5 Health Benefits of Almond Milk + 5 Tips and Hacks
Hey there, did you know that the humble almond isn’t just a snack? Its milk is a gem too, rich in fat and protein but low in carbs. This helps keep your blood sugar levels steady, like a well-tuned engine. There’s more it dishes out, but let’s save the suspense for later. Read on.
Learn here everything you need to know about almond milk – from the origins to the health benefits and why you should definitly try this delicious drink.
Interesting Facts about Almond Milk
Before we delve deeper, let’s sprinkle in some cool trivia. Almond milk isn’t as innocent as it looks, it can give you a punch of calories if sweetened. Just hidden sugars add up to potential weight gain.
But the cup of unsweetened almond milk? Now that’s an angel, low on calories and sugar, perfect for your waistline.
The story of almond milk isn’t a new one, nor did it start in some shiny, modern lab. No, it dates back to the middle ages, probably even before that.
The smart folks back then had already cracked the value of this non-dairy milk. Legend has it that almond milk was a Lenten staple among the elites, a trick to maintain their diets and dodge the fasting rules.
The Arabs call it innovation. It all started in the Middle East where almonds were cherished. The climate was spot-on for growing them, and their love for almonds sparked the invention of this refreshing milk.
And just like that, squeeze, and strain the liquid, and voilà, almond milk was born.
Why was it so popular? Simple – it had a better shelf-life than cow’s milk. Remember, refrigeration wasn’t a luxury they enjoyed back then. Plus, the benefits. Similar to the unsweetened cup of almond milk today, low on calories, easy on the belly, keeping that unwanted weight gain at bay.
The concoction that we lovingly know as almond milk is indeed a simple one. Almond milk is primarily made up of soaked almonds and water.
The almonds are soaked overnight, or for up to two days if they had a heavy night before, to soften. Then they’re ground down finer than a barber’s shave and they’re combined with water.
Essentially, the almonds are swimming laps in an Olympic-sized pool. After that, this mixture is strained to separate the almond pulp from the liquid, creating what we know to be almond milk.
However, if you journey down the milk aisle of any grocery store, you’ll find varieties of almond milk dressed up in all sorts of fancies.
Some are sweeter than your granny’s apple pie, while others are all about keeping it basic. This is achieved by adding sweeteners, vitamins, minerals, and thickeners into the mix.
An example would be your sweetened almond milk, which contains added sugars and hence, additional calories. It’s the dolled-up version of the girl next door.
On the other hand, unsweetened almond milk is the diet-conscious cousin; it doesn’t have any added sugars and contains fewer calories. It’s the sober, designated driver of the almond milk world, getting you to your destination without any detours.
The key takeaway here, my friend, is to always know what’s on the plate…or in this case, in your milk. A little extra sweetener could cost you more than just a few extra bucks on your grocery bill.
How Almond Milk Was Invented
Like many great inventions, the story of almond milk begins way back when. We are talking about the Middle Ages way back. Yes, you heard that right.
This milk alternative isn’t just a fancy trend for health enthusiasts, it’s been gulping down for centuries. Now, don’t quizzically scratch your head, like that high school kid struggling with geometry.
Originally, almond milk was developed in the Middle East, tagged alongside the Islamic expansion, and eventually found its decadent self being used tirelessly in the European cuisines of the Middle Ages.
Get this though, they weren’t grabbing it at the grocery store like we do now. No, they made it right in their kitchens. The recipe? It was as simple as soaking ground almonds in water, straining it, and voila – almond milk.
The intrigue doesn’t stop here, though. The reason for its popularity during those ancient times got nothing to do with folks being lactose intolerant or sticking to a vegan diet. It was all about meat. You see, back in those days, the church had strict rules about consuming animal products during fasting periods.
Fast forward to the modern days, and we got a whole new range of reasons for opting for almond milk. Be it being lactose intolerant, keeping weight in control or just having a preference for plant-based diets.
Oat Milk Versus Almond Milk
On one side of the ring, we have almond milk, a heavyweight contender when it comes to plant-based milk options. On another corner, meet the challenger, oat milk.
Both are contenders in the big battleground of dairy-free milk, but who packs the harder punch?
Right off the starting line, almond milk is made from almonds, which are soaked and pulverized to a pulp, then strained. It’s like blending almonds into a magical elixir. And boom.
You get a milk replacement, and it is no regular milk either. Most commercial almond milk has a good dose of vitamins and minerals. But, the best part? The calorie content.
Most 'unsweetened' almond milk on the market has fewer calories and carbohydrates than a cup of regular milk. So, if you’re counting those pesky numbers, almond milk is your friend.
What about oat milk? Well, it dances to a similar tune. Oats are soaked and ground into a creamy liquid, filling a similar role as almond milk. Notably, oat milk has a slightly higher calorie count than almond milk, and it boasts a more robust flavor. It’s a treat compared to the more subtle taste of almond milk.
Is Almond Milk Keto?
The quick and simple answer to whether almond milk is keto-friendly? Heck, yes. But it’s a little more complicated than just that. You see, not all almond milk is made the same.
Some brands – the ones you usually find on your supermarket shelf – pack a lot more goodies, and by that, I mean sugary carbs, than a homemade or 'unsweetened' version.
You don’t want to start downing cups of almond milk, only to realize you’ve trotted off your keto path.
The trick here is to go with the 'unsweetened' version. This type of almond milk uses fewer sweeteners, reducing the carbohydrate content. So, if you’re on a keto diet and you simply can’t do without your beloved almond milk, just make sure it’s the 'unsweetened' type.
Trust us on this one; you don’t want to play tag with the sweeter versions. They’ll have you chasing after your daily carb limit before you even reach your lunchtime.
Is Almond Milk Gluten Free?
Now, as someone peeking around the kitchen corner for non-gluten food options, you might be asking this – Is almond milk gluten-free? With a nod affirming as wide as the sky, yes, it most certainly is.
You’ll be glad to know almond milk naturally skips the dance with gluten. That sneaky protein found in wheat and barley won’t be stealing any of your spotlights this time.
But wait, don’t sprint to the store just yet. You’ve got to remember to always check the labels, especially if you’re aiming to consume the sweetened versions.
They might be slippery little devils, some brands may sneak in additives or thickeners that contain, yes you guessed it, gluten.
Nutritional Facts and Calories of Almond Milk
Alright, enough of gluten chat, let’s tread to the land of nutritional facts. You might look at almond milk and think, “Well, aren’t you a light drink”, and you’ll be spot-on.
One cup (that’s about 240 grams, partner) of unsweetened almond milk contains around 37 calories while its sweetened cousin racks up roughly 73 calories. Keep your wallet and waistline happy by sticking to the unsweetened version.
Let’s put on our reading glasses here as we delve into almond milk nutrition. This silky pour offers a punch of added vitamins and minerals.
It’s kind of curtain calls include around 1 gram of protein and 2.5 grams of fat. Make no mistake, this kind of fat is the healthier monounsaturated sort.
What’s more, this light brew doesn’t skip a beat when it comes to the necessary extras. It oscillates a smooth jive with calcium, offering around 20 to 45 percent of your daily supply.
Not one to hold back, it chimes in a lovely 10 to 20 percent of vitamin D. But hey. You can’t forget that sweet-sounding vitamin E, playing a mellow lullaby with 20 to 50 percent of the daily intake.
And there’s more; our friendly neighborhood Vitamin A, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B2, and B12 all make an appearance. Feel like a nutritional cowboy yet? Skedaddle over to grocery town and snag a carton of almond milk, it’s like a country barn dance for your taste buds and health.
Look, almond milk may not hold a torch to cow’s milk when it comes to protein – only supplying 1 gram compared to cow’s milk’s 8 grams.
Still, almond milk serves as a healthier alternative. Saunter down the dairy-free road and say hello to fewer calories and a healthy vibrant shuffle of added vitamins and minerals.
Health Benefits of Drinking Almond Milk
So, we’ve horsed around with the nutritional facts, now let’s take a gander at how this drink accentuates your health. Regular bowls of almond milk soup could help keep your blood sugar levels steady.
A steady dance partner for weight management who isn’t stepping on any toes.
This brew, with its creamy texture and nutty flavor, also brings to the stage significant goodness for bone health and reduced risk to the heart, thanks to its calcium content and antioxidant properties.
And let’s not forget, it’s also a fan favorite amongst the vegan and lactose-intolerant crowd.
Beneficial for People With Lactose Intolerance
Ladies and folks, pay attention if you’re one of those people who experience discomfort whenever you indulge in animal milk.
Now, it’s no secret that some people’s digestive systems rebel against lactose, which is the natural sugar found in animal milk. Some folks even report symptoms as severe as bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, and excessive gas.
So here comes almond milk. The beauty of this drink is that it doesn’t contain lactose. This makes it quite an invaluable option for those with a lactose-free lifestyle.
Not only are you escaping the discomfort arena, but you’re also stepping into a world of creamy, nutrient-rich goodness that works in practically any recipe you’d use for animal milk. Vegans and vegetarians, yep, you can join the almond milk party too.
Aids Weight Management
Now, who doesn’t want to keep their weight in check while still enjoying delicious dishes, right? Turns out the humble almond can be your ally in this mission.
How so? Well, raw almonds, the superhero ingredient in almond milk, are a treasure chest of monounsaturated fatty acids, also known as MUFAs. And these MUFAs do pack a punch when it comes to weight management.
The catch is this – almond milk doesn’t contain as many MUFAs as raw almonds. But it still contributes to the league of healthy fats in your diet.
To bask in the full glory of MUFAs, feel free to throw in some raw almonds or other nuts into your meals. Or go all out and add some avocados too. Balancing your weight never tasted so good
Good Source of Vitamin E
If you’re looking for vitamin E champions, your search ends here. Almond milk offers you this important nutrient in spades.
Now, that’s nothing to sneeze at, trust us. But if you’re still skeptical, lift the veil of doubt by checking the nutrition label on the packaging.
On a side note, many brands of almond milk these days are fortified with vitamin D. Now that’s quite a friendly combo for the human body.
And let’s face it, sources of vitamin D can play hard to get, especially for those of us living in the northern part of the country. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in absorbing calcium, ensuring those bones of ours stay tough as nails Here’s to almond milk and its vitamin-rich goodness.
Vegan and Dairy-Free
One significant thing to nod your head at when it comes to almond milk is that it’s a plant-based beverage. This milk out there can be your new best friend if you’re following a vegan diet or have a milk allergy.
In other words, almond milk makes sure that you’re not missing out on a good glass of milk, despite these challenges.
Isn’t that like finding a winning lottery ticket in your jeans pocket on laundry day? Now that’s something to whoop about.
Being plant-based, almond milk might cause you to visualize a bunch of almonds soaking perfectly in a river, in some far-off exotic forest.
Well, okay, while it might not exactly be that way, almond milk indeed stems from the wonders of nature. No cows are involved, no dairy farms, no milking, making it a 100 percent dairy-free alternative for milk. Not to mention, it’s also environmentally-friendly.
Promotes Healthy Skin
One might argue almond milk is like a magic potion. Packed with Vitamin E, known as the skin vitamin thanks to its antioxidant properties, almond milk is like seeking treasure and finding a chest full of joy for skin health.
And, no, this is not some hokey-pokey nonsense – it’s proven that Vitamin E helps protect your skin from those gnarly free radicals that disrupt your skin cells.
Think of drinking almond milk like donning an invisible Batman suit for your skin, fighting off all those nasty unwanted visitors.
Not just that, but regular consumption of almond milk can also help keep diseases related to heart health, like the increased risk of heart disease at bay.
So, not only are you getting good skin, but you’re also ensuring your ticker keeps ticking at its best. Now if you glance at the nutrition label on a carton of almond milk, you won’t find added sugars or high cholesterol levels hiding in there.
Just remember to shake it well, as all the goodness tends to settle at the bottom, like the prizes in your cereal box when you were a kid.
Almond Milk in Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy, we know that everything that crosses the lips of the mother-to-be is of vital importance.
Whether or not to include almond milk in your or your partner’s diet during pregnancy can be such a choice. The good news is almond milk checks all the right boxes for being included in a balanced diet during pregnancy.
Now, we don’t want to sound like your nosey next-door neighbor, but there’s added sugars in sweetened almond milk that one needs to tread carefully on.
Just like sipping too much of that sweet iced tea can pile on the calories, chugging down too many glasses of sweetened almond milk might get you on the ‘added weight’ bandwagon.
Go for the unsweetened varieties to keep things on the healthy side. It’s still the good ol' almond milk, minus the sugar.
Is Almond Milk Appropriate for Babies?
Now we’re diving headfirst into a hot pot of controversy – is almond milk good for babies? Let’s crunch into it.
According to Healthline, getting your baby to switch from breast milk or formula to almond milk is like switching lanes during rush hour- a tad bit risky, but manageable.
This non-dairy option packs a healthy punch but isn’t as nutritionally dense as mama’s milk or formula.
Little tykes need key proteins and fats for their growth and development, and almond milk comes up a touch short there. Plus, those sweetened versions are packed with sugar like a donut shop on a Monday morning. So, unsweetened is the way to go if you decide to trudge down this path.
For kids under a year, it’s a no-go according to health professionals, but for those over 1 year, substituting almond milk in moderation can be an option.
Can Dogs and Cats Have Almond Milk?
Moving to the furry members of our clan, can dogs and cats dip their whiskers in almond milk? Okay, picture it like this – ever tried feeding broccoli to a cat? Yes, it’s about as useful.
According to Wag Walking, cats might lap up almond milk because of the creamy texture, but nutritionally, it’s as helpful as a chocolate teapot.
And as for our trusty canines? Picture your pooch with a belch bubble. Almond milk can cause upset bellies and diarrhea in pups, according to the American Kennel Club.
So, while almond milk could be a sip or two on occasion, it definitely isn’t the doggy champagne of choice.
Tips and Hacks on Almond Milk
Ever feel like you’ve walked into an almond milk jungle and are unsure how to whip up the right concoction? Here’s a map into nailing it with almond milk.
From coffees to smoothies, or maybe just for that glowing skin, let’s spelunk into some almond milk applications that could give you a leg-up in the kitchen.
Almond Milk for Coffee
Alright, here’s a question – ever attempt mixing oil with water? That is similar to using almond milk in coffee. But don’t raise the white flag just yet. There’s a trick to this nutty puzzle.
Heat the almond milk first and then, slowly, introduce Mr. Coffee. This helps prevent that unappetizing separation, leaving you with a smooth, velvety, and guilt-free cup-a-joe, without any added sugar.
Reward yourself with an almond milk coffee concoction – your risers will thank you for that smooth, creamy start to the day.
Healthy Smoothie With Almond Milk
When it’s time to whip up a healthy and vibe-inducing smoothie, almond milk steps right up to the blender. This dairy-free milk is cast with less than half the calorie content of the sweetened type.
Therefore, it’s the perfect actor when you’re trying to keep those pesky calories in check and maintain a routine of healthy eating.
So, say you fancy a smoothie; A bunch of ripe bananas, some juicy strawberries, a dash of ground flaxseed, and voila.
Add a cup of unsweetened almond milk, and your delightful fitness fiesta is in full swing. This berry-nana smoothie not only slakes your thirst but also gives your body a little over 1 gram of protein per serving.
Using Almond Milk for Skin Health
Wear your undying love for consuming almond milk on your sleeves, or more aptly, your skin. If you imagine a warm bubble bath, try splashing a couple of cups of almond milk into the water; you would feel like Cleopatra unwinding after a long day at the palace.
This humdinger of a beauty treatment may reckon bygone times, but the silky-smooth skin it leaves you with is a present reality. The vitamin E and antioxidants in almond milk go running down your skin like jolly little elves, leaving it moisturized and radiant.
How to Make Almond Milk Yourself
In today’s realm of nut-based milk alternatives, almond milk takes a comfortable seat at the top. Okay, now pay attention here, because making homemade almond milk might seem a lot like magic, but it’s not.
You don’t need a sorcerer’s wand or even a golden goose. It just requires almonds, water, a blender, and a milk strainer. Simple, right?
Washing Almond and Soaking Them
Start off by washing almonds and then soaking them in water for 8 to 12 hours. You’re really just giving those little kernels a good, long bath. It’s to help soften them up a bit, making your blender’s job a bit easier.
Once the almonds have become as plump as a grazing cow in the middle of spring, drain them and dump them into your blender with four cups of water.
Your blender then will make a hell of a noise, like it’s cutting through a diamond but, don’t worry, it’s just shredding those almonds into oblivion. Give it a swirl for a solid minute or two.
The almond and water mixture should become a milky, off-white color. Here, we have to warn you: Do not drink the mixture. Unless, of course, creamy almond goop is your thing.
Squeeze, Strain and Coax out the Liquid
Alright. Now, using your milk strainer or cheesecloth, strain your murky mix into a large bowl. Squeeze, strain, and coax out all the liquid.
This patience-testing round of tug of war with your cheesecloth is gonna leave you with pure, unsweetened almond milk.
If you like it a touch sweeter, you can always add a bit of natural sweeteners such as honey or agave syrup to taste.
But remember, too much of that sweet stuff isn’t too healthy, especially if you’re watching the scale or if liver disease is a concern. Sometimes, less truly is more.