Is Almond Milk Good for Diabetics?
No list of the most delicious and nutritious milk alternatives is complete without almond milk. This amazingly tasty drink has become immensely popular all over the world. It used to only be a thing with the health-conscious crowd as a health trend.
But now-a-days it’s become a phenomenon, with doctors preaching the benefits of almonds and its numerous health related benefits. But this is still a grey area for those who are suffering from diabetes. Since diabetics can’t take usual foods which are high in sugar, many still doubt whether it’s okay for them to take milk alternatives like almond milk.
In this article, we’ll give you all the facts about almond milk. By the end, you’ll know all that there is to know about almond milk and how it is good for health. You’ll also know how almond milk is beneficial for diabetics and how it can help keep diabetes under control.
Table of Content
What are Almonds?
Almonds are native to Iran and its neighboring countries. It was spread during ancient times from the middle east to the shores of the Mediterranean through to African and European countries. It was later transported to the rest of the world, notably to the current largest producer of almonds in the world, in California in the United States.
Though widely considered as nuts, almonds are actually drupes. Drupes are different from nuts as their outer covering or exocarp are thick, leathery grey-green colored, as opposed to other nuts which have fleshy coverings.
Almonds contain various vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber which make them a very healthy snack. Almonds are delicious as roasted snacks. They are also used in cooking various dishes. Almonds are predominantly seen in middle-eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. They are mostly used for making sweets and deserts.
Health Benefits of Almonds:
Almonds are well regarded as a healthy food because it is a good source of nutrients from a natural plant-based source. Not to mention that they are absolutely delicious.
Almonds may be small but they pack a lot of vital nutrients. Here the nutritional contents of 1 ounce of almonds are shown:
- Energy – 164 cal
- Carbohydrate – 6.1 gm
- Fat – 14.2 gm (12.4gm is unsaturated)
- Fiber – 3.5 gm
- Protein – 6 gm
- Calcium – 76.3 gm
- Magnesium – 76.4 gm
- Potassium – 208 gm
- Iron – 1 gm
- Phosphorus 0 136 gm
- Zinc – 0.9 gm
- Copper – 0.3 gm
- Manganese – 0.6 gm
- Folate – 12.5 gm
- Vitamin E – 7.27 gm
- Cholesterol – 0 gm
Besides the high nutrient and mineral content in almonds, they are also believed to help in promoting good health in various ways.
Almonds have high fat content but most of it is unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are actually good for the body as they are easily broken down. These fats do not produce LDL or Low Density Lipoproteins, which are bad cholesterols.
Moreover, they help keep the cholesterol level in the blood in check. Studies have shown that sufficient intake of nuts like peanuts, walnuts and almonds can reduce the risk of breast cancer. It is thought that these nuts contain protective factors that lowers cancer risk by two or three times. Almonds can also help control blood cholesterol level and blood pressure.
These two factors make almonds a great choice for protecting the heart. Also Almonds contain Vitamin E, which is not found in such quantities in most foods. Vitamin E is an essential vitamin which is needed for removing harmful radicals from the body. Almonds are also very good for diabetics and weight reduction.
Almonds store a lot of energy but have low sugar and are high in fiber. So you feel fuller for longer, without adding carbs to your diet. It also reduces overall blood sugar, so it helps in controlling diabetes.
What is Almond milk?
Almond milk is a plant-based milk produced by processing almonds. It has a creamy texture and nutty flavor. It is usually flavored to resemble usual dairy milk. It is preferred over normal cow’s milk as it doesn’t contain cholesterol, saturated fat or lactose and is consumed by those who are lactose-intolerant and vegans.
Commercial almond milk comes in sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate flavors and is fortified with various necessary nutrients. Almond milk can also be made at home easily with a blender using almonds and water.
How is Almond milk made?
Almond milk can be prepared easily at home. All you need to make almond milk is a blender.
Commercially almond milk is produced in a number of different steps. Many complex processes and heavy machineries are used to get from almonds to the final products. These include sorting of raw almonds, detoxification from harmful agents, soaking, peeling, rinsing, then crushing and grinding, separation of smut and other impurities, sterilization of the product, and then finally you get almond milk.
The processes and methods can differ from brand to brand and also depending on the type of almonds and the kind of almond milk being produced.
To make almond milk at home, simply take a handful of almonds and some water and blend together in a blender. If you want, add in a pinch of salt, some sugar, vanilla extract or cocoa powder for some flavor. Blend until nice and even and then strain the mixture through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. And your delicious homemade almond milk is ready!
Almond Milk Nutritional Facts:
Almond milk only has 39 calories per cup, which is very low compared to cow’s milk and other p plant milk. It is also high in mineral nutrients.
One cup (240 mL) of Almond milk contains the following:
- 39 calories
- 3 gm of fat
- 1 gm of protein
- 5 gm of carbohydrates
- 5 gm of fiber
- 24% of the daily required amount of calcium
- 4% of the daily required amount of potassium
- 18% of the daily required amount of Vitamin D
- 110% of the daily required amount of Vitamin E
Almond milk is naturally very high in Vitamin E. it is a natural antioxidant and is essential for neutralizing various harmful radicals in the body. On the other hand, almond milk is very low in protein which is essential for the body. So to compensate,, you should adjust your diet by complementing almond milk with other foods having high protein like soy.
Almond Milk for Diabetics:
Almond milk is especially advantageous for diabetics as it is high in nutrients but low in carbohydrates. Almond milk is also great as it helps in reducing blood sugar levels.
Studies have shown that tree nuts such as almonds help improve blood sugar. In 2011, a study involving 20 people with type 2 diabetes, those who ate 60 grams of almonds everyday showed lower levels of fasting blood sugar level than those who did not.
Another good reason to have almond milk is that it helps control weight. Diabetics have to maintain weight very seriously as being overweight can lead to serious complications. Almonds contain high amounts of fiber and with very low carbohydrates. So it makes you feel fuller and satisfied without adding carbs. So taking almonds as a snack or replacing a heavy sugary drink with unsweetened almond milk can reduce your calorie intake and thus help lose unwanted weight.
Almond milk is a very healthy alternative to cow’s milk. It provides high amounts of energy and nutrients with very low amounts of carbohydrates, making it ideal for diabetics. And due to its immense popularity you can find almond milks of various tastes and flavors at your nearest supermarket.
More importantly, it’s super easy to make almond milk yourself at home. So go ahead and try adding g almond milk to your diet and see the benefits first hand.