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nutrition | raw vs roasted nuts

How do you choose almond butter? There are so many different varieties.

Raw is always better…with everything.  Cooking with water and heating foods removes nutrients.  The fresher and more natural, the better, when it comes to food.

When nuts are exposed to the high heat it takes to roast nuts, it not only removes nutrients but also can cause free radicals to form and increase the cancer risk, especially in almonds but also in other nuts.  You can read more here.

So, when choosing an almond butter, I choose the raw variety (now that I know this).  At our stores it comes in a much smaller jar than the larger peanut butter and roasted almond butters. And, it can be quite expensive, but as with all nut butter it is high in calories so use it sparingly and that teeny jar will last a month or more!

It’s hard to tell how small the jar is since this photo is huge! It’s an 8 oz jar, vs the 16 oz jars of peanut butter we usually buy in the same brand .  And, we love this brand!!!     MaraNatha

Note: I am assuming that you are no longer eating Jif or Peter Pan peanut butter and that you are aware that if you don’t have to stir peanut butter when you open a fresh jar, it’s because it has sugar added!

Cliff - Soooooo… if you are eating the raw variety, why don’t you just make your own so that there is absolutely no doubt what is being put into the food that you are consuming. It is far cheaper…

There has been some concern in the direction of “free radicals” in your foods. My question is… are they absorbed by the body? The intestinal mucosa is a phenomenal barrier to many things. Yes, it is a permeable membrane to some nutrients and chemicals, but it must be realized that the development of cancer is dependent on soooooo many factors. If you are prone (genetically) then the environment may have more or less of an effect on the development of cancer. It depends on how the genes are mutated. I have seen people who smoke a life time and besides tar build up in their lungs never develop lung cancer.

As for the loss of nutrients through the cooking process. Yes this is true. It is actually the topic of my Masters thesis (285 pages), but… please do not discount the effects that cooking can have on food that is beneficial. Sometimes the nutrients are trapped in the cell and despite the amount of chewing and the high acid levels of the stomach (~pH 1, which is enough to cook anything, i.e. ceviche) you never get those nutrients. The cooking process breaks down those cells and releases the nutrients to the cooking environment so that your body has a chance at absorbing them.

Soooo roasting allows the natural oils to toast and brings out flavors that you normally would not experience otherwise. The question is… is flavor (these are calorie free flavor enhancement through a chemical process known as Millard Reaction products that have over 100 intermediate chemical forms and a few may be mildly toxic but far less problematic than bar smoke) worth more to you than a few free radicals that could be theoretically be countered with fruit (which provides anti-oxidants, the yin to free radical’s yang)?… Hmmmmm….

tori - Cliff, I love your knowledge! Thanks so much for sharing it! I should consider making my own. It’d be much cheaper, I’m sure, than buying it in this teeny jar! I should do the same w/ peanut butter. I’ll have to add that to my list of things to research!

I had no idea that was your thesis topic!! Great job summing it up for us & creating more questions!!! Hmmmmm….

joy - A website for YUMMY raw recipes: http://therawtable.com/

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