No one can stress enough the importance of milk in our diet. As a powerhouse beverage, milk has always played a vital role in health and wellness. It’s a delicious and nutritious way to get your daily dose of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals necessary to attain good health and healthy immune function.
Since milk has become a staple diet of every average person, dairy companies are expanding their market by introducing new manufacturing innovations. One example is milk protein concentrate, which maximizes the protein content from milk while decreasing the lactose content. This gives the milk product a bland, clean, and milky flavor that is light, fresh, and satisfying.
But with the rise of vegan diets and plant-based trends, consumers, including those with dairy sensitivities, now look for alternatives to dairy milk. This is where almond milk comes in as the most popular plant-based milk in the United States. To know more about this, we’ll dig deeper into the health benefits of almond milk and its downsides.
What is almond milk?
Almonds are native to southwestern Asia, particularly the Middle East, but many people around the world enjoy them. Most people identify almonds as nuts, but they’re actually seeds rather than a true nut. People ground almonds into flour, eat them as snacks, and sometimes turn them into milk.
Almond milk is a popular plant-based product, especially among Americans, because of its rich flavor and texture. It’s also lactose free, making it extremely popular among people who are allergic to dairy products. It serves as a tasty and healthy alternative to traditional dairy milk. Others love it because of its sweet, nutty flavor and creamy texture. Beyond its taste, almond milk has massive health benefits, but we’ll discuss more about that later.
This plant-based milk alternative contains ground almond, water, and other nutritious ingredients. Although most people buy premade almond milk on groceries, others choose to make it on their own. In fact, you’ll find a lot of easy recipes online about how to make your own almond milk blend at home. All you have to do is to blend almonds with water and strain the mixture to remove pulp.
Almond milk is known for its creamy texture and nutty flavor, similar to regular milk. Most almond milk sold commercially contains flavorings, preservatives, and thickeners to improve texture, flavor, and shelf life. Since its naturally dairy free, almond milk is ideal for vegans and those who are intolerant and allergic to dairy.
Compared with regular dairy milk and other plant-based drinks, almond milk has a very low caloric content with only 39 calories per 240 ml. It’s also a natural and excellent source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals. Other commercial varieties contain vitamin D and calcium, which are necessary for bone health.
Almond milk may not be as nutritious as traditional dairy milk, but most varieties often contain added calcium, protein, and vitamin, which makes it similar to regular milk in terms of nutritional content. It’s also rich in magnesium, an essential mineral for using energies in the body and managing blood sugar levels.
Compared with regular milk, sugar-free almond milk is low in carbohydrates and sugar. It has 50% to 80% fewer calories without losing its rich flavor. This makes almond milk a low glycemic index food, making it less likely to cause high blood sugar.
Almonds are naturally rich in vitamin E, but most commercial varieties have added vitamin E. This makes almond milk a powerful antioxidant to reduce stress and inflammation in the body. It also serves as a protection against cancer and heart disease and benefits eye and bone health.
Despite the many benefits of almond milk, it also has important downsides.
Almond milk only contains a single gram of protein per cup, which makes cow’s milk a better protein source. Protein is vital for various bodily functions, such as muscle growth, bone and skin structure, and hormone and enzyme production.
Experts advise not to use almond milk for infants because it prevents iron absorption. Plant-based drinks are low in calories, fat, protein, and other vitamins and minerals, such as calcium and iron, which are essential for infant growth.
Sweetened and flavored almond milk also has a high sugar content, which increases risks of dental cavities, weight gain, and other health issues.
Almond is a versatile milk product and an ideal milk substitute for vegans, lactose-intolerant individuals, and those avoiding milk for whatever reason. You can consume almond milk just like you would consume regular dairy milk. If you want to include it in your daily diet, make sure to add other protein-rich foods, such as fish, seeds, chicken, eggs, and beans.