Leapin’ lizards it’s Thursday! When did that happen? It must have been in the midst of my pickle eating and porch swinging…
What a week it has been, because I just realized that there is one more week left of May! Qu’est-ce que c’est?! Pardon my intermittent French. I have to be ready to order my vin et fromage by July. You know, pretty much the only words you need to be able to say for a few weeks in France.
So you’ve heard that nuts are good for you, but which nut is best?
I think there is a nut butter, nut flour, nut oil for every nut out there. How do you know which one to pick? I’m here to tackle two of the most pop-lar choices of almonds or peanuts to decide the burning question of “are almonds or peanuts healthier?”
And first up…
Peanuts. So technically a peanut isn’t actually a nut, but falls under the legume family with beans, peas, and lentils. But you don’t see a lot of lentil butter or black bean oil on the shelves so we give the peanut a VIP pass into the nut category.
Here’s how the peanut weighs up in the NUTrition category.
Peanuts actually have the most protein per serving out of all the nuts with 7 grams per ounce. Also packed with vitamin E for healthy skin, B vitamins for long-lasting energy, and fiber to keep you full. In the grand scheme of nuts, they are also one of the most inexpensive of the bunch. I can grab a jar of my fav nut butter for under $5, but have you ever seen a jar of cashew butter?! That’s like a week’s worth of groceries in one jar.
Ever hear of resveratrol? Or how red wine is good for you? Well smother some pb instead of cheese with that wine since peanuts are loaded with resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant to help protect against heart disease. Peanuts even contain more antioxidants than my beloved apples and carrots!
Cons. Despite all these nut-tacular (real word? Is now.) benefits, there are some concerns when it comes to the power-packed peanut.
Allergies. This is obviously a major concern for a lot of folks since peanut and gluten allergies seem to be popping up left and right. Since peanuts are in a different category than tree nuts, someone could be perfectly fine eating almonds, but be deathly allergic to peanut butter or vice versa. This is when seed butters such as sunflower seed or pumpkin seed butters come in handy.
Phytates. If you are familiar with the paleo diet then you will know that peanut/peanut butter is off limits (and probably the reason why I would never even consider this way of eating). One of the reasons peanuts and other legumes are not included is due to containing phytates, which are thought to bind with minerals and interrupt their absorption in the body. While this may be true, it is also true that all nuts contain phytates. 100 grams of peanuts contains about 952 mg of phytates while the same serving of almonds contain 1138 mg of phytates. That being said, I would say all nuts besides chestnuts are on the same playing field for the phytate debate.
Oxalates. Another ‘ates’ of peanut concern are oxalates, which are thought to bind to calcium in the body and crystallize which can form kidney stones. This is only a concern for those who already have issues with kidney or gallstone function and not for the general public.
Round 2. Almonds!
So mind-blowingly enough, almonds aren’t actually a nut either! They are part of the stone fruit family such as peaches and plums, which makes sense when you see a plum pit. Now, I’m left wondering what a NUT actually is. Obviously the people who decided these rules..
While peanuts may hold the title for most protein, almonds rank the highest in calcium levels of the nut fam, with 7% of your daily needs in 1 oz. They also hold a tie between pistachios and cashews for being the lowest calorie nut with at 160 per ounce. I guess you get your bang for your ounce when it comes to almonds!
Just like peanuts, almonds are full of vitamin E, fiber, and b vitamins, with a little more oomph on the vit E end. They are also a good source of potassium and magnesium which gives them more heart health potency which could be why the American Heart Association gives them the gold star.
Cons. Every nut has it’s day where it is sent to the scaffold to be tarred and feathered. But nuts are hearty (get it, they’re good for your HEART. I’m too much sometimes.) so they survive the debauchery…Most times. MUHAHAHA!
Expensive. When comparing the two, almonds fall on the more expensive side, with the average almond butter ringing in at $10 a jar. If you’re on a budget or can’t rationalize buying ONE jar of AB for the price of TWO pb then that could be a jab for the almond. Allergies are still a concern for those allergic to tree nuts, so the playing field is still pretty even on that debate.
Phytates.So I’m not exactly the Paleo expert, but I’m pretty sure phytates are a reason why peanuts are off limits. Aside from the fact that peanuts are a legume and the town of Bedrock didn’t forage these, yadda yadda. I guess what I’m saying is if you are concerned that phytates are blocking mineral absorption than almonds are just as bad if not worse than peanuts, since they contain higher levels of phytates. Just taking a guess that if a caveman happened to stumble upon a peanut plant, he wouldn’t be all like “Umm Carl, do you KNOW how many phytates are in those things?! I’m just gunna starve instead.”
The Verdict? A tie. But you saw that coming, right? Both nuts (or non nuts as we’ve learned) have their strengths and weakness, both are healthy choices, and both are FREAKIN DELICIOUS! Instead of scrolling through and taking mountains of notes, I got down with my 5th grade self and made a Venn diagram for you picture people.
As long as the word butter comes after it, and I can schmear it on a carrot it is game on for me!
Make it a great day!
Which do you prefer: Peanut or Almond Butter?
Ever tried another kind of nut butter?