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Almond milk is basically a plant milk. This milk is manufactured from almonds. So, this milk has a nutty flavour and creamy texture. This type of milk does not contain lactose and cholesterol, so persons with lactose intolerance can consume this milk without any problem. Also, those who want to avoid dairy products or vegans can consume this milk. There are various forms of almond milk available commercially such as sweetened or unsweetened, plain or different flavours such as chocolate, vanilla etc. This milk is usually fortified with various micronutrients. One can also make this milk at home by using almonds and water in a blender.
Nutritional Value of Almond Milk
This milk is nutritious and low calorie drink. To boost its nutritional contents, various micronutrients such as vitamin D, E, riboflavin, calcium etc are added to it during fortification.
1. Low in Calories, Protein and Fats
Although almonds are high in calories and fats but this nutritious milk is low in calories than cow’s milk and soy milk. Also, it is low in protein and fats than both cow’s milk and soy milk. The way this milk is processed, only a small portion of almond is present in the milk. So, it can help to restrict the calorie intake and thereby helps in reducing weight.
2. Less Carbohydrates and Sugars
Commercially both sweetened and unsweetened almond milk are available. Out of which unsweetened variety is very low in sugar. Also, this milk is free of lactose and cow’s milk is rich in this carbohydrate. So, diabetic persons and persons who want to restrict their sugar intake can use this delicious and nutritious milk instead of dairy’s milk.
3. High in Calcium
Calcium is an important mineral for development and health of bone, proper functioning of muscles, nerves and heart. Milk is a rich source of it and available to almost everyone. So, most of the people use milk to fulfill the calcium requirement. Most often, this nutritious milk is also used as a replacement for dairy’s milk. So, the manufacturers enrich this milk with calcium to make it a good replacement.
4. Rich in Vitamin E and A
Almonds are naturally high in vitamin E and also the manufacturers add extra vitamin E during processing of this milk. One cup of this nutritious milk provides almost 40- 50% of the daily recommended value of vitamin E. Also, this milk is rich in vitamin A. The vitamin A content present in it is lower than both cow and soy milk. Being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E combats free radicals and inflammation in the body. The vitamin A improves vision and take care of eyes.
5. Vitamin D enriched
Vitamin D is a very important vitamin for the bone health, immune functions and overall health. Our body can produce this vitamin, when the skin is exposed to sunlight. However, most people do not get enough of it due to various reasons such as long working hours, lifestyle, skin colour etc. There are very few foods which naturally contain vitamin D, so manufacturers fortify various food products with vitamin D. Almond milk is also fortified with it, so it is also a good source of vitamin D.
6. Free of Lactose
This nutritious milk is naturally lactose free, so it is very useful in persons having lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance is a condition where the person is unable to digest lactose, which is a sugar present in milk. This condition occurs due to deficiency of enzymes which helps to digest lactose. So, consumption of dairy’s milk causes bloating, stomach pain, diarrhoea etc in persons having lactose intolerance.
7. Suitable for Dietary Vegans or Strict Vegetarians
Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products and the follower of this is known as vegan. Strict vegetarians or dietary vegans avoid dairy’s milk due to religious cause, health or lifestyle choices. In those persons almond milk is one of the best substitute of dairy’s milk.
8. Balanced levels of Potassium and Phosphorus
This nutritious milk contains balanced amounts of potassium and phosphorus. So, this is also useful in people with chronic kidney disease, because they often avoid dairy’s milk due to high levels of potassium and phosphorus. This milk is suitable for people who are trying to reduce the potassium and phosphorus intake in the diet. Although they need to check the contents of this milk, because the levels differ from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Health Benefits of Almond Milk
As this milk is rich in various micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals etc, is has several health benefits. This milk helps to maintain our cardiac health, helps in weight loss, strengthens our bones, muscles, provides immunity, improves vision and overall health. Let’s see the various health benefits of this delicious and nutritious milk.
9. Maintains the Heart Health
Vitamin E and healthy fats are beneficial for heart. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and protects the lipids against oxidation. By reducing the levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease, it helps in maintaining the heart health.
Oleic acid is the main fatty acid present in almond oil and almond milk contains almost 1% of almond oil. Oleic acid causes beneficial changes in the blood lipid profile and helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases. Also, by maintaining the potassium levels in the body it reduces tension and strain on the heart.
10. Strengthens Bones and Muscles
This nutritious milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, both of which are required for development and growth of bones and tooth formation. By fulfilling the calcium and vitamin D levels in the body, this milk reduces the risk of osteoporosis and other deficiency diseases. Calcium is also required for muscle relaxation, blood clotting etc.
Riboflavin and other vitamin B are present in this milk and along with the iron they helps in building muscle strength and growth. Proteins present in it also helps the body to maintain and repair itself.
11. Takes Care of skin
This delicious milk contain plenty of vitamin E, A, minerals and antioxidants which help to maintain skin health. Antioxidants also assist in repairing the damaged skin.
12. Improves Vision
This milk also contains vitamin A, so it also has beneficial effects for eyes and eyesight. Vitamin A is essential for proper functioning of eyes. Vitamin A protects the cornea and allows to see under low light conditions. It sharpens the vision, especially in dim light. It also helps to prevent degenerative damage to the eyes and age related macular degeneration. Constant use of electronic gadgets such as mobiles, computers etc may affect the vision, so consumption of this milk is beneficial for maintaining eye health.
13. Helps in Weight Loss
As this milk is low in calories, it does not cause significant weight gain. Also, consuming this milk as a substitute for dairy’s milk helps in weight loss. The unsweetened variety is more beneficial for weight loss than the sweetened variety.
14. As a Substitute for Breast Milk
The vitamins and minerals present in this milk are almost similar to the micronutrients present in nursing mother’s breast milk. The micronutrients important for the growth and well-being of infants are present in it. This milk can also be used as a substitute for breast milk occasionally because the proteins present in it are not sufficient for the infants.
15. Boosts Immune System
Various nutrients and vitamins present in it helps in maintaining immune system. These micronutrients helps to protect our body from various infections by keeping the body’s primary defense mechanism strong and healthy.
16. Protection from Cancer
This nutritious milk contain vitamin E, vitamin A and antioxidants, which help in reducing the risk of various types of cancer such as- prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, oral cancer etc. The antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, which can induce cancer.
17. Suitable for Diabetics
Unsweetened almond milk available commercially are suitable for diabetics. As unsweetened variety is sugar free and also this milk is rich in healthy fats and proteins relative to carbohydrates, it does not cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Thereby, making this milk suitable for diabetics.
Almond milk is a plant milk manufactured from almonds. It is rich in various micronutrients which helps in maintaining overall health. This milk is free from lactose and cholesterol, so it is useful for persons having lactose intolerance, chronic kidney disease and those who wants to lose weight. Vegans can also consume this milk. Overall, it can be a good alternative to dairy’s milk and can be used to make ice-creams and smoothies. You can compare almond milk vs coconut milk to check which one better suits you.