What Is Almond Milk? The Dairy Alternative
If you can’t eat dairy or choose not to for health or personal reasons, then you will probably want a viable alternative to cow’s milk. Whether it be for breakfast cereals, smoothies, or just any dish that requires milk, it’s great to have something that can replace the dairy version, but also tastes pretty good and almond milk goes a long way to filling the void.
Health and Other Benefits This Dairy Alternative
This article takes a look at exactly what almond milk is made from and what health benefits this readily available dairy alternative can offer for those who need it. Let’s start right away with what this milk substitute is all about.
Is Almond Milk Natural?
Almond milk refers to plant-based milk that comes from almonds. This product has a creamy texture and nutty taste and does not contain lactose or cholesterol.
For this reason, it usually consumed by people who are lactose-intolerant as well as those who wish to avoid dairy products, such as vegans.
For the most part, it’s a very natural, not too processed milk alternative, mostly containing almonds, water, and some mineral salts. It is usually fortified with various vitamins, such as vitamins A, E, and D
What Varieties Are There?
Commercial almond milk comes in various different flavors, including sweetened, vanilla, plain, unsweetened, and chocolate flavor.
Can You Make Your Own?
You can. In addition to buying it from the store, you can attempt to make almond milk at home using a blender, ground almonds, and filtered water.
You’ll need a coffee filter or similar product to put the mix through in order to remove the nut solids and create a creamy, smooth product.
For Individuals who are allergic to almonds and nuts, unfortunately, this product is not an option. Soy milk may be a better alternative for those who can not consume nut-based products but still want to remain dairy free.
Is Almond Milk Good For You?
Like almost every natural food-based product, almond milk has some hype surrounding it and while some of it may be exaggerated, some of the health benefits may warrant some positive critique.
This particular product contains protein, antioxidants, as well as healthy fats. It is 50% lower in calories when compared to cow’s milk, which means that it is ideal for people who want to lose weight. In addition, it contains no cholesterol since it is not an animal product.
This means that it is very good for people with lactose allergies as well as vegans, or those folks who wish to maintain a healthy cholesterol level.
When fortified, almond milk becomes an important source of vitamin D. This is a great benefit of this product, especially when you consider the fact that generally, vitamin D is not commonly found in the normal human diet.
This makes almond milk almost essential for people who are low or deficient in vitamin D.
Lack of vitamin D is known to raise the risk of brittle bones, weak muscles, and fatigue.
So, Is It Healthy?
It certainly is if you need the nutrients almond milk provides. Almond milk is known to have a number of possible health benefits, including the following:
Helping Maintain Your Immune System In Healthy State
Almond milk contains various minerals and nutrients that are essential when it comes to helping maintain a healthy immune system.
Taking almond milk regularly is thought by some to help benefit and nurture a strong immune system, which in return helps your body to ward off infections.
This product contains a significant amount of vitamin A, a very important vitamin that is known to help promote proper eye function. (1)
It is a well-known fact that regular use of smartphones, computers, and tablets, which is a common occurrence in many offices and homes these days, can have a negative effect on vision.
You may address this problem naturally by increasing your consumption of vitamin A. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to make almond milk on a regular basis.
Maintaining And Reducing Blood Pressure
Including almond milk in your diet plan may help maintain and lower your blood pressure.
This particular product contains a significant amount of vitamin D, among other vitamins. Vitamin D and certain other minerals, including phosphorous, may play a very important role when it comes to keeping your arterial system in a good condition and assisting in maintaining healthy blood pressure.
In order to function optimally, your veins need to have the ability to expand and contract freely in order to allow the blood to flow freely to and from every part of your body. Without adequate amounts of vitamin D in your body, this may not be possible. (2)
If your arteries happen to become blocked or where you may have poor movement of blood within your veins, you might experience hypertension, which is known to be an adverse health condition.
For this reason, if you do not include other foods rich in D vitamins, including dairy products, in your diet plan, you may have insufficient amounts of this important nutrient as well as other essential nutritionally important substances which can potentially lead to high blood pressure. To avoid such an eventuality, you could supplement with almond milk in order to improve the health of your heart.
Improving Bone Health
This particular product may also be (when fortified) a rich source of calcium, a mineral that is important when it comes to the maintenance and formation of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, calcium is also essential when it comes to maintaining a normal heartbeat, the formation of blood clots, as well as relaxing muscles.
For this reason, including almond milk in your diet plan is ideal because it will help supply calcium to your body, thus helping your bones to grow in a healthy way. It will also help reduce your risk of osteoporosis. Calcium works together with certain other vitamins, including vitamin D, leading to stronger bones for life. (3)
The high-quality fats in almond milk may help to promote good cholesterol and fight the production of bad cholesterol.
Fats that are found in nuts like almonds can have omega 3 fatty acids which support good heart health and positive HDL cholesterol levels.
It May Have Some Anti-Cancer Properties
Scientific studies seem to suggest that consuming almond milk has the effect of suppressing the growth of certain cells that are known to promote prostate cancer.
The growth of these particular cells is stimulated by the consumption of cow’s milk.
Prostate cancer is a major killer of males, similar in numbers to breast cancer, but receives much less publicity. Knowledge about the prevention of this silent but frequent form of male deaths is not widely discussed.
If almond milk does indeed have anti-prostate cancer properties, then it may be of benefit to males, especially those over the age of 40 who may be more prone to this invasive cancer.
Including the right kinds of foods in your diet plan is known to help accelerate the process of building muscle. Such foods include those that contain minerals and vitamins that are known to promote muscle development.
Almond milk serves as a good example of such foods because it contains riboflavin. Riboflavin is known to work together with a number of other nutrients in your body, including iron, in regulating the growth as well as strength of muscles. (4)
Most almond milk also contains protein, a very essential nutrient when it comes to maintaining healthy skin and muscle development.
Protein is also known to help maintain the health of other body organs that are responsible for repairing and maintaining your body, though almond milk contains smaller amounts of protein than dairy milk.
More Benefits Of Almond Milk
Aside from the above-mentioned nutritionally powerful advantages of this nut-based milk substitute, there are some smaller but nonetheless impressive possible health benefits.
Here below are some of the other advantages of this product:
Breast Milk Alternative?
Almond milk is known to be rich in certain nutrients, which resemble the ones that are found in the breast milk of mothers. These include vitamin D, C, and Iron.
While many people in the medical profession will absolutely not recommend any alternatives to breast milk, some realize that there are busy working moms who rely on formula or adhere to vegan principles that they (rightly or wrongly) wish to follow with their infants.
Almond milk may go some way to providing nutritional support for infants whose parents refuse breast milk and formula, though a comprehensive look at the individual types of almond milk would be considered fundamentally necessary at the minimum.
This article suggests almond milk is definitely not recommended for infants as it lacks too many important nutrients.
Fiber in Almond Milk
Almond milk contains around one gram of mostly soluble fiber per serving. This is known to help improve digestion.
Though that may seem like an insignificant amount, bear in mind that fluid sources of fiber can really add up when people consume larger quantities.
It Does Not Necessarily Need Refrigeration
This makes the product easy to take with you on your camping trip or to the workplace.
It remains perfect at room temperature, meaning that it is a very convenient and nutritious staple to pack.
If you prefer it cold, then by all means put it in the fridge, but it’s interesting to note that you don’t have to.
It Can Be Made At Home From Scratch
The process of making this product is quite easy. You just need to finely grind almonds and then placing them in a blender containing water, and filtering the pulp using a strainer in order to separate it from the liquid.
You can choose to put in additions as you please like sweeteners, mineral salts, and flavorings.
Almond Milk Nutritional Facts
It’s important to know what you’re drinking and how this can play into a healthy diet.
One cup of this product in its unsweetened form contains:
- 1 gram of protein
- 3 grams of fat
- Around 30 calories
- 1 gram of fiber
- 1 gram of carbohydrate
- Fortified almond milk may contain iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and possibly extra protein.
So Is It Worth Drinking?
It is definitely good for those who want an alternative to dairy milk