Almond milk is a delicious and nourishing dairy-free alternative for tea, smoothies, cereal, and granola. It’s also a featured ingredient in many plant-based cooking and baking recipes.
But most store-bought almond milk contains refined sweeteners, preservatives, and thickeners that can cause inflammation and digestive problems, negating many of the health and beauty benefits. Store-bought versions also contain fortified nutrients, which your body doesn’t assimilate as efficiently as nutrients obtained from whole food sources.
Pure almond milk has similar benefits to whole almonds. Almond milk is slightly processed, since it’s blended and the pulp is removed, so the nutritional profile isn’t as robust. However, almond milk is still a good source of monounsaturated fats, known to help balance cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. It also contains vitamin E, which improves skin health by reducing inflammation and protecting cells from free radical damage. Vitamin E also increases moisture levels and elasticity, resulting in youthful looking skin.
You can further boost the health benefits by:
- Soaking the nuts in advance to make them easier to digest.
- Purchasing organic almonds to limit pesticide exposure.
- Using filtered water to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.
Homemade Almond Milk
1 c. raw organic almonds
2-4 c. clean water (Choose filtered water to reduce exposure to toxic chemicals.)
1. Place almonds in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Drain and rinse the nuts. Transfer them to a blender and add water. (Do not reuse the soaking water.) Use less water for a creamier consistency and more for a thinner consistency.
3. Blend on high 1-2 minutes, until smooth.
4. Strain pulp using a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer; reserve pulp.
5. Transfer milk to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator. Shake before each use. Keeps about three days.
6. Search online for almond pulp recipes for creative ways to use the leftover pulp.
For a variation, swap almonds for cashews, hazelnuts, or pecans. For a hint of natural sweetness, add a couple of dates, raw honey, maple syrup, or cinnamon in step 2.
This story originally appeared on Well Within Beauty. It has been reprinted with permission.