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Almond Milk: Health Benefits, Uses And How To Make

Almonds are one of world's most nutritious and versatile nuts, renowned for their incredible health benefits and culinary uses. Almonds can be eaten as snacks, ground up into flour and turned into creamy milk, known as almond milk. Almond milk is one of the most famous almond products that have become widely popular due to its rich texture and flavour. It is a healthy and tasty plant-based milk alternative to cow's milk.

What Is Almond Milk?

Almond milk is made by soaking and blending almonds with water and then straining the mixture to remove the solids. This gives the final product a nutty flavoured milk. Almond milk has a creamy texture and a nutty flavour [1] [2].

Researchers have suggested that almond milk is a good alternative for children and adults who have allergies or milk intolerance [3]. It is also a good choice for people following a vegan diet.

Almond milk is enriched with many vitamins and minerals including vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin D, copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc.

Commercially sold almond milk contains thickeners and preservatives to improve texture and shelf life. It also contains added nutrients to boost its nutritional content.

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Health Benefits Of Almond Milk

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1. Aids weight loss

Almond milk is low in calories and sugar, this means that you can drink a lot of it without it causing weight gain and help in managing weight. Almonds are also high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that can aid in weight loss and weight management [4]. Opt for unsweetened almond milk as it is low in calories and sugar.

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2. Stabilises blood sugar levels

Unsweetened almond milk does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels, therefore making it a perfect choice for people with diabetes. Diabetic people often limit their daily intake of carbohydrate and as almond milk is a low-carb beverage consuming it will help control blood sugar levels [5].

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3. Supports bone health

As almond milk is rich in calcium and vitamin D, consuming it will help in maintaining strong and healthy bones. Calcium is an important mineral required for developing healthy bones and it helps reduce the risk of fracture and osteoporosis. On the other hand, vitamin D also plays a major role in bone health by enhancing the absorption of calcium to boost bone health [6].

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4. Improves heart health

Almond milk is high in healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Drinking almond milk can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, thereby improving heart health [7].

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5. Fights free radical damage

Almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for protecting the body's cells from free radical damage [8]. Vitamin E also combats inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, thus preventing the risk of chronic diseases [9].

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6. May reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk

The vitamin E content in almond milk helps in slowing down the progression of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's disease. Studies have found that vitamin E improves mental performance and lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease [10] [11].

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7. It is lactose-free and dairy-free

Almond milk is naturally lactose-free, making it a suitable choice for people who have lactose intolerance, a condition in which people are unable to digest lactose, the sugar in milk. And since, almond milk is a plant-based milk and people who choose to avoid dairy and become a vegan can opt for almond milk [12].

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Side Effects Of Almond Milk

While almond milk has several health benefits, there are certain risks associated with it. Almond milk lacks enough protein, an essential nutrient required for muscle growth, enzyme and hormone production and other bodily functions.

Processed almond milk contains sugar, gums and carrageenan, an emulsifier that may disrupt gut health.

A 2015 study published in The Journal of Pediatrics reported that children who consumed excessive amounts of almond milk caused kidney stones. Researchers concluded that almond milk is a rich source of dietary oxalate that causes kidney stones and therefore should be avoided by children [13].

In addition, children under one year of age should avoid drinking plant-based milk including almond milk as it interferes with iron absorption and can cause nutrient deficiency [14].

To reap the most benefits of almond milk, choose unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk. You can also make your own almond milk at home.

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How To Make Homemade Almond Milk?

  • Soak 2 cups of almonds in water overnight and drain it before use.
  • Remove the skin of the almonds and add them in a blender with water and blend for 1-2 minutes until the water is cloudy and the almonds are finely ground.
  • Pour the mixture in a strainer that is placed over a glass.
  • Press down to extract the liquid as much as possible.
  • You can store almond milk in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
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Ways To Include Almond Milk Into Your Diet

  • Add almond milk to oats or muesli for breakfast.
  • Add it to your tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
  • Add almond milk in your smoothies.
  • Add it to soups, sauces and salad dressings.
  • Use almond milk for baking cakes, ice cream and pudding.