Nuts and seeds are well known to have many health benefits. They are high in polyunsaturated fats, macronutrients including plant protein and fiber, micronutrients like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and tocopherols (vitamin E), and phytochemicals such as phytosterols, phenolic compounds, resveratrol, and arginine.¹
Making your own nut butter is very simple, only requiring some nuts, a food processor and glass jars for storage. You can be very creative as nut butters are very versatile; you can add different nuts and seeds and don’t need to be precise with measurements. Making your own nut butter ensures you are getting fresh ingredients preserving all the nutrients in the nuts and seeds. It can even save you some money, as healthy almond butters can be very expensive.
I created this recipe while studying Dietetics and Nutrition at McGill University and working on increasing nut consumption in osteoporotic patients. It contains organic almonds, organic sesame seeds, organic Brazil nuts, organic chia seeds, and optionally organic honey, organic virgin coconut oil and a pinch of salt.
Nutritional Benefits of Nuts
Almonds are a great source of vegan protein and a good source of calcium, providing you with 21 g of protein, 12 g of fiber and 264 mg of
calcium per 100 grams. Almonds have been studied for their many health benefits including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer², improving cognitive function and even helping with weight-loss ³ ⁻ ⁴
Sesame seeds are also a good source of protein but are an even better source of calcium! They provide 18 g of protein, 12 g of fiber and 975 mg of calcium in 100 grams. Sesame seeds contain sesamol, which recent studies show play a role in differentiating human mesenchymal stem cells from adult bone marrow to osteoblasts (bone building cells).⁵ They also contain omega 3 fatty acids which help fight inflammation.⁷
Brazil nuts are not only high in protein (14 g per 100 g) and fiber (8 g per 100 g) but they contain the essential trace element selenium. Several studies suggest that dietary selenium intake may be necessary for bone health through antioxidant protection, enhanced immune function and changes in cell proliferation.⁶ On the other hand, selenium deficiency has been associated with poor bone metabolism and increase risk of bone disease(6). The recommended dietary allowance for selenium is 55 micrograms per day for adults which you would easily get from consuming 1 brazil nut. That’s why I add a few brazil nuts in my nut butter to make sure I get a bit of selenium everyday.
Chia seeds are now well known for their nutrient density. In 100 grams, they pack 17 g of protein, 34 grams of fiber and 16 grams of the omega 3 Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). Studies show that chia seeds can reduce inflammatory markers, reduce blood pressure and may be beneficial for bone health.⁷⁻⁸ Findings from human bone cell culture experiments have revealed the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids compared to omega 6 and saturated fatty acids. Furthermore observational and randomized controlled trials suggest that higher omega 3 intake is strongly linked with reduced risk of fragility fracture. I try to add chia seeds to my cereal, smoothies and baked goods to increase their nutrient content.
This nut butter is nutrient rich and a healthy snack you can enjoy everyday with fresh fruit, rice crackers, whole wheat toast or even by the spoonful!
Watch Leonor’s video below:
- Food processor with an S blade
- Rubber Spatula
- Mason jar
- 3 cups raw organic almonds
- 8 tbsp. organic brazil nuts (4 oz. or a handful)
- 6 tbsp. organic sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp organic chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. organic honey
- 2 tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients except optional ones in food processor.
- Process ingredients until smooth and creamy for about 10-15 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with the rubber spatula and process another 2-3 minutes.
- To sweeten, add honey and coconut oil according to taste with a pinch of salt and process another 2-3 minutes.
- Put finished nut butter in air tight glass jar and store in the fridge. Enjoy your homemade nutrient rich nut butter on just about anything!
Notes and tips:
- Slightly warming the almonds for 10 minutes in a 200° F oven will speed up the blending process by helping to release the oils. You can also use roasted almonds instead of raw almonds.
- Try adding other nuts and experiment with your own blend of seeds!
- If adding honey, add coconut oil according to preferred texture. You can also add maple syrup or dates for a vegan alternative.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe! Let me know if you like it, and what other goodies you add to your own nut butters in the comments below.
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- Kris-Etherton P.M, Hu F. B, Ros E., & Sabaté J. (2008). The role of tree nuts and peanuts in the prevention of coronary heart disease: multiple potential mechanisms. Journal of Nutrition, 138(9):1746S-1751S
- Grosso, G., Estruch, R. (2016) Nut consumption and age-related disease. Maturitas. 84:11-6.
- Abazarfard Z., Salehi M. Keshavarzi S. (2014). The effect of almonds on anthropometric measurements and lipid profile in overweight and obese females in a weight reduction program: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Journal of research in medical sciences, 19(5):457-64.
- Foster, G.D., Shantz, K. L., Vander Veur, S.S., Oliver, T.L., Lent, M.R., Virus, A., Szapary, P.O., Rader, D.J., Zemel, B.S., Gilden-Tsai, A. (2012). A randomized trial of the effects of an almond-enriched, hypocaloric diet in the treatment of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 96(2):249-54.
- Kim, M., Lee, Y.J., Jee, S.C., Choi, I. Sung, J.S. (2013). Anti-adipogenic effects of sesamol on human mesenchymal stem cells. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 1;469(1):49-54
- Zeng, H., Cao, J. J., & Combs, G. F. (2013). Selenium in Bone Health: Roles in Antioxidant Protection and Cell Proliferation . Nutrients, 5(1), 97–110. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu5010097
- Longo, A.B., Ward, W.E. (2016). PUFAs, Bone Mineral Density, and Fragility Fracture: Findings from Human Studies. Advances in Nutrition. 7(2):299-312
- Toscano, L.T., da Silva, C.S., Toscano, LT, de Almeida AE, Santos Ada C, Silva, A.S. (2014). Chia flour supplementation reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. Plant Foods Human Nutrition. 69(4):392-8