The days of a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich are over, thanks to the evolution of nut butters over the past few years. Not only are we leaning into alternative nut butters (think walnut or cashew), but additional fillers, emulsifiers, sugars, and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, are becoming less and less popular as well.
Still, the question remains: Which nut butter is the healthiest? On a recent episode on the mindbodygreen podcast, gut health expert Megan Rossi, Ph.D., R.D. (aka The Gut Health Doctor on Instagram), and author of How To Eat More Plants, answers this elusive question.
Which nut butter is the healthiest option?
Before we reveal which nut butter is best, allow us to offer a soft reminder that what you pair with the nut butter also plays a factor in the overall reward from your snack. Here are a few of our favorite ways to incorporate nut butter into your diet:
Now, as for which butter to choose? According to Rossi: “Try to get a diversity of nuts in your nut butter if possible.” That’s right—the best nut butter for your health, Rossi says, is actually a nut butter blend. This makes sense given that different nuts provide different health benefits. Walnuts for example are packed with omega-3s, while cashews are chock-full of magnesium and copper.
Rossi is a champion for getting a diverse array of plants into your diet in general, so it makes sense that she would suggest a mixed nut butter. “More diverse plants, [mean] a more diverse gut bacteria, which in turn [means] a more diverse range of skills that the bacteria can offer our body in terms of hormonal production, metabolism, mental health properties, etc.” she says.
In terms of which nuts you should prioritize, Rossi recommends a butter that contains cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, and peanuts. If you’re looking to shop now, some of our favorite mixed nut butters include the Trader Joe’s Mixed Nut Butter and the Nuttzo Organic Power Fuel Crunchy Nut Butter. Both of these options contain a blend of nuts to provide you with a wide range of nutrients, rather than sticking to a single-nut nutrient profile.
While peanut butter is generally a crowd favorite, mixed nut butters may be a better go-to. Remember to look for a product that contains cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts and seeds if possible. When you’re planning out your next snack, pair this nut butter with whole foods to double down on nutrients. And if you want to learn more about the range of nut butter benefits, check out this breakdown of the most common nuts and why they’re oh-so-good for you.