The Nut Milk Lady | Benefits of Nut Milks
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Benefits of Nut Milks

Health Benefits of Nuts and Seed Milk

The milk market has long been dominated by dairy sources mainly from the cows and goats for decades. However, the demand for non-dairy milk options from plant sources such as nuts and seeds have expanded the milk market in the recent past. Evidence shows that the number of non-dairy milk alternatives has grown to about 11 % annually since the millennium. There are several reasons that explain why many people are shifting from dairy to non-dairy milk options due to several reasons, including costs, taste, and nutritional or health benefits concerns.

Why is Dairy Milk Bad?

Dairy milk (skim or whole) from cows and goats have more calories and saturated fats than plant-based milk options. A glass of a whole cow’s milk contains 150 calories and 4.6 g saturated fat compared to 80 calories and 0.5 g saturated fat in a glass of soy milk. High levels of calories and saturated fats increase the risk of overweight or obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and other cardiovascular diseases. Dairy milk is relatively more costly and limited to fewer tastes and flavors. Moreover, dairy milk not only has higher risks of causing lactose intolerance but also contain fewer nutritional health benefits than most of the plant-based milk options.

Health Benefits of Plant-Based Milk Options from Nuts and Seeds

Non-dairy milk options encompass a wide array of plant-based products, mainly the nuts and seeds that are synthesized or blend into milk. Although the nutrient compositions vary between the nuts and seeds, they are rich sources of plant proteins, healthy-heart fats, fiber, essential minerals, vitamins, and many phytochemicals that work together to maintain the overall body health and immunity. The following are some of the health benefits of plant-based milk produced from different nuts and seeds.

  1. Walnut Milk

Walnuts are rich in antioxidants, healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids), vitamins, and minerals such as manganese, copper, phosphorous, and magnesium. Omega-3 fatty acids coupled with antioxidant activities from vitamin E and plant compounds called polyphenols can help prevent the oxidative damage of ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the body. This lowers the blood pressure; reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as stroke and heart disease; support weight and blood sugar control; and prevent the risks of cancer or other infectious diseases. Minerals and antioxidants promote a healthy gut, support proper brain functioning (improve memory, learning skills, and reduce anxiety), and promote healthy aging.

  1. Brazil-Nut Milk

Brazil nuts are known for their high content in selenium, an important antioxidant mineral to support the immune system and thyroid health. They also contain a variety of healthy unsaturated fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, oleic acid, and palmitoleic acids; vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2, B6, niacin, folate, and vitamins C and E; and minerals such as magnesium, copper, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, and calcium. The antioxidant properties neutralize free oxidizing free radicals in the body and prevent many chronic diseases including cancer. This is useful in the proper functioning of the brain nerves and cells (control mood, sleep, and appetite); enhance weight management, blood sugar control, and promote a healthy digestive system. It also improves the male reproductive function by raising the testosterone levels; thus, treating erectile dysfunction, improve sperm quality, volume and motility. The vitamins and minerals support a healthy heart, muscle function, promote bone mineral density, healthy skin (anti-aging skin effect), and growth of healthy hair.

  1. Almond Milk

Almond milk is rich in vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, calcium, phosphorous, copper, riboflavin (vitamin B2), thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin D, and fiber.  In addition to low calories, the antioxidant properties of vitamin E in almond milk are critical in boosting body immunity, maintain a healthy heart, lower blood sugar, support weight loss, and prevent the risks of chronic diseases. The vitamins and minerals support the growth and development of healthy bones (reduce risks of fractures and osteoporosis); promote good vision, healthy skin, and improve the digestive system.

  1. Pecan Milk

Pecans are a good source of manganese, copper, thiamin (vitamin B1), phosphorus, and fiber. They contain different forms of vitamin E and rich in gamma-tocopherol, which hinder the oxidation of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. This helps in maintaining a healthy heart by reducing the risks of CVD such as the heart disease and stroke, support weight loss, and boost the body immunity to prevent risks of chronic diseases, as well as cancers. Pecan milk also supports healthy digestion, prevent hair loss (stimulates hair growth), and promotes healthy skin.

  1. Hazelnut Milk

Hazelnuts provide good sources of vitamins E, copper, manganese, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), B2 and fiber.  They also contain significant amounts of folate, vitamin B6, zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. Furthermore, hazelnuts are rich in healthy mono-and polyunsaturated fats with high contents of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids such as oleic acid. Antioxidants such as vitamin E and other phenolic compounds in hazelnuts protect the body from oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, which can cause cancer and other chronic diseases. This helps in reducing LDL blood cholesterol and lowering blood pressures to maintain heart health. Hazelnuts can also help minimize inflammations markers in obesity and diabetes by enhancing weight loss and regulating blood sugar levels. Manganese, magnesium, zinc, and copper support the role of vitamins B1, B2, and B6 in blood formation and supply of nutrients throughout the body to support healthy brain, skin, eyes, hair, nails, muscles, and bones.

 

References

Bruner, S. (2018). The FBC Complete Guide to Nuts and Seeds. Food Bloggers of Canada (FBC). Retrieved on April 7, 2019 from https://www.foodbloggersofcanada.com/the-fbc-complete-guide-to-nuts-and-seeds/

Dennett, C. (March, 2018). The Wonders of Nuts and Seeds. Today’s Dietitian, 18(3), 22. Accessed on April 8, 2019 from https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0316p22.shtml

Healthyeater (2019). Almond Milk: The Best and Worst Brands. Retrieved on April 7, 2019 from https://healthyeater.com/almond-milk

Hensley, L. (November 8, 2018). Got Nut Milk? Here’s The Nutritional Value of ‘Milk’ Alternatives. Global News. Retrieved on April 7, 2019 from https://globalnews.ca/news/4643270/alternative-milk-nutritional-value

Williams, C. (June 1, 2018). Which Type of Milk Is Right for You? CookingLight.com. Retrieved on April 9, 2019 from https://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/nutrition-101/alternative-milk-comparison

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