Cashew Butter Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Cashew butter

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

For a creamy spread on your sandwich or addition to your morning oatmeal, you may instinctively reach for peanut butter. But to mix things up with other healthy fats—or to allow those with peanut allergies to get in on the creamy goodness–consider cashew butter.

Cashew butter is full of good-for-you monounsaturated fats, plant-based protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as a small amount of polyunsaturated fats. When you choose an unsweetened, unsalted variety, the ingredient list is as simple as can be, with just cashews and oil.

Despite the fact that cashew butter is relatively high-calorie, research shows that people who eat more nuts have a lower risk of obesity. Besides these benefits, a bit of cashew butter can add richness and nutty flavor to both sweet and savory recipes.

Cashew Butter Nutrition Facts

These nutrition facts, for two tablespoons (34g) of unsweetened, unsalted cashew butter, have been provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 16g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10g 
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 6g

Carbs

A small amount of the carbohydrates in cashew butter come from fiber—just 1 out of a serving’s 10 grams. The rest of the carbs come from starches and naturally occurring sugars in cashews. More carbohydrates may be present in cashew butter varieties with added sweetener.

Fats

It may have butter in its name, but cashew butter contains mostly healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and few of the less-good-for-you saturated kind. One study found cashews’ fat composition to be 80% unsaturated and 20% saturated.

Protein

A two-tablespoon serving of cashew butter provides 6 grams of protein. This knocks out 12% of the recommended Daily Value (DV) of 50 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals

Since cashew butter is made from cashews, it provides many of the same micronutrients as these tree nuts in the raw. Two tablespoons of cashew butter take care of 10% of your daily value of iron, as well as small amounts of potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, and calcium.

Health Benefits

Easily interchangeable in your favorite peanut butter treats, cashew butter provides a host of benefits.

Compatible With Vegan and Vegetarian Diets

Vegans and vegetarians will find cashew butter to be a friendly source of protein for a plant-based diet. A schmear at meal or snack time is a great way to add nutrients without using animal products.

Works With a Low Sodium Diet

Cashew butter is naturally free of sodium, so it’s an ideal choice for those on a low-sodium diet. (Just be sure to choose a variety with no added salt.)

May Reduce Cholesterol

For heart health, it’s important to keep bad cholesterol (LDL) low. Turns out, cashews may help you do this. A 2018 study found that people who added cashews to their diet for a month had decreased LDL and total cholesterol.

Keeps You Full

Fat, protein, and fiber all play a part in keeping you satiated. Since cashew butter contains ample amounts of fat and protein, plus a bit of fiber, it’s a good choice when you want to curb hunger.

Good for Weight Control

Despite their rather high fat content, nuts are actually linked with better, not worse, weight control. A 2019 study found that increasing daily consumption of nuts was linked with less weight gain in the long term and lower risk of obesity in adults.

May Benefit Eye Health 

The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin may not get a lot of press, but that doesn’t mean they’re not at work in your body! These two compounds, found in cashews, have been connected with better eye health, according to 2018 research in the journal Nutrients.

Allergies

Cashews are a tree nut, which are among the top eight most common food allergens. If you’re allergic to tree nuts, you’ll need to refrain from eating cashew butter. A peanut allergy, on the other hand, doesn’t have to keep you from indulging.

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), having a peanut allergy doesn’t increase your likelihood of having other nut allergies. Just be sure to read labels carefully to ascertain whether cashew butter has been processed in the same facility as peanuts. 

However, there can be cross-reactivity between an allergy to cashews and mangoes, pistachios, and papaya, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. This means that if you are allergic to one of these foods, you’re more likely to be allergic to one or more of the others. Talk to your doctor or allergist if you have concerns about how cashew butter may affect you.

Adverse Effects 

With its impressive nutrient profile, cashew butter is unlikely to cause adverse effects (unless you’re allergic to tree nuts). Of course, over-consuming cashew butter can add up to excess calorie intake, which could promote weight gain—but again, adding nuts to your diet is generally linked with better weight control.

If you are prone to kidney stones, your doctor may advise you to limit nuts in your diet. Cashews and other nuts have compounds called oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones.

Varieties

Like most nut spreads, cashew butter comes in a variety of flavor options. On many grocery shelves, you can find salted or unsalted, sweetened, or unsweetened, and even chocolate, options. To minimize sodium and added sugar, opt for a cashew butter with a simple ingredient list.

Storage and Food Safety

Unopened cashew butter can keep in a cool, dry place up to two years. Once opened, though, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator, where it can stay good for a matter of months. Use your nose to check on cashew butter's freshness.

How to Prepare

Cashew butter is very easy to make at home. Many recipes simply call for blending or grinding cashews with oil and/or salt in a food processor until smooth. While DIY may be more labor-intensive than to purchase, making your own butter allows you to control exactly how much salt, oil, or sweetener go into the recipe.

As for how to eat your homemade or store-bought cashew butter, you can use this creamy spread just about anywhere you’d use peanut butter: in muffins, cookies, breads, and desserts, as well as savory noodle dishes, smoothies, and, of course, a “CBJ” sandwich of cashew butter and jelly. As a snack, cashew butter spreads easily on crackers or fresh fruit. Or, mix a spoonful into yogurt or oatmeal for an extra pop of protein. 

Recipes

Healthy Cashew Butter Recipes to Try

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Article Sources
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