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July 29, 2019
So, which butter should I choose?

Butter is one of the dairy products that is used in countless savory and sweet recipes. As you know very well, you should consume it reasonably since only 1 tablespoon contains 110 calories and 8 g saturated fats*. So, in that way, we constantly see new alternatives being created… I imagine you are also wondering which one is better and why you should use another fat source in your diet.

Olive oil

It may not be a butter, but it is another fat source which is consumed a lot in Greece. I have already talked to you in detail about olive oil, here. Several studies have been conducted regarding the extra virgin olive oil and its nutritional value. One tablespoon may have 113 calories but, at the same time, it is rich in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E. In fact, it seems that its consumption reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and other types of inflammation. Besides, it is not by chance that it is known worldwide for its properties!

Nut butters (peanut, almond and cashew butter)

The truth is that some people are not impressed by the flavor of nut butters. Others, on the other hand, cannot stop licking their fingers…These alternatives can be used mainly for sweet recipes - of course - and lately, they are becoming more and more known as healthier choices. They contain protein, fiber, and Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Ideally, they should be consumed reasonably and keep in mind that 1 tablespoon peanut butter contains 114 calories, 1 tablespoon almond butter has 122 and 1 tablespoon cashew butter has 103 calories.

You can read more about the nutritional value of nuts and butters in the following diaries:

1. What nut would you prefer and why (Part 1) and (Part 2).

2. Peanut butter vs almond butter: What would you choose? 

Ghee butter

Ghee butter by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

As for its nutritional value, it does not differ greatly from regular butter. One tablespoon has 123 calories and contains about 8 g saturated fats. It differs with the classic butter in that it contains less lactose and can be easily consumed by people who are lactose intolerant. It also comes from cow’s milk and seems to be used more in Asian cuisine and traditional Chinese medicine for burns and massages.

Coconut butter

It is also being more and more consumed than it used to, and it is becoming more well-known. The truth is that opinions regarding coconut butter differ greatly. It is certainly one more butter alternative that many people use in Asian cuisine -mainly in India- and that can give a pretty different taste to our dishes. One tablespoon of coconut butter has 243 calories (quite a lot, I might say) and 23 g saturated fats. You should simply know that saturated fats are the cause of many cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. Thus, coconut butter should not be consumed in large quantities. On the other hand, it seems to have antiseptic and antimicrobial properties and it is used in several studies researching Alzheimer’s and epilepsy treatments.  

Avocado butter

Spicy avocado dip by the Greek chef Akis Petretzikis

This all-time favorite fruit can become a spread and it can be also used as a butter alternative that you really have to try. You can add it to sweet and savory recipes and, of course, to consume it in its raw form. It is rich in nutrients; specifically, it contains plenty of the B-complex vitamins, fiber, potassium, vitamin A, E, and C. The monounsaturated (71% RDI**) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (13% RDI) that it contains, enhance the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) when consumed at the same time, with other fruits and vegetables. Moreover, there are positive indications that the consumption of avocado improves the heart’s health and normal function, as well as it helps in maintaining a balanced weight. I think that it’s clearly time to add it to your diet – consuming it within reason, of course!

As you understand, a balanced diet is what you have to follow in order to see the desired results to your health and body! For this reason, you should consult a specialist and try not to overdo it with foods simply because they have been characterized healthy or have become a trend.

*That is, more than 40% of the daily intake for an adult who consumes, on average, 2000 calories a day.

**Reference Daily Intake

Akis

This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.

*The above information is based on published research findings.

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