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Recently, cow milk has gotten a bad rap. From doctors to health exponents, everyone is asking us to make that big shift from cow milk to almond milk. Now, why is it that almond milk is creating a buzz in the world of health and fitness?
Low on sugar and high on taste, it is the healthier version of your ubiquitous cow’s milk. But with grocery stores bursting with options, it is difficult to zero in on one kind of milk. Every cow milk substitute has its perks and pitfalls.
So is almond milk really good for you? To cut through the confusion, we took a close look at the benefits of almond milk. Here’s what you need to know.
Benefits of Almond Milk
If you have just started looking for non-dairy milk as you are watching your waistline, almond milk is just the right choice for you. What hooks you is the appealing mild and nutty taste, as well as its creamy consistency. The transition from dairy milk to almond milk is quite easy, as it is low in calories, with some brands having as few as 30 calories per cup and it’s very low in fat as well, packing just about 2.5 grams per cup. Let’s check out the other benefits of almond milk.
1. It is packed with wholesome goodness
Although almond milk is not as nutritionally dense as conventional cow’s milk, the fortified products can give cow’s milk a run for its, well, nutrition.
What it lacks in, however, it makes up by being fortified with vitamin D, calcium, and protein, making it almost at par with regular milk in nutritional content.
However, almond milk is naturally full of vitamins and minerals; and especially rich in vitamin E.
2. Your heart remains healthy
What tips the scales in its favor is the fact that there’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also pretty low in sodium and rich in the good fats such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish, which helps prevent conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
3. It is diabetic friendly
If you have just been diagnosed with diabetes and have had most of your favorite foods struck out of the To-Eat list, almond milk can be a savior, because it contains a measly 8 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of which are sugar.
These sugars constitute the carbohydrate content that has less detrimental effect on our bodies, in comparison to that of normal dairy milk. Normal dairy contains simple sugars, and these sugars are stored in our bodies as fat, which make our bodies miss out on vital nutrients. Also, almond milk has a low glycemic nature, which means that it can be digested fully by the body and expended for energy.
4. Fortified almond milk protects your bones
As far as a calcium source is concerned; dairy products are regarded as the richest dietary sources. Though almond milk figures nowhere close to cow milk, almond milk is enriched with calcium to make it more nutritious.
For example, one cup of fortified almond milk may contain up to 45–50% of the RDI.
Comparatively, the calcium content in one cup of cow’s milk varies from 28–31% of the RDI
Now, for people who are skipping dairy because of various health reasons, enriched almond milk is an excellent calcium source. Vegans and lactose intolerant people can consume almond milk without any worry.
To build bones and maintain them, you need to stock on calcium. An adequate calcium intake will also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which is a condition characterized by weak bones and fractures.
5. It helps build muscle strength and accelerates muscle recovery
Almond milk may contain only 1 gram of protein per serving, but it more than makes up by being packed with B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin; which considered the building blocks both for muscle growth and healing.
A standard serving of almond milk, serves 4% of your recommended daily intake of iron, which helps maintain oxygen absorption. And an optimum dose of riboflavin is useful in the prevention of migraine headaches.
6. It is high in vitamin D
Nowadays, most people suffer from low levels of vitamin D. This leads to brittle bones, fatigue, and weak muscles.
There are very few good sources of vitamin D in the human diet. You might not be able to soak enough of the vitamin from the sun, so the best way to combat vitamin D deficiency is to enrich your diet with certain foods full of it. This especially holds true of all the milk products.
Just like regular milk, almond milk is often fortified with vitamin D. For example, one cup may contain as much as 101 IU of vitamin D, which is almost 25% of the RDI. One cup of vitamin-enriched cow’s milk contains similar amounts.
This makes enriched almond milk a useful source of vitamin D that can prevent deficiency when consumed regularly.
7. It maintains the youthful nature of your skin
Almond milk contains 50 percent of your daily recommendation of vitamin E, which possesses antioxidant properties that boost your skin’s health and makes sure your skin radiates and glows with youthfulness.
8. You do not need to refrigerate almond milk
It is essential that you keep your dairy milk refrigerated to avoid it getting spoilt. But as far as almond milk is concerned, you can store it outside on your shelf without any worries.
This makes it a wonderful choice to carry during your travel trips. If you are hungry when you are traveling, you do not need to snack on unhealthy food stuff like a bag of chips. Chug along with a glass of almond milk and feel fresh and energetic, minus the guilt pangs that hit you immediately after you eat something unhealthy.
9. Low in calories
Although almonds are 50% fat and pretty dense in calorie count, almond milk is a low-calorie beverage.
This means that you can drink quite a large amount without thinking of weight gain. It is also nutrient rich, which takes care of your nutrient needs without the additional calories.
To give a nutritional breakdown, one cup of almond milk has a paltry 39 calories, which is almost half the number of calories found in a cup of skim milk.
However, before you throw caution to the wind and unmindfully down a few glasses of almond milk at one go, you have got to remember that not all almond milks are the same.
Homemade almond milk or certain brands might contain a significantly higher number of calories, all depending on how many almonds one cup of almond milk contains.
Also, if you are watching your waistline, do remember to read labels and find out whether they contain added sugar.
10. Your digestion in order
The high fiber content of almond milk, one gram of fiber per serving, also takes care of your digestion. Once your gut health is sorted, your health is sure to benefit as well!
How to Make Almond Milk at Home
Almond milk with protein has more than one benefit, but if you want to avoid additives and artificial preservatives, you can make your own wholesome glass of almond milk. Yes, it is super simple to make and you will turn into an almond milk convert, the minute you sip on your first batch of almond milk. Go ahead, give it a try. It’s fresh, nutritious and every bit as delicious you imagined it to be!
Yield: About 4 cups
Time: About 30 minutes, additionally, 8 to 12 hours for soaking them up.
- 1½ cups of raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Sea Salt
- Ground cinnamon to taste
- freshly ground nutmeg to taste
- Put the almonds in a big bowl and add a substantial amount of water to cover them by at least 2 inches. The next step is to soak the almonds at room temperature for at least 8 to 12 hours. The almonds will look swollen after soaking.
- Boil some water in a kettle. Drain the almonds and transfer the contents to a blender. Pour 1 cup of room-temperature water to the almonds and blend for 1 to 2 minutes. The blended mixture should have a consistency of a thick paste. Put the paste in a medium bowl and again add 2 cups of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for about 10 minutes.
- Work in batches and ladle the almond mixture through a medium-to fine mesh metal strainer, and set it over a large bowl. Press down the ground almonds with the back of a spoon to squeeze as much liquid as possible. You can put the ground almonds to other uses.
- Finally, add the maple syrup and vanilla, and also a pinch each of salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the almond milk. Whisk it briskly to combine thoroughly. Taste it and alter the seasoning, according to your taste. You can serve at room temperature or chilled. Homemade almond milk can be stored in an airtight container and in a refrigerator for future use.
Two Almond Milk Recipes to Start your Day on a Healthy Note
To give the right start to your day, begin it on a healthy note. Take care to skip the unhealthy deep-fried, carb-laden breakfasts when watching waistlines. So, almond milk is the perfect breakfast most days of the week. A smoothie is super easy to make. Just churn up some of the healthiest ingredients you can find and you will be good to go.
1. Banana Almond Milk Smoothie
Banana is an integral part of most smoothies because it is nutrient dense and makes the consistency of the smoothie just right. Adding a banana to your daily diet has a wide array of benefits. Contrary to popular belief, bananas also help you reach your weight-loss goals, provide nutrients that regulate heart rhythm and have rich vitamin compounds for eye health.
As mejdool dates are loaded with both soluble and insoluble fiber and amino acids, they can help keep your digestive system functioning at optimal levels. They also contain minerals like copper, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and iron, as well as B vitamins (especially B6), vitamin A and vitamin K.
The dark chocolate antioxidants and sufficient levels of magnesium and other phytochemicals in cacao powder can evenly balance blood pressure, lower the high cholesterol, take away arterial plaque and promote heart health.
- 1 banana
- 200ml almond milk
- 4 Medjool dates
- 2 scoops cacao powder
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- Deseed the dates before placing in a blender with the banana and cacao powder.
- Blend into a paste, then add the almond milk and honey and blend until smooth.
2. Peanut Butter Almond Milk Smoothie
Life without peanut butter can be so boring. In fact, we cannot think of early mornings without the trademark crunch and the gooey taste of peanut butter. Also, what makes it a complete winner is that it has protein as well as potassium, which significantly lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and also heart disease. It also adds fiber to your diet, which regularizes your bowel health; as well as healthy fats and magnesium to fortify your bones and muscles. It is also rich in vitamin E and full of antioxidants.
We cannot help but add a banana for its myriad health benefits, right from its adding bulk to your food to its rich in vitamin and mineral nutritional profile. Also, peanut butter and banana is a match made in nutritional and taste heaven.
“If it is tasty then it must be unhealthy”, said no one ever of Greek yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt has double the protein, almost half the carbs and half the sodium of the regular variety. So, you can safely bank on Greek yogurt to meet your nutritional needs.
Rich in all things healthy, this has now become our breakfast staple for ages to come!
- 2 tablespoons of 100% natural peanut butter
- 1 frozen banana
- 200ml of almond milk
- 50g fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon of raw honey
- To make this smoothie, you will need to peel and freeze one banana in advance. Place the banana, peanut butter and remaining ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
- If you are a vegan, you can skimp on the Greek yogurt.
The benefits of almond milk are way too many to ignore. It is versatile enough to be added to a number of recipes. To reap the full benefits of almond milk, make your own or look for one which is carrageenan and sugar-free. You will then get a drink which is satiating, nutritious and super healthy!