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Almond milk: benefits and how to prepare it at home

The success of this beverage is not unworthy
almond milk
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Almond milk is one of the most popular varieties of plant milk. Those individuals who are lactose intolerant find it a much suitable option while many also enjoy it due to its distinctive nutty taste. Besides, drinking this milk also has its advantages and benefits for the body.

What is almond milk

Almond milk is the result of blending these drupes with water.

Raw almonds are soaked to become plump and hydrated, and when blended with water they release their juices and nutrients into it. This mixture is then strained and the water resulting from it is what is the milk you consume.

It is also common for commercial brands to add other flavors to it as well as other vitamins, minerals and protein to enrich it.

Benefits

Almond milk doesn’t contain as many nutrients as cow’s milk, although the enriched commercial varieties come close to it. Regardless, it can still provide for a good replacement, especially in the case of individuals with lactose intolerance.

It’s low-calorie

almond milk low calorie
Source: Almendrina

This milk doesn’t contain any nutrients or compounds that promote weight loss, but since it is low in calories, it is still much appreciated by the fitness community.

Even if it doesn’t support weight loss on its own, making the switch from cow’s to almond milk can represent a significant cut on the daily calorie intake. For comparison, 1 cup of this plant milk contains on average 60 calories, while the same portion of cow’s whole milk contains 146 calories.

Be aware, though, that commercial varieties tend to be much higher in calories due to the added ingredients and the presence of sweeteners.

Low on sugar and carbs

If you’re diabetic and need to control your blood sugar or if you are on a low-carb diet, this might be the milk for you.

On average, an unsweetened cup can contain 1.5g of carbs, while with cow’s milk, this value rises to 12g per cup.

As for sugars, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100g of the plant milk contains approximately 0,81g while the cow variant contains 5,20g.

The commercial varieties tend to be much higher in sugars and carbs as they try to enhance the milk. Always check the labels and the nutritional content before purchasing one.

Lactose-free

lactose free almond milk
Source: Visit Complete Care

As mentioned before, almond milk is very popular among those who are lactose intolerant.

People with this disorder lack the lactase enzymes in their digestive system to process lactose. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, bloating and stomach pain.

Since this beverage is not dairy, it doesn’t contain lactose to begin with and it doesn’t cause any disturbance to the digestive system.

Low in phosphorus

The fact that this vegan milk is not as nutrient rich as the conventional type also works in its favor. For instance, people with kidney disorders can benefit the most from choosing the plant variety.

Since the kidneys are one of the primary filters of the body, dietitians recommend limiting the intake of cow’s milk to no more than a glass per day due to its high content in phosphorus. According to the National Kidney Foundation, this mineral can easily build-up if the kidneys are not working properly, which in turn will reduce the levels of calcium in the bones and increase its presence in the blood vessels, lungs, heart and eyes.

Almond milk nutrition

The nutrition data of almond milk can vary significantly depending on the brand you choose, if it is sweetened and if there are any added ingredients or nutrients.

In general, the most simple and unsweetened varieties can be broken down as follows.

Almond milk, unsweetened, per 100g
Calories 15 kcal
Protein 0,40 g
Total lip (fat) 0,96 g
Carbohydrates 1,31 g
Fiber (total dietary) 0,2 g
Sugars (total) 0,81 g
Calcium 184 mg
Iron 0,28 mg
Magnesium 6 mg
Phosphorus 9 mg
Potassium 67 mg
Sodium 72 mg
Zinc 0,06 mg
Riboflavin 0,010 mg
Niacin 0,070 mg
Folate 1 µg
Vitamin E 6,33 mg
Vitamin D 41 IU

How to prepare at home

It is very easy to prepare this beverage at home as it is nothing more than almonds blended with water and strained. The main advantage of preparing it at home is that you can be sure there are no hidden added ingredients in it and you can even tailor it to your personal taste.

Traditional almond milk

almond milk simple
Source: Fitty Brittty

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw almonds;
  • 2 cups of water;
  • More water for soaking.

Directions

Put the almonds in a bowl and cover with about an inch of water. Let them soak overnight or up to 2 days in the refrigerator. The longer you soak them the creamier the milk.

Drain the almonds and discard the soaking water. Rinse them under cool water. You may choose to peel them or not while at it.

Combine the clean water and the almonds in a high-speed blender and blend it at top speed for 2 minutes.

Strain the mixture using a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth and twist and squeeze as much as you can to release the milk into a bowl. Transfer the milk to an airtight container or drink immediately. You can also keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Sweetened almond milk

almond milk sweetened
Source: Babby FoodE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw almonds, soaked overnight;
  • 3 1/2 cups of filtered water;
  • 3 pitted dates;
  • 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract;
  • 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon;
  • Small pinch of sea salt.

Directions

Combine the filtered water, the drained almonds, the dates and the vanilla extract in a blender and mix at high speed for 1 minute.

Using a nut milk bag, strain the mixture into a large bowl. Squeeze the bottom to help release more milk.

Rinse and dry the blender and transfer the milk from the bowl into it again. Add in the cinnamon and the salt and whisk gently. Pour the milk into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.

Shake it before drinking it.

How to use almond milk

You can obviously drink it straight, but due to its slightly nutty flavor, this milk is also very versatile. You can use it as a vegan alternative when milk is required in a recipe, to prepare smoothies, tasty pancakes, or you can simply add it to your coffee or cereals.

If you make it at home, you can even be less wasteful and use the strained, crushed almonds to bake a delicious cake. Check out the video below to see how this milk is made and to find out how you can re-use the almonds.

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