Everything You Need to Know About Almond Milk
Almond milk has become a very popular beverage of choice, especially among those who have to avoid dairy milk due to lactose intolerance. This milk is created from ground almonds and it contains no lactose and no cholesterol. It is ideal for those who follow a vegan diet because it does not have any animal products in it. Commercially, the milk is generally sweetened and it comes in different flavors, including vanilla, chocolate and plain. This milk has a nutty taste and texture and commercial almond milk has a relatively long shelf life as long as it is properly refrigerated.
Almond Milk Nutrients
Almond milk is rich in many essential nutrients that the body requires for optimal functioning. These nutrients include vitamin E, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, tryptophan, calcium, fiber, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and copper. This milk may also help to balance out the healthy bacteria in the stomach and improve digestive health. Recent research found that organic almond milk that is made with real almonds contains probiotic properties.
Exploring the Benefits of Almond Milk
Almond milk contains an array of nutrients that benefits the body in many different ways. It is low in additives and preservatives, and it is also low in calories with one cup averaging about 60 calories. Because of the low calorie count, this milk may help to promote weight loss by reducing caloric intake.
This milk has no saturated fat and no cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy option. It also contains healthy amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats, all of which work to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure. The lack of additives and the low carbohydrate count are ideal for those with high blood sugar levels and those with diabetes, or those at risk for such diseases.
The bones and skin benefit from the nutrient profile of almond milk. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that plays a major role in combating free radicals and helping to repair skin damage. Half of the vitamin E you need each day is present in almond milk, helping to ensure you get enough of this nutrient to maintain healthy skin. While this milk does not have a lot of calcium, it does have a heaping amount of vitamin D and this vitamin works with calcium to promote strong bones. Getting enough vitamin D each day is essential for strong teeth and bones, to prevent osteoporosis and to keep your immune system strong. In fact, about 25 percent of the vitamin D you need every day is present in one serving of almond milk.
While the protein count is low compared to other milk options, such as cow’s milk, the combination of B vitamins, iron and protein work together to promote healthy muscles and optimal muscle function. These nutrients are necessary for the muscles to heal and grow. Every day, the muscles work hard to move the body and ensure you are able to complete all daily tasks. Working out also causes tiny tears in the muscles that need to be repaired when you are resting and sleeping. Repairing these tears requires a mixture of nutrients to ensure that the muscles have what they need to repair themselves and maintain optimal health.
Many people experience minor digestive upset, as well as more complex digestive disorders. A large amount of people do not get adequate fiber in their diet and this can contribute to several minor digestive complaints, such as constipation. Fiber essentially works to keep things moving so that your body is able to absorb the nutrients it needs and move the waste out of the body in a timely manner. This milk contains adequate fiber to help keep your digestive tract healthy.
The lack of lactose in almond milk is highly beneficial for those with lactose intolerance. In the United States, about 25 percent of the population has lactose intolerance. If someone who is intolerant consumes foods that contain lactose, they can experience issues like stomach pain, cramping and diarrhea that come on rather suddenly after lactose is consumed.
Who Should Avoid Almond Milk?
Those with nut allergies, especially to almonds, must avoid this milk because it can induce an allergic reaction. Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk has a lot less protein so children under two years old should not drink it because it may prevent them from getting their recommended daily intake of protein. Children who do not get adequate protein are at risk for an array of growth and development issues. Children with atopic dermatitis should also avoid this type of milk.
This type of milk does not provide the amount of calcium or protein that cow’s milk provides. Because of this, it is not an equal alternative and those who do swap out cow’s milk for almond milk need to be mindful and make sure that they are getting extra calcium and protein from other sources. On average, a cup of cow’s milk has eight grams of protein and 300 milligram of calcium. A cup of almond milk only has one gram of protein and two milligrams of calcium.
The ease of use and the nutrient content makes almond milk an attractive alternative to dairy milk. This milk has quickly gained popularity in recent years, but people have been making and drinking it since the Middle Ages in both Christendom and the Islamic world. Until the late 2000s, this milk was primarily consumed by those who frequented health food stores, but in 2011, it gained popularity among a much larger crowd of people and in this year, the sales of this milk increased by 79 percent. It is now considered to be the most popular milk that is plant based in the United States and it claimed this title in 2013 after it started to outsell soy milk.