Let’s answer the question is nut milk healthy? Because if you’re anything like me, you’re overwhelmed by the number of brands of nut milk floating around the grocery store shelves. Questioning what brand, what type, what flavor, or even asking if it’s doing anything good for your body.
So let’s dive into the question that you may be wondering, is nut milk healthy?
The truth is, it depends.
I know that sounds vague, but I want to be clear about something, food, especially food grown from the earth, should never be labeled as good or bad. Food has no moral code. While some foods may not sit well with you right now, that doesn’t mean they won’t forever.
Skip the food trends.
We’ve become far too sensitive to food trends. Trends that raise some foods to superhero levels while others get left in the dust.
But what if we let go of that idea, that food is good or bad, right or wrong, and we started to emphasize what is good for you today. Knowing tomorrow or a month from now, that may look different.
Instead, we need to focus on the quality of the food and how often we’re consuming it, which is the same for nut milk. The health of the nut milk depends on the quality of the nuts and the ingredients included. Of course, how often you consume it changes what your body does with it.
As we know, not all ingredients are good for our bodies. But perhaps a least known element is that eating healthy foods repeatedly can lead to poor digestion, bloating, and excess inflammation.
The very things that led you to ditch dairy can resurface with nut milk if consumed in the wrong form and too often. Even the “healthiest” of foods can lead to inflammation and gut problems if consumed for prolonged periods.
That’s why I believe that food rotation is more important than one specific diet.
Meaning, yes, nut milk can be healthy. But the most critical aspect is to steer clear of added ingredients, opting to rotate through different types of nut milk. For example, using almond one week, macadamia the next, and even subbing in some oat milk to mix things up a bit.
Of course quality matters.
Like all foods, what ingredients are used inside the product can change the way our body digests and absorbs the nutrients inside. For most people, switching to nut milk was a way to reduce inflammation. However, there are several high-inflammatory causing ingredients inside traditional store-bought nut milk that increase inflammation.
Reducing the benefit and keeping the same problems you experienced with dairy.
Choose nut milk free of processed ingredients and added emulsifiers like carrageenan gums. That’s because carrageenan gum has been linked to several digestive issues and inflammation, leading it to cause the same problems that dairy did.
“Although derived from a natural source, it appears to be particularly destructive to the digestive system, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella. The result: “It predictably causes inflammation, which can lead to ulcerations and bleeding,”Joanne Tobacman, MD, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of Illinois School of Medicine at Chicago.
If you use nut milk, the best options are homemade or brands free of additives and emulsifiers. A few healthy brands we promote include:
What to look for when you buy nut milk from the store.
If you’re going to buy store-bought nut milk, check the ingredients list. Purchase the brand with the least number of ingredients, and skip the sweetened varieties. If you want it sweetened, sweeten it yourself. You can even add vanilla extract, depending on what you’re looking to use it for.
I prefer the unsweetened plain. That way, if I’m cooking something savory, you don’t get the hint of vanilla. And you can always add it yourself.
How to make nut milk at home.
Of course, you can purchase nut milk, which is easy and convenient. But making homemade nut milk is incredibly easy to do. Plus, homemade nut milk offers a higher nutrient density and healthier product. Just make sure you purchase high-quality nuts and oats.
- 1 cup nuts (or a mixture of nuts and oats)
- 4 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 2 Tablespoons sweetener (dates, honey, maple syrup)
- Soak macadamia nuts in cool or room temperature water for 1-2 hours or overnight. Then rinse and drain.
- Add nuts, water, salt, and any additional add-ins (optional) to a high-speed blender. Top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn’t splash. Blend for about 2 minutes or until the mixture seems well combined.
- Use a spoon to test flavor/sweetness. Add more sweetener, salt, or vanilla as needed.
- Pour the mixture over a large mixing bowl or pitcher covered with a nut milk bag, a very thin towel, or a clean T-shirt.
- Transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate.
- It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (sometimes more).
Troubleshooting homemade nut milk.
- Skip roasted or salted nuts and opt for raw. Roasted nuts are generally of lower quality and often don’t process the same as raw.
- Don’t skip the soaking process. This is incredibly important in removing lectins that could be causing digestive troubles.
- Keep the ratio correct: 1 part nuts to 4 parts water. Too much or too little will change the flavor and consistency of the nut milk.
- Blend it well and strain it well. Nuts are expensive, and you want to get the most from them. To optimize the amount of milk, make sure you blend it well and strain even better.
- Make sure your nuts are not rancid. Yes, nuts, like all fats, can go rancid. Use only fresh nuts. If you purchase them in bulk, store them in the freezer to maintain freshness.
- Flavor it with a pinch of salt, vanilla extract, or a bit of sweetener. Dairy is naturally sweet with a hint of salt. To mimic this richness, play around with different natural sweeteners and add a pinch of salt.
Is nut milk healthy?
The answer is yes and no.
Yes, nut milk is healthy as long as you maintain good quality by reducing added preservatives and you rotate through different forms of nuts.
No, if you opt for highly processed and overly sweet forms of nut milk.
The best solution, try making it at home.