Almond milk provides a healthy alternative to cow’s milk. This guide to the benefits of almond milk will help you make the most of this nutritious food.
Almond milk is considered a superfood due to its numerous health benefits. The food is commonly consumed raw as a beverage, though it may also be used as a substitute for cow’s milk, soy milk, or coconut milk in your favorite recipes. A single eight-ounce serving of almond milk per day will deliver many excellent health benefits, and adding it to your diet is as simple as pouring a glass to go with your morning breakfast.
Almond milk is also lower in calories than many other types of milk. This makes it a great choice for those looking to add more nutrition to their daily diet without increasing caloric intake. Almond milk can help adults shed pounds when consumed as an alternative to cow’s milk or high-calorie coconut milk. It also contains no animal byproducts, allowing vegans and vegetarians to enjoy it without guilt.
Nutritional Benefits of Almond Milk
Almond milk contains many essential vitamins, and most modern blends available on the market contain added vitamin A, D, and B12. The milk is also naturally rich in:
- Potassium, for more try parsley
- Zinc, for more try mulberries
- Selenium, for an even greater source try brazil nuts
For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015. Almond milk usually contains calcium supplementation equal to approximately one-third of the value of cow’s milk, making it a good alternative to dairy products for consumption throughout the day. It contains heart-healthy fats that can help improve your cardiovascular health, as well as up to 50 percent of the recommended dosage of vitamin E, along with many other antioxidants in each single serving.
Benefits of Drinking Almond Milk
Almond milk has many benefits. Among these are increased bone and muscle growth promoted by regular intake of adequate phosphorous minerals, regulated kidney and organ function delivered by potassium, and the many benefits that come from zinc consumption. Zinc benefits include healthy growth and cell division, reproductive functions, immune system performance, and visual acuity. The added vitamins found in most almond milk blends help keep your eyes and skeletal structure healthy. Added calcium can also help ward off osteoporosis and other bone issues.
Benefits of Almond Milk for Skin
Almond milk is especially beneficial for skin, hair, and nails. The amount of protein delivered by the food is fairly small, at only one gram per serving, but zinc can help keep skin clear and free of blemishes. Insufficient zinc levels can lead to thinning or lost hair. The food is rich in vitamin E, which is required for protecting skin against damage from the harsh rays of the sun. Vitamin E is one of the many antioxidants found in almond milk that can help trap free radicals that may result in cancer. For other cancer fighters try arugula.
Benefits of Almond Milk vs. Cow Milk
One of the key differences between almond milk and cow’s milk is fat content. Except for skim cow’s milk, which contains no fat, most varieties of cow’s milk contain animal fats, which are saturated and not heart-healthy. Almond milk contains only heart-healthy fats. Unsweetened milk has typically half the calories found in cow’s milk, and sweetened varieties often still fall behind whole milk in caloric counts, making them a low-calorie option for those looking for a substitute that can help promote weight loss.
Both are commonly supplemented with the same set of vitamins, and both have excellent health benefits for bones, skin, and hair. Skin health doesn’t end with Vitamin E rich foods like Almond Milk, you also need the Vitamin A provided in other superfoods like carrots. Almond milk typically contains more carbohydrates and less protein than cow’s milk, making the latter a better choice for those on carbohydrate-restrictive diets or for bodybuilders looking to bulk up.
Benefits of Almond Milk vs. Soy Milk
Almond milk and soy milk are very similar in many aspects. Nutritional values tend to be very close, with only minor differences between them. Both have sweetened and unsweetened varieties, but almond milk tends to have far fewer calories than the same variety of soy milk. Similarly, carbohydrates and sugar tend to be lower in almond milk, though it does vary by brand and blend. Almond milk contains no saturated fat, which is present in almost all soy milk blends. Soy milk offers more potassium, folate RDA, and magnesium than most almond milk blends, however. The two are close enough in nutrition that alternating between them at meals or on different days can help you capture the benefits of both.
Benefits of Almond Milk vs. Coconut Milk
The first and most glaring difference between almond milk and coconut milk is its caloric value. Unsweetened almond milk contains approximately thirty calories, but coconut milk may have 400 or more in a single serving. This means that coconut milk is far less preferable for those looking to cut calories. Coconut milk is the clear loser when it comes to saturated fats, being the highest of most milk alternatives, and it is a food more fit for dessert preparation and occasional intake instead of daily consumption. The coconut doesn’t just have its milk to offer, coconut oil happens to be one of our top superfoods!
Selecting and Storing Almond Milk
Since the calorie, fat, and nutrition content of almond milk can vary depending on the brand you choose, be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully when shopping for it. Your children are sure to love the flavored varieties of almond milk, but those are generally sweetened with added sugars that may offset the other health benefits. Most brands of almond milk can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to a few months, but you should read the label to determine whether it needs refrigeration or not. All varieties of almond should be refrigerated after opening. Store-bought almond milk will generally stay fresh for a week or two while refrigerated, but will deteriorate rapidly at room temperature.
Make Your Own Almond Milk
Making your own almond milk is much easier than you think.
Discard the soaking water and place the almonds in a blender or food processor. Grind the almonds, adding small amounts of water as you go, until you have a liquid that looks like milk.
- Soak shelled almonds in water for one to two days. The longer you soak them, the creamier the resulting milk will be.
- Discard the soaking water.
- Place the almonds in a blender or food processor.
- Grind the almonds, adding small amounts of water as you go, until you have a liquid that looks like milk and is the appropriate consistency.
Keep in mind that fresh almond milk has no added preservatives, so you should be prepared to consume it within a few days.
There are a few considerations to take into account when deciding whether or not to add almond milk to your diet. Its low protein values mean that you will need to ensure that you are getting plenty of protein from other sources. While it is lactose and glucose free, allowing those suffering from intolerance or allergies to those substances to take advantage of its nutritional benefits, it can trigger allergies in those sensitive to tree nuts.