You may be concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, antibiotics, and the carbon footprint associated with dairy milk. There are also exaggerated claims of the benefits of normal milk as outlined by Dr. Mark Hyman who has written many books on dieting. He has pointed out that a glass of raw, organic cow’s milk may have up to 60 hormones in it and that can lead to growth in many areas, including cancerous cells.
You may be lactose-intolerant like me. Whatever the reason, you will be interested to learn about alternatives.
There is quite a wide selection of alternative drinks on sale now – almond, hemp, soya, and coconut milk are all easily available. Almond milk is one of the best and healthiest of all the alternatives. You may be surprised to know that in medieval times, the nobility often preferred it to cow’s milk so it has been around for a long time! This is mentioned in the book Food in Medieval Times.
Here are 3 sound reasons you should consider changing over to almond milk.
1. It contains no cholesterol
If you are worried about your heart health, drinking almond milk may be a lifesaver. It contains a large number of monounsaturated fats which lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Heart Association. These are the fats to go for, rather than the trans and saturated fats found in many foods. Almond milk has 0 grams of saturated fats. In addition, almond milk is free of cholesterol so there is no need to worry about that if you have your diet under control.
2. It has a low calorie count
If you are watching your weight, make sure you go for the unsweetened variety of almond milk as it contains only half the calories of dairy milk, which makes it a great weight loss dietary choice. See the infographic here by Kristin Kirkpatrick who is a dietitian and manager at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.
You will need to watch your protein intake when you switch over to almond milk. You might think that it would contain lots of protein as it a ground nut but this is not the case. In fact, it has a much lower protein count than milk. This is estimated at only 1 gram of protein a cup, compared to the 8 grams contained in cow’s milk.
Look at the pack of any almond milk and you will probably find that almonds are actually down a few places on the ingredients list as many brands use lots of sweetener, water, minerals, and thickening agents.
If you are concerned about getting more protein at breakfast, you can ramp up on other protein rich foods such as eggs, fish, soya, or chicken. It is great to lose weight but make sure you are getting enough protein, especially if you are also on weight training program. The experts say that you need 1gram of protein for every kilo you weigh.
3. It may help to prevent cancer
There is a very interesting study published in the Nutrition and Cancer Journal which shows that drinking almond milk may actually help to prevent prostate cancer. The study showed that cow’s milk tended to stimulate the growth of cancerous cells because of the estrogen hormones it contains. But almond milk had the opposite effect. It actually suppressed the cancerous cells by as much as 30%.
Finally, make sure you choose fortified almond milk for that extra vitamin content. Did you know that just one cup contains 10% of the RDA for vitamin A, 25% for vitamin D and 50% for vitamin E? The other great plus almond milk has is that it has lower potassium and phosphorous counts than dairy or soy milk. This is a great boon for people with kidney problems. Another great advantage is that it has 30% of the RDA for calcium which is vital to build healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis later on in life.
I have also found that almond milk does not need to be kept in the fridge and that makes it a great choice for picnics and camping trips. It is a great way to lighten the ice chest. If you are interested in making your own almond milk, there is a very good recipe here.
Featured photo credit: Springtime flowers, Almond tree flowers/ Bea via flickr.com