One of the changes I’ve made to my diet recently, includes swapping out the 1% dairy milk to almond milk. I’ve tried soy and rice milk in the past and was NOT impressed. I’ve heard all the benefits of almond milk before and I love eating the nuts as a snack, so I figured I’d give it a shot. And I actually like it! It’s got some heft to it which makes it a nice substitute in my Kashi cereal and it tastes delish just drinking it straight. All of this got me thinking, however, what exactly goes into making almond milk. Is it as the box advertises? I decided to dig a little deeper and find out for myself. Who knows, maybe I’ll go crazy one day and decide to make my own!
First, some of the benefits from almond milk (courtesy of livestrong.com):
Plain, original almond milk provides 60 to 70 calories per cup, about 15 calories less than the same amount of skim milk. It is low in protein, providing only 1 to 2 g per cup, 2.5 g fat, and has 0 g saturated fat and 8 g carbohydrates. Because of its low calorie content, almond milk may be a beneficial addition to a diet geared toward weight loss or weight management.
Almond milk is lower in both potassium and phosphorus than regular or soy milk. Individuals with kidney disease, chronic or acute, must restrict their intake of these minerals, according to the Medical College of Wisconsin. Thus, almond milk may be a better choice. It is a nutritious option for those suffering from lactose intolerance. In addition, soy products may not be appropriate for all individuals; for example, women with a history of breast cancer may be advised by their physicians to avoid soy.
Like conventional dairy products, almond milk is nutrient-fortified, and a good source of several important fat-soluble vitamins. One cup of plain almond milk meets 10 percent of the Recommended Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, 25 percent for vitamin D and 50 for vitamin E, making it high in many nutrients compared to the amount of calories it provides per serving. Vitamins A and E act as antioxidants, enhancing immunity and protecting the body’s cells and tissues from damage. In addition, vitamin A is important for healthy eyesight and supports normal growth and development. Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, and enhances immunity.
High in Calcium
Almond milk is rich in calcium, providing the same amount per cup as cow’s milk and soy milk. One cup offers approximately 300 mg, meeting 30 percent of the DV for this major mineral. Calcium plays many roles in the human body. Along with vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium, calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It also helps regulate blood pressure and is necessary for muscle contraction. Those who cannot tolerate dairy products, or do not use them, often come up short on this important nutrient; consuming almond milk regularly ensures adequate calcium intake.
Now, how is it made?
Here’s a handy video from the good people at eHow.com on how to make your own almond milk at home. Turns out it’s really not that complicated. Pick some choice almonds, steep in boiling water, strain, and puree. And you know, there’s no additives or preservatives OR sugar here folks. That’s means you’re keeping it ULTRA-clean and healthy. So for all of you adventurous chefs and health nuts (ie. me), check out the link below to stir up a batch of some quality almond milk!