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

Health Benefits of Nuts and Seed Mil

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. Pumpkin Seed Milk

Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants (vitamin E and carotenoids), iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and vitamin K. The antioxidant properties in pumpkin seeds reduce inflammation and protect the body against harmful free radicals; thus, preventing the risks of developing many chronic diseases and cancers. Magnesium and antioxidants are important in reducing the LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, control blood pressure, reduce heart disease risk, and regulate blood sugar levels. Consequently, this promotes heart health, supports weight loss, improves digestion, and enhances healthy brain function characterized by good sleep, mood control, and better memory. Zinc is important in improving the male’s reproductive function by managing erectile dysfunction and increasing sperm quality and volume.

  1. Hemp Seed Milk

Hemp seeds are good sources of vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, iron. They also have low calories; high amounts of healthy fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; and provide vitamins B- complex such as thiamin (B1), riboflavin, niacin, B6, and folate. Hemp seed milk reduces inflammatory skin conditions and promotes anti-aging effects for healthy skin. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are healthy fats that improve cognitive performance, memory, concentration and reduce the risks of neurodegenerative diseases. The antioxidant properties help to reduce blood LDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure to support heart health, whereas the anti-inflammatory properties boost the body immunity to prevent the risks of many chronic diseases, including cancer. The diverse mineral content in hemp seed milk promotes the healthy growth and development of bones, muscles, hair, and nails.

  1. Chia Seed Milk

Chia seeds contain high amounts of manganese, phosphorus, calcium, and fiber. They also have a significant amount of zinc, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2, and B3. Chia seeds are richly-packed with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that fight against free radicals, which can contribute to inflammations associated with aging and various chronic diseases such as cancer. The high fiber and protein intake coupled with healthy omega-3 fatty acids improves the digestion process, reduces appetite and food intake; hence, supporting weight loss and regulation of blood sugar levels. Moreover, this maintains heart health by reducing the blood LDL cholesterol level and lowering blood pressure, which increases the risks of heart disease and CVD.  Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in chia seeds are important to promote healthy bones, hair, and skin.

  1. Flax Seed Milk

Flaxseed milk contains heart-healthy fats, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), antioxidants and lignans. It is also a good source of thiamin (vitamin B1), manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, selenium, and fiber. As a result, flax seed milk can help reduce blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, prevent the risks of cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and cancers. It also promotes proper digestion, reduces constipation, and reduce the incidence or severity of hot flashes among women who do not undergo estrogen hormone therapy during menopause.

  1. Sesame Seed Milk

Sesame seed milk is rich in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols, lignans, heart-healthy oleic fatty acids and substances like sesamolin and sesamin.  This helps to maintain a healthy heart by reducing blood cholesterol levels, lowering blood pressure, and prevent the risks of diabetes. The milk is also a good source of calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, thiamin (vitamin B1), vitamin B6, zinc, phosphorous, and fiber. The minerals and vitamins are vital in boosting the body immunity against infectious diseases and cancer; promote healthy eyes, skin, bones, oral health, and proper digestion; as well as, ensure good sleep, regulate mood, and support healthy brain functioning.

  1. Quinoa Milk

Quinoa milk comprises of high amounts of manganese, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, potassium, phosphorus, folate and fiber. It is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, and B6, with small amounts of calcium, niacin (vitamin B3) and vitamin E. Quinoa is typically gluten-free whole-grain cereal with a certain amount of omega-3 fatty acids and flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These flavonoids are potent plant antioxidants, which exert anti-inflammatory effects to fight against many infections (viral, bacterial, and fungal) and cancer-causing agents.  Moreover, quinoa contains significant amounts of essential amino acids and high fiber content that helps to improve digestion, lower blood cholesterol, and reduce blood sugar levels. High levels of proteins in quinoa increase both metabolism and fullness, as well as reduce appetite, which is linked to a reduction in calorie-intake; thus, helping in weight loss. Minerals such as iron help in the synthesis of red blood cells and prevent anemia, whereas phosphorus magnesium, manganese, calcium, and other vitamins promote healthy skin, hair, 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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