Soaked almonds overnight are drained and blended with water, until a milk-like consistency is obtained. The skin and granules are removed by straining, through a cheese cloth. Blending a few dates with the almonds gives a sweet taste. For flavoring add Vanilla extract, unsweetened chocolate powder. Packaged almond milk is also available at supermarkets.
Almond milk is a great dairy-free substitute, and not only used instead of milk, but can also be added to recipes that call for milk. Since it is dairy-free, it's a great vegan substitute. Those facing excessive gas problems on ingestion of soy milk can consume almond milk, without facing any problems. It is lactose-free as well as a great milk substitute.
|Nutritional Value of Almond Milk (One Serving: 8 oz.)|
Protein is required for the growth and repair of different parts of the body. However, almond milk contains far lesser protein content in one serving as compared to cow's milk or soy milk. Where one serving of cow's milk contains 8g of proteins and soy contains 7g, almond milk only contains 1g of the essential protein.
The carbohydrate content in almond milk is low in glycemic sugars, which means they do not raise the blood sugar levels suddenly. This makes it suitable for diabetics as well. Moreover, the low carbohydrate content in almond milk makes it a suitable beverage for weight conscious people.
Although almond milk contains a considerable amount of fats, the calorie content of almond milk is lesser (half) than cow's milk or soy milk. Thus, people desiring to lose weight can happily lap up almond milk. Almond milk is a good option for athletes and weight-conscious people.
The calcium content in almond milk is lower than in cow's milk, but is higher in calcium content than soy milk. Nevertheless, packaged almond milk is calcium-fortified, so this need not be an issue. Just shake the pack before opening it, as calcium particles tend to settle down. Almond milk is the lactose-free way of attaining calcium from the diet.
Almond milk is loaded with unsaturated fat (poly or monounsaturated fat), which means almond milk is beneficial in reducing the risk of heart diseases. The omega-fatty acids present in it help reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood.
Moreover, almond milk does not contain cholesterol, trans fats or saturated fats. In each serving of almond there exists only 3g of fat. It also contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Thus, people with high blood cholesterol and heart disease can consume almond milk without any inhibitions.
Almond milk does not contain sugar naturally. Packaged almond milk available in stores have added sugar and flavorings which increase the sugar content. In the commercially available almond milk, per cup contains 20g of sugar. However, homemade almond milk contains no sugar and is safe for diabetics. To sweeten it, add a few dates while grinding the almond.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Almond milk also furnishes the body with high levels of manganese, selenium and vitamin E. Manganese plays an important role in activating enzymes in the body. Manganese along with phosphorous also plays a role in keeping bones and teeth healthy. Vitamin E, an antioxidant protects the cell membranes by destroying the free radicals that cause damage to them.
Selenium on the other hand is good for the functioning of the immune system, for reproduction and for metabolism of the thyroid gland. The magnesium obtained from almond helps break down the food consumed, into energy.
It also assists the functioning of the parathyroid glands, which are responsible for production of hormones known for good bone health. The potassium present helps maintain normal blood pressure. However, almond milk lacks B vitamins.
Flavonoid and Antioxidant Content
Almond milk is also a good source of flavonoids. This is because, it is prepared by crushing the almonds with the skin. The skin is rich in flavonoids, which is good for cardiovascular health, thereby providing protection against various heart diseases. Almond milk is also rich in antioxidants, thus, is beneficial in preventing heart diseases and cancers.
Should you stay away from commercially produced almond milk?
There's no doubt that almond milk is nutritious and healthy. However, commercially sold almond milk is something you should stay away from. Don't blindly believe the almond milk nutrition facts stated on the label. This is because, not only does packaged almond milk have less dietary fiber and higher calories, but also contains a lot of unwanted additives.
♦ Almonds are expensive, and if manufacturers have to make thick, they need to add more almond base. To cut down their costs, manufacturers add unwanted ingredients like tapioca starch, locust bean gum to thicken the milk, so they add only a few almonds. They also add calcium carbonate as an anti-caking agent and various emulsifiers to the almond milk.
♦ Packaged almond milk is also fortified with vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A Palmitate is the synthetic version of vitamin A, and is associated with health problems like tumors, joint problems. The other synthetic vitamin added is vitamin D12, is also harmful to the body. The ingredient 'Carrageenan', derived from a seaweed causes irritable bowel syndrome.
When we read the label we're impressed with the number of vitamins added to the milk, however, synthetic vitamins cannot be considered to be nutritional elements, but are harmful additives. Thus, it's best to avoid purchasing packaged almond milk.
Since almond milk is easy to make, prepare almond milk at home. Then again, the raw almonds we get these days aren't even purely raw, but are processed almonds. Nevertheless, at least the milk prepared from them will be free from unwanted additives, such as synthetic vitamins and artificial ingredients.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.