What’s not to love about peanut butter? Most of us were raised on it, I mean peanut butter and jelly was a childhood staple! It’s great on almost anything and the creamy nutty taste mixed with something sweet satisfies almost any craving. But recent research and diet trends are steering people away from peanut butter to more healthy alternatives such as sunflower seed butter.
What’s Wrong with Peanut Butter?
Harmful Ingredients – While peanuts themselves have lots of nutrients that are healthy for the body, many brands of peanut butter have additives that can be very unhealthy. No stir peanut butters for instance are a big seller, but companies use partially-hydrogenated oils along with other harmful oils and preservatives to get that smooth and creamy finish. Additional ingredients that are often added to peanut butter are high levels of salts, sugars, and other artificial sweeteners and additives. None of which are beneficial to the body.
Allergies – Peanuts have actually been banned in many schools around the world due to peanut allergies. They can cause anaphylactic shock and even death in someone that’s severely allergic. Peanut allergies are one of the most common food allergies around and an estimated 400,000 children in the US suffer from an allergy to peanuts (American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology).
Dieting – Many people are unaware of the fact that peanuts are actually a bean and not a nut at all. They are a legume to be precise, and if you are following the Paleo diet, legumes are among the foods to be avoided. Sunflower seeds on the other hand are an acceptable alternative.
Why Sunflower Seed Butter?
Vitamins, Minerals, and Protein – Sunflower seeds are high in essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium; Vitamins C, A, D and K; iron; zinc; potassium; phosphorous; and selenium. All of which are essential to your body’s health. Sunflower seeds are also high in protein with about 14% of your daily recommended protein intake per serving.
Magnesium – Sunflower seeds have high levels of magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals to our body’s function. It supports your cardiovascular system and skeletal system, it helps with protein synthesis, your mental health, chronic pain and muscle spasms, and a multitude of other conditions.
A Healthy Heart– Sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E and foliate which promote cardiovascular health. They also have high levels of phytosterols which are believed to promote good cholesterol in your blood by reducing absorption of the bad thus reducing your risk of heart disease. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant which helps neutralize free radicals thereby preventing cell damage. Folate, also known as Vitamin B-12, aids in cell repair and, among many other benefits, is central to the production of red blood cells.
Sunflower Seeds and You
Have we convinced you to try adding sunflower seeds to your diet? Try sunflower seed butter! It tastes great and can be substituted for peanut butter in all your favorite snacks.
Some key facts to keep in mind while purchasing sunflower seed butter: look at the label of ingredients, try to make sure the jar you’re getting is organic with only a few key ingredients, sunflower seeds and salt…or just simply the seeds! My favorite brand is the honey sunflower butter from Wild Friends. It’s organic and can be found at many health food stores.
Make the Butter or Just Make Stuff with the Butter!
Not sure about buying it but really want to make it? Here’s an awesome recipe and instructions for making sunflower seed butter in your Vitamix: http://www.healthnutnation.com/2014/10/18/make-sunbutter-vitamix/
Here’s an awesome looking recipe for no bake sun butter bars, yummy!