Cashew butter is a naturally sweet spread made from ground cashews.You can use it on toast or as an ingredient in stir fries or baked goods. When eaten in moderation, cashew butter is a healthy addition to any diet.
Cashew butter contains 3 g of protein per 1-tbsp. serving. It offers 4 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for iron and 1 percent for calcium. It also has 18 percent of the RDA for copper and 10 percent for magnesium. Both of these minerals help with bone, muscle and joint health. Cashew butter is also a source of riboflavin, thiamin, niacin and vitamin E.
Seventy-five percent of the fat in cashew butter is oleic acid, the type of heart-healthy unsaturated fat found in olive oil. Substituting unsaturated fats for saturated fats found in animal products and tropical oils can help improve your cholesterol levels, notes the American Heart Association.
Regular consumption of nuts and nut products, like cashew butter, can improve your overall diet. Researchers from the Oakland Research Institute report in a September 2008 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition" that people who eat nuts tend to have higher intakes of certain nutrients such as folate, beta-carotene, vitamin K, lutein, zeaxanthin, phosphorus, copper, selenium, potassium and zinc.
One tablespoon of cashew butter contains 94 calories and 8 g of fat. If you are on a weight loss plan, these calories can quickly add up. Keep your portions to just one or two tablespoons per day to benefit from the multiple vitamins and minerals available in the butter, but keep calories under control. Consuming moderate amounts of nuts can help you feel fuller and more satisfied, and prevent you from overeating.
Cashew butter is usually sold raw, and requires refrigeration after opening to prevent it becoming rancid. Cashew butter does not usually contain added sugar, making it a healthy alternative to sweetened peanut butters. Use it in lieu of peanut butter for cookies or peanut sauces. Add cashew butter to a smoothie made with frozen bananas and soy milk to make a mock ice cream.
Andrea Boldt has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A personal trainer, run coach, group fitness instructor and master yoga teacher, she also holds certifications in holistic and fitness nutrition.