Everybody is familiar with the classic comfort food that is peanut butter.

There’s the traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always substitute honey. If you are feeling really crazy, you can smear it atop banana slices for a punch of potassium and protein.

What you may not know is that there is a new generation of nut butters that are making their way on the market.

These nutritional powerhouses are stealing the spotlight with their delicious flavor and many different uses in the kitchen.

Have you tried them? Because you should.

Here’s three nut butters to check out.

 

Nut butters

Picture courtesy of Flickr user s58y

 

Almond Butter

Almond butter seems to be enjoying its time in the epicurean spotlight. As a rich source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which strengthen bones and maintain muscle, this nut butter is perfect for athletes.

Almonds are also a big source of vitamin D – just one ounce gives you one-third of your daily recommended value.

How to use it: Add a spoonful or two of almond butter to a post-workout smoothie to aid in muscle recovery.

 

Nut butters

Picture courtesy Flickr user stonesoup

 

Cashew butter

Endorsed by none other than the Governator, who ate it religiously during his more muscular days, cashew butter is a great source of iron. When combined with the high protein content, this is the perfect pick me up during that afternoon slump at the desk.

Its creamy texture makes it go down easy, but it’s low in saturated fat. Cashew butter is also rich in B Vitamins, whose benefits range from boosting metabolism to promoting cellular health.

How to use it: The luxurious creaminess of cashew butter makes it perfect to use as a spread on toast. Its mild flavor means that you can manipulate the flavor by topping it with a drizzle of honey or a smidge of jam.

 

Walnut butter

A 2006 study by the Lipid Clinic in Barcelona, Spain, found that walnuts (and not olive oil) are essential in combatting the consequences of high-fat meals.

Why? “The inner lining of the arteries produces a substance called nitric oxide that is needed to keep the arteries flexible,” said Dr. Emilio Ros, MD, PhD, director of the Lipid Clinic. “When we eat high-fat meals, the fat molecules temporarily disrupt the production of nitric oxide.”

One of the nutrients found in walnuts is arginine, an amino acid used by the body to produce nitric oxide. This, along with alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that helps maintain the elasticity of the arteries, aids in preserving the elasticity and flexibility of the arteries, which allows them to expand when there is a need for an increase blood flow to the body.

How to use it: Use walnut butter as an alternative to tahini and blend with chickpeas, garlic, and a little lemon juice to create a heart-healthy hummus spread.

 

Additional sources: 

Ros, Emilio, Health Benefits of Nut Consumption, Nutrients. July 2010; 2(7): 652–682. Published online 24 June 2010.