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Almond Butter & Omega 3

By Victoria Goodman, MS, RD,

Almond butter is a nutritious nut spread that can be used in the place of peanut butter. It is made from almonds, a tree nut. The almond is related to the peach and apricot family. It contains many vitamins and minerals and can be a healthful part of the diet. Although not high in omega 3 fatty acids, almonds are a good source of many nutrients including protein, vitamin E and calcium. They are also high in monounsaturated fat. These nutrients are good for heart health and arthritis.

What is Almond Butter.

Almond butter is made by grinding almonds into a paste similar to that of peanut butter. It has a nutty flavor and can be smooth or crunchy in texture. It can even be made with roasted or toasted almonds and a variety of seasonings, such as honey, to give it a unique flavor. Almond butter is generally mixed with fat or oil that can become spoiled. Store almond butter in a cool, dark place and, once opened, refrigerate.

Nutritional Benefits

Adding almond butter to your diet may provide some nutritional benefits. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nuts such as almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pistachios offer many nutritional perks. Almonds are a good source of protein, vitamin E, calcium,magnesium, maganese, copper, riboflavin and fiber. They are low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat. There is a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids found naturally in almond butter. Alone, almonds only have a trace of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but when mixed with an oil to form the "butter", it's Omega 3 Fatty Acid content is increased. It is found as alphalinolenic acid (ALA), which the body converts to omega 3 fatty acids.

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats, also referred to as PUFA. Your body cannot make polyunsaturated fats, so it is essential to get these fats from your diet. Omega 3 fatty acids are not only found in fatty fish, but in vegetable oils as well. Vegetable oils that can contain omega 3 fatty acids are used in making almond butter. Depending on the oil used will determine the amount of omega 3 fatty acids found. According to The American Heart Association, the vegetable oils highest in Omega 3 Fatty Acids are flaxseed oil and canola oil. Avoid palm and coconut oil as they are very high in saturated fats and contain no omega 3 fatty acids.

Different Oils Used to Make Almond Butter

Fat, such as oil, is added to almond paste to make almond butter. Depending on the kind of vegetable oil used, the omega 3 fatty acid content can be increased. One such vegetable oil is flaxseed oil. This oil comes from flax plant seeds and contains omega 3 fatty acids also in the form of ALA. Canola oil can also be added to almond paste to produce almond butter. This oil is the second highest vegetable oil source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Health Benefits

Almond butter with omega 3 fatty acid may be beneficial to your health as well as tasting delicious. According to The American Heart Association, a diet high in omega 3 fatty acid can have many benefits for heart health. Omega 3 fatty acid can lower cholesterol and Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL). A high cholesterol and LDL level is associated with heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acid can also reduce the chance of blood clots, thus lowering your chance of stroke. Other health benefits to consuming omega 3 fatty acid are that they can enhance bone strength and also act as an anti-inflammatory, which can help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The recommended intake of omega 3 fatty acid is 7 to 11 gm per week.

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