Almond Milk: Nature’s Dairy Replacement
Many people love the creamy taste of dairy, but more and more people are finding that they or their children have developed lactose intolerance. Lactose, a sugar found in cow’s milk, is broken down in the body by lactase, an enzyme that helps convert the sugar into more digestible components.
Most mammals stop producing this enzyme after breastfeeding has ended, but many people’s bodies produce lactase into adulthood. Even so, we are not necessarily designed to drink once weaned. Enter almond milk: a substitute that is friendlier to your digestive system.
What is almond milk?
Almond milk is a drink made from ground or soaked and blended almond nuts. Like milk, it has a creamy appearance and texture, thus making it a useful substitute.
Why is nature’s dairy replacement healthier?
Because almond milk does not contain lactose, our bodies find it easier to digest than cow’s milk. Almonds are also naturally rich in a broad spectrum of nutrients, including fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorous, copper and calcium. A study by the UK Institute of Food Research even found results suggesting that ground almonds have a beneficial effect on gut health.
Additional health benefits of almond milk
Besides not containing lactose (and being suitable for vegans who prefer not to consume animal-derived produce), almond milk has additional health benefits. It does not contain any cholesterol, and thus is a valuable milk alternative for individuals who have family history of cholesterol problems. Almond milk is also low in saturated fat, as opposed to full cream milk.
Milk made from almonds also keeps for longer unrefrigerated than cow’s milk. The downside of almond milk is that it does not contain as much protein and calcium. Many commercially sold almond milk products are enriched with natural supplements to make up for this lack, however.
Are you lactose intolerant? Or do you enjoy nature’s dairy replacements for other dietary reasons or simply for its taste?