Milk, as well as yoghurt play a very important role in having a healthy, balanced nutrition. For a while now, more and more milk varieties or substitutes have been popping up, in the hopes of creating a better, healthier version that can fulfill more people's needs.
Got milk? Nut milk!
In terms of non-dairy milks, there are many new variations to choose from, starting with soy milk, rice milk, all kinds of nut milks and even hemp milk (yep, that's right)! You can buy them in supermarkets or even make them at home, they are delicious in smoothies or ice creams and equally awesome as simple beverages! I got really curious about these unconventional types of milk and gathered a small list of PROS and CONS for some of them below:
1. Almond milk
This delicious smoothie bestie is created by adding toasted, ground almonds with water and blending them together. Almond milk is rich in nutrients such as protein, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, manganese, potassium, iron and calcium but also contains flavonoids, which help lower your levels of "bad" cholesterol, leading to a healthier heart. By contrast to cow milk, almond milk is not as rich in protein and calcium. If you're going to buy from a supermarket, be sure to check the label as it might contain added sugars or sweeteners.
2. Walnut milk
I've only recently read about this one and I'm planning on making some at home (sometime in the near future). What I've read about it so far is that walnuts are a great source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, which also help lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, improves symptoms of arthritis as well as your general mental health. This is because these babies also contain an amino acid called tryptophan - helps your body generate serotonin, the FEEL GOOD hormone responsible for that warm fuzzy feeling you know so well. <3
Furthermore, walnut milk is rich in antioxidants, crucial for your health, as they help control how fast you age by combating free radicals in your body! Sounds pretty good, huh?
3. Hazelnut milk
Let me start by saying HAZELNUTS and CHOCOLATE were made in HEAVEN for each other! Hazelnut milk is almost as heavenly as that gets! Low in calories, no cholesterol or saturated fats and a rich source of vitamin B, hazelnuts are essential in new blood cells formation as well as overall health, promoting healthy hair and skin. Hazelnut milk is rich in proteins, folic acid and antioxidants, sounds better and better, right? I think it doesn't taste anything like dairy milk but offers a nutty, creamy flavour which is stronger than almond milk. Yep, this is one of my faves!
4. Cashew milk
Cashew milk provides you with an abundant source of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, iron and selenium, but also various B vitamins. It also contains mono saturated fats that are the same as those found in olive oil and macadamia nuts, which are good for your cardiovascular health. What I recently found out is that cashew nuts also contain a small amount of a substance called zea-xanthin -> an important pigment antioxidant, which is selectively absorbed in the retinal macula lutea (the small yellowish area of the retina in the eye) and can provide UV ray filtering functions for your eyes! This of course does not mean you should give up on sunglasses after sipping on a vanilla cashew nut milkshake, but still protect your eyes from the sun!
5. Coconut milk
This unimaginably creamy, silky liquid works great as anything from ice cream bases to being a plain beverage with an exotic twist! It's just scrumptious! Coconut milk has low levels of cholesterol and sodium and can also be very easily digested by those who are lactose intolerant. It contains medium-chain fatty acids. One of the particularly amazing fatty acids, lauric acid, promotes brain development and bone health, and is antiviral and antibacterial. This baby contains 50 percent of your reccommended daily allowance for vitamin B12 ( by this, I mean the type you can find in supermarkets, as it is generally enhanced with this vitamin) . This vitamin ensures that red blood cells get enough oxygen to the body. As B12 is most commonly found in meat and dairy products, drinking coconut milk can be a great alternative for vegetarians and vegans, who might not get a sufficient intake through their diet alone.
I haven't really talked about cons in particular because as long as you're not allergic to any of the ingredients (nuts) there are no major downsides to nut milks. They can bring diversity into your diet and pleasantly surprise your taste buds in the process! You can find these products in most supermarkets, though they are very likely to contain sweeteners, thickening agents or other additives that just aren't your 'cup of milk', in which case you can easily make them at home - raw, fresh, delicious & nutritious - by basically soaking the nuts of your choice, adding water and blending!
What is your favourite type of non dairy milk? Have you ever tried making nut milk at home? Share your tips with us!