Almond Milk: Health Benefits, Precautions and Ways to Use
Almond milk is a healthy and nutritious alternative to dairy milk. It is one of the most popular products derived from almonds. Almond milk is also one of the most consumed non-dairy milk used globally. It is lactose-free and can be a healthy alternative for lactose intolerance. It contains rich and multiple nutrients. Hence, it is highly nutritious and offers immense health benefits. For example, it has beneficial effects on the heart, brain, skin etc. It also has anticancer and antioxidant properties. Therefore, Vegans and others who are lactose intolerant prefer almond milk to dairy.
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a vegan substitute for dairy milk. You can make it by grinding raw almonds with water till smooth. You should then strain the mixture to remove the residue. The resulting milk is nutritious and has a nutty flavour. After that, you can serve it as it is. It is a healthy non-dairy alternative that is highly versatile. Again, it has a nutty flavour. The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in almond milk impart essential health benefits.
Nutritional Value of Almond Milk
As per USDA, 100 ml of almond milk contains
- Calories: 15kCals
- Carbs: 0.3g
- Fibre: 0.3g
- Fat: 1.2g
- Protein: 0.6g
Vitamin and Minerals
Almond milk also contains fair amounts of vitamins and minerals. It is rich in:
- Vitamin A, E and D
Health Benefits of Almond Milk
Almond milk is naturally high in several nutrients. It includes calcium, potassium and several other minerals. Additionally, it is full of antioxidants. These nutritional properties protect you from multiple health issues. For example, almond milk helps prevent mild infections and cancer. In addition, vitamin E, K, C are other compounds that help your body’s primary functions. The potential health benefits of almond milk are countless. Let us explore a few of them.
1. Improves Heart Health
Almond milk has remarkable benefits for your heart. Some of these benefits include:
Good Source of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the four most essential minerals in the body. It is vital for cardiac functions, blood glucose, bone health control, etc. Also, magnesium regulates heartbeat and helps transport calcium, potassium and other minerals across the cells. Therefore, it prevents the accumulation of calcium in the arteries. In addition, it limits the risks of plaque formation. As a result, it reduces the risk for several cardiac diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke.
Helps Control Blood Cholesterol
Almond milk helps reduce the deposition of fat in the heart’s arteries. Fat deposits in the arteries may cause most cardiac diseases. It is because of the plaque formation that may disturb the blood flow, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood. Thereby, it may lead to hypertension and stroke.
Studies suggest that almond milk helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, it reduces the risk of heart diseases. It also contains healthy fats such as omega-3, which is heart-healthy.
Reduce Blood Pressure
Almond milk contains calcium, potassium and magnesium, essential for maintaining blood pressure. They facilitate contraction and relaxation of blood vessels, thereby ensuring smooth blood flow across the body. Calcium helps in the contraction of your heart muscles. Therefore, it can help to pump blood. Studies suggest that magnesium helps regulate heart rhythm. It may also be vital in transporting calcium and potassium to other cells. Therefore, prevent conditions like arrhythmias of the heart.
2. Alternative for Lactose Intolerant People
Almond milk lacks lactose which is the natural sugar present in animal milk. Some people cannot digest lactose because they are lactose intolerant. It leads to uneasiness and body discomforts. Studies suggest that lactose-intolerant people can also experience:
- Stomach pain
- Gas formation
Almond milk is an excellent replacement for lactose-intolerant people. In addition, you may use almond milk for any recipe that uses animal milk. Apart from intolerance, some people prefer non-dairy milk. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians can also consume it.
3. Improves Bone Health
Almond milk is a rich source of calcium, which our body needs to grow and develop bones. Furthermore, calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis and the risk of fractures. It is a condition in which your bones become weak and brittle. In addition, mild stresses like coughing increases the risk of fractures in osteoporosis.
However, the calcium content in some packaged almond milk can be lesser than dairy milk. Therefore, check the nutrition label while buying almond milk. Opt for fortified almond milk with vitamin A and D.
4. Improves Brain Health
Almond milk is a rich source of vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent free radical damage to cells. Free radical injury can cause multiple disorders like cancer. In addition, almond milk is beneficial in Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s diseases. It also inhibits the progression of diseases. Studies suggest that vitamin E may reduce memory decline and delay symptoms such as memory loss and confusion.
5. Anti-Cancer Properties
Almond milk contains a reasonable amount of antioxidants. Therefore, it has anti-cancer properties. The antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress caused due to free radicals. Studies show that antioxidants can help reduce the risk of cancer.
6. Almond Milk Strengthens Muscles
Almond milk contains vitamins and minerals, calcium, potassium and riboflavin essential for the growth of muscles. In addition, almond milk also has a good amount of protein. Therefore, it contributes to the development and repair of muscle tissues.
7. Improves Skin Texture
Almond milk has vitamin E and healthy fats vital for skin health. These antioxidants protect the skin from free radical cell injury, which causes inflammatory diseases and skin infections, causing acne and other issues. They also protect the skin from sun damage. Furthermore, they also delay skin ageing.
8. Improves Vision
Almond milk is full of vitamin A, which helps improve eye health in various ways. It helps in improving vision and maintaining a healthy cornea. Any disorders in the cornea may result in blurred or opaque vision. Furthermore, vitamin A is essential for forming rhodopsin, which helps enhance your vision during a dim light.
9. Strengthens Immunity
Almond milk has multiple antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Therefore, it helps strengthen your body’s immune system and protect you from diseases. In addition, vitamin E in almond milk is a powerful antioxidant protecting the body from various infections.
10. Helps with Weight Management
Almond milk contains fewer calories than dairy milk. It has almost 50% fewer calories than cow’s milk. In addition, it contains fair amounts of protein and low fat. That makes it ideal for weight management.
How to Prepare Almond Milk?
Almond milk is easy to prepare at home.
- Take 10-12 almonds.
- Soak the almonds overnight.
- Blend with a glass of water to form a smooth liquid.
- Filter the liquid and store.
The filtered liquid is your fresh, healthy and homemade almond milk.
Ways to Include Almond Milk in your Diet
Almond milk is an excellent replacement for dairy milk. You can prepare a chocolate drink, porridge, smoothies, and furthermore. Incorporate it in desserts, oats meals etc. Let us find a few easy and simple recipes using almond milk.
Healthy Recipes using Almond Milk Almond Smoothie
- Preparation Time: 5 minutes
- Serves: 2
- Calories: 170 kcals
- Almond milk: 1 cup
- Banana chopped: 1/2 cup
- Chopped apple: 1 cup
- Cinnamon powder: 1 pinch
- Jaggery (powdered): 1 tsp
- Nutmeg powder: 1/4 tsp
- Yoghurt: 1/4 cup
- Add all the ingredients to a blender.
- Grind for a minute or two or until smooth.
- Serve cold and enjoy.
Overnight Oats with Almond Milk
It is an easy and nutritious recipe. It is ideal for weight loss as it has low calories.
- Calories:170 kcals
- Serves: 1
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Oats: 1/2 cup
- Chia seeds: 1tbsp
- Banana (chopped): 1/4 cup
- Sliced apple: 1/4 cup
- Cinnamon powder: 1/4tsp
- Almond milk: 3/4 cup
- Honey: 1tsp
- Powder chia seeds, oats and cinnamon powder. Transfer to a jar.
- Pour almond milk, close the lid and shake well.
- Refrigerate it for around half an hour or overnight.
- Add chopped banana and apple.
- Mix well and serve.
Possible Side Effects and Risks of Almond Milk
We have seen the health benefits of almond milk. However, it may have some adverse effects, primarily because of excessive use or allergies. For example, some people who are allergic to nuts might experience side effects. Some of the symptoms of these side effects are:
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rashes
Some potential risk factors of consuming almond milk include:
Packaged almond milk contains an additive called carrageenan. The abnormal content of almond milk causes the accumulation of carrageenan. As a result, it may trigger inflammatory bowel disease. Studies suggest that it can cause symptoms such as:
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Blood and mucus in stools
Therefore, anyone with inflammatory bowel diseases should be cautious. Consult your physician if you develop any such symptoms.
Studies suggest that almond milk is a goitrogenic food. As a result, it affects thyroid function in some. In addition, it inhibits the absorption of iodine. Thus, affecting the function of your thyroid gland. However, it may occur only when you consume almond milk in excess. Therefore, talk to your physician before including it in your diet.
Almond milk is a safe supplement because it has all the nutrients. Though plant milk may not be as nutritious as breast milk or dairy milk, they can cause allergies in infants. If your child is lactose intolerant, talk to your doctor for alternative options.
People who are allergic to nuts, is possibly allergic to almonds too. In such cases, consuming almond milk is not advisable. A study suggests that almond allergy symptoms can vary from:
- Swelling of the lips, eyes and mouth
- Skin rashes
- Runny nose
- Abdominal pain
Symptoms may vary according to the intensity of the allergy.
Almond milk is a healthy and nutritious plant-based milk, which can substitute animal milk. Its nutrient value makes it a powerhouse of health benefits. It promotes heart health, brain function and bone health. Additionally, it also improves your immunity, skin health etc. and may be an alternative for people with lactose intolerance.
The vegan diet avoids dairy products. Therefore, vegans and some vegetarians also prefer it over dairy milk. Almond milk is the best alternative for animal milk in all aspects. It can be due to the presence of all the vital nutrients. However, it is advisable to consume it in appropriate amounts. However, it may not be the best option if you are allergic to nuts. If you have thyroid or inflammatory disorders, talk to your doctor before adding almond milk to your dietary routine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Q. Is it healthy to drink almond milk every day?
A. Almond milk is beneficial to your health. Drinking a glass of this tasty beverage every day will help you get a healthy lifestyle. One of the primary benefits of consuming almond milk every day is that it boosts your immune system and enables you to fight infections and diseases.
Q. Is almond milk healthier than milk?
A. Although almond milk has a higher fat level than regular milk, it has a lower carbohydrate content. As a result, almond milk is typically the better choice for dieters due to its low-calorie content. Dairy milk has nearly double the number of calories as unsweetened almond milk, with only 40kCal calories per cup.
Q. Is almond milk good for weight loss?
A. Yes. Almond milk positively affects your weight-loss journey. It is due to the low-calorie content. Almond milk is a popular weight-loss meal that can help you lose weight in various ways. In addition, it contains fair amounts of protein and low fat. That makes it ideal for weight management.
Q. Are there any side effects of almond milk?
A. Yes. Almond milk can have some possible side effects. However, these side effects occur only due to overconsumption and nut allergies. Some possible side effects are nut allergies, adverse effects on the thyroid gland, high sugar levels, skin reactions, abdominal issues etc.
Q. Is almond milk good for the skin?
A. Yes. Almond milk is good for the skin because it contains a lot of moisture. As a result, it rejuvenates and refreshes the skin, keeping it smooth, plump and well-hydrated. It’s also high in antioxidants, which help to prevent wrinkles and fine lines.
Q. Which is healthier, almond or oat milk?
A. Almond milk is somewhat better than oat milk in terms of nutrition. For example, almond milk is rich in vitamin E, good for your skin and immune system.
Q. Can I drink almond milk at night?
A. Almond milk is a sleep-inducing alternative to the traditional bedtime remedy, which might be an excellent sleep-inducing option. In addition, it boosts the serotonin level, which can help you sleep better.
Q. When should I drink almond milk?
A. You can drink almond milk in the morning or at night. It depends on you when you would like to have it. However, it is best to consume it in the morning to reap its health benefits.
Q. Can you warm up almond milk?
A. Almond milk imparts all its benefits at normal temperature. However, you can heat or warm it at low to moderate temperatures. It’s not good to heat almond milk to a high temperature since it can negatively impact the nutritional value.
Q. What kind of milk is good for PCOS?
A. Women with PCOS have the propensity to develop insulin resistance, and the ingestion of dairy can lead to higher insulin levels. Therefore, you can look for healthy alternatives like almond milk (unsweetened), coconut milk, soy milk (unsweetened), hemp milk (unsweetened), flax milk (unsweetened), cashew milk (unsweetened), pea milk (unsweetened) etc.
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