the same nutritional value. Although a serving size of 15 almonds has about the same number of calories as a tablespoon of almond butter, research suggests that more calories are absorbed from almond butter than from whole almonds. Otherwise, whole almonds and almond butter are similar in terms of nutritional value.

Storage and Food Safety

Unopened almond butter can be stored at room temperature for months (check the label for a best-buy date). Once opened, your jar of almond butter will last longer—3 to 6 months—if you keep it in the refrigerator. "Natural" butters that contain the naturally occurring almond oil (rather than being replaced hydrogenated vegetable oils) have a shorter shelf life.

How to Prepare

You can purchase almond butter at your supermarket, but you can also make it at home with a food processor or high-speed blender. All you need are almonds and a little salt. Add 2 cups roasted almonds and 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt to your food processor and process until you get a nice creamy texture. It may take 20 minutes or so, but it's worth the wait. You can also add up to 1/4 cup of honey and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon while the almonds are processing for added sweetness and flavor.

You can use almond butter the same way you use peanut butter and other nutty spreads. At breakfast time, make a healthy sandwich with whole-grain bread, almond butter, and 100% fruit spread, or add a tablespoon of almond butter to a smoothie for a protein-rich kick. For a healthy snack, spread almond butter on whole-grain crackers, apple slices, or celery sticks.

Recipes

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