Almond milk is a tasty alternative to dairy milk, but is it healthier? We’ll take a look at almond milk’s nutrition value, it’s health benefits and how to make it.
Before we look at the nutrition value of almond milk, maybe you are wondering what almond milk is? After all, you can’t milk an almond, and they aren’t filled with a milky liquid, so how do you get it. Almond milk is what you get when you soak and blend almonds and water together, and then strain all of the juices out. We’ll look at how to make almond milk at the end of this article.
Almond Milk Nutrition
It’s hard to give exact nutritional values for homemade almond milk. The amount of nutrients that transfer in the process of making almond milk will vary so they will be roughly what we look at below but may be slightly higher or lower. That’s why we’ll look at the nutrition levels in store-bought almond milk, which will give you a good idea of almond milk nutrition overall.
Silk® is one of the leading manufacturers or almond milk. Therefore we’ll be looking at Silk® Alomndmilk nutrition facts.
The first big difference you’ll notice in almond milk is that it is carb free (1g of dietary fibre per 240mL). Dairy milk has about 12g of carbohydrates per cup, all of which are in the form of sugar. Almond milk also only has 30 calories per cup while dairy milk has 80.
In terms of vitamins, almond milk has more calcium. It has 45% of your daily recommended dietary allowance (RDA), while dairy milk only has 30%. The other big difference is vitamin B-12. Unfortunately, this important nutrient only comes from animals so there is no B12 in almond milk. Dairy milk has 0.45μg per 100g.
We posted an article on the health benefits of almonds a while back. Here are some of the health benefits of eating (or drinking) almonds:
Probably the best-known benefit of almonds is its tie to cancer prevention. This is partially because of the antioxidants found in almonds, but is also due to the high levels of vitamin E. Vitamin E is one of the vitamins we hear less about. Higher levels of vitamin E have been shown to result in decreased risks of not only cancer, but also Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E. They pack in 37% of your recommended dietary allowance for every ounce of almond.
This good food choice is a rich source of antioxidants. In almonds, most of the antioxidants are found in the brown skin that coats the nut. That means blanched almonds (almonds without the skin) are missing out on important nutrients.
The antioxidants in almonds also help protect your body from oxidative stress. This leads to damaging of the cells. By preventing this process, these antioxidants help stop aging and reduces your risk of cancer. This powerful antioxidant, combined with the benefits of vitamin E also have a major impact on lowering your LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Not only does it lower your LDL levels, but it helps stops LDL from oxidation. In short, if you are going to eat almonds, make sure they have their skin intact.
Magnesium is another nutrient in Almonds. There are many benefits to magnesium including the promotion of bone strength, nerve and muscle function, and blood sugar control. Plus magnesium deficiency can result in blood pressure problems. It keeps you feeling younger, and slows the physical effects of aging. The tie between magnesium and blood sugar control is a key benefit for anyone at risk of type 2 diabetes.
While on the topic of diabetes, the monounsaturated fat that is so prevalent in almonds also helps promote insulin sensitivity.
We’ve listed some awesome benefits from eating almonds, but there is another major benefit. Almonds are a great source of protein. Protein will send a signal to your brain saying you are full, stop cravings, and help you eat less. The protein in almonds makes this snack a perfect choice when trying to manage your weight.
If you’re in a time pinch you can buy almond milk, but for a healthier option make your own. Store bought almond milk will have additives. Silk® Alomndmilk contains almond milk (filtered water, almonds), sea salt, locust bean gum, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, and natural flavor. That’s a lot of additives that you don’t need. Almond milk is pretty easy to make and it’s always good when you have total control over what goes into your foods.
- Soak 1cup of almonds for 24-48 hours in water. After you’ve let them soak, drain the water and give them a quick rinse. In the image below you’ll notice the difference between normal almond and soaked almonds. This will help produce the nutrient filled milk that you will squeeze out of the almonds in step 6.
- Combine the almonds with 2 cups of water in a blender.
- Blend at the highest speed for 2 minutes. The almonds should be paste like. The finer it is blended, the more nutrients you will get in your milk.
- Put a cheesecloth or nut milk bag over a bowl or jug large enough for you to fill it with the contents of the blender.
- Pour all of the almond paste from the blender into the nut milk bag, or onto the cheesecloth.
- Gather up the sides of the cheesecloth to enclose the almond paste (or gather the nut milk bag). Press all the almond milk from the almond paste through the cheesecloth or bag. It will strain the liquid into the bowl and leave you with almond pulp in the bag or cheesecloth.
- If you prefer sweeter milk, use natural sweeteners like stevia or honey. Congratulations, you have made almond milk. Refrigerate it and enjoy!
Don’t throw out the left over almond pulp. Almond pulp can be used to make flour, spreads, dough, and more. If you don’t have time to use it right away, you can freeze it and save it for later.