Almond milk

Almond milk is an alternative to cow’s milk but not exactly the same.

Almonds provide a variety of nutritional benefits to our bodies system. Almonds are available throughout the year but are freshest during mid-summer. The almond is actually the result of a seed of the fruit produced from an almond tree. It is known as the pit of the fruit, or more commonly as we know it, as the nut. Almonds contain many healthy vitamins and nutrients making them a natural, nutrient-dense food.

Some of the important nutrients found in almonds include a B vitamin known as biotin. Biotin has been found to play an important role in fat and sugar metabolism. Low biotin levels have been found to impact the production and affect the way insulin acts on cells. Almonds also contain vitamin E, which has been found to help prevent free-radical damage to the body. In addition, almonds contain nutrients in trace amounts that aide in the formation and structure of bones and tissue. These nutrients found in trace amounts include manganese, copper, phosphorus and magnesium.

There are many faces to almonds. The most well-known is the nut which can be used in foods as its whole form, sliced, slivered and chopped. Almonds can also be transformed into butter, oil, paste, flour, meal and milk. Almonds are versatile in many recipes and some forms of almonds, such as almond milk, are used as substitutes for other foods.

Almond milk has become a popular alternative milk product used by people for various reasons and beliefs. Almond milk can be purchased or made from scratch. It has been noted that consumers purchase almond milk as a substitute for cow’s milk as it exhibits a realistic look and flow of cow’s milk. Commercial almond milk does have added nutrients like calcium and vitamins A and D to increase its nutritional value to be closer to that of cow’s milk. The first ingredient on a label is the most abundant in a product – almond milk’s first ingredient is water or almond water. If you are buying almond milk for the same nutritional value as almonds, you may want to find another alternative. There is about one gram of fiber in every seven almonds, versus “XX” grams of fiber for a one to eight ounce serving of almond milk. For more information on healthy lifestyles, visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

Here is a recipe for homemade almond milk from the book titled, The World’s Healthiest Foods: Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating.

Ingredients

1 cup almonds, soaked overnight

3 pitted dates

Pinch of salt

3 cups water

Directions

1. Combine almonds, pitted dates, salt and water in a blender and blend on high for two minutes.

2. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a large measuring cup or bowl. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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