Almond Milk Benefits

Almond milk is a creamy, nutty-flavored beverage made by soaking, grinding and straining raw almonds. It is often used as a substitute for dairy milk, which today almost every supermarket sells in several flavors and of numerous brands. Even though its consumption can be dated back to several hundred years ago, it is most popular with individuals who wish to avoid dairy. Overall, it is not a commonly used product and so not everyone is familiar with its nutritional facts.

Almond Milk Nutrition Facts

Glass of Almond milk

 

 

Vitamins

Almond milk and its various products are all supplemented with vitamins A, D and B complex thereby providing adequate amounts of the recommended daily intake of these nutrients. One cup contains 500 and 200 international units of vitamin A and D respectively, fulfilling approximately 20% of an individual’s recommended daily intake. It also contains three micrograms of vitamin B-12 which fulfills 100% of an average person’s B-12 requirements.

Vitamin E plays a major role in improving skin health on account of its antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is vital for healthy eyesight; it helps the eyes better adjust to differences in light.

Almond milk contributes significantly in maintaining healthy bones and teeth as it is rich in both calcium and vitamin D. Additional benefits of vitamin D are that it decreases the incidence of osteoporosis in women, increases cell function and immunity and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Almond milk also contributes to better muscle health. It is rich in Vitamin B-12 especially riboflavin and iron which are muscle regulating nutrients. Iron, in particular, helps muscles to absorb and use proteins for energy, growth, and repair.

Minerals

One of the product’s nutrition facts is that it also contains several vital minerals such as phosphorous, zinc and potassium. Packaged almond milk is often fortified by calcium, which is essential for optimal bone health, allowing an individual to meet one-third of the recommended daily intake. By substituting three servings of dairy products with three servings of almond milk, a person can easily meet his daily requirements for calcium; 1000 milligrams/day for men and 1200 milligrams/day for women.

Fats

Although it does contain fat, it is important to note, that the fat content of this particular milk is not unhealthy. An 8-ounce serving of sweetened almond milk contains 60 calories but 25 of those calories are on account of healthy fat. Meanwhile, in an 8-ounce cup of unsweetened almond milk, 30 out of 40 calories are owing to good fats. This fat is neither saturated nor trans-fat, and it does not contain any cholesterol either.

Since this type of milk contains good fats and has low sodium content, it is known for keeping the heart healthy. This is because foods that contain limited sodium and low amount of cholesterol help maintain normal blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. Almond milk is also rich in potassium which further helps in maintaining blood pressure.

Proteins

Almond milk is also a rich source of protein. Vegetarians and vegans often substitute dairy milk with almond milk which contains about 2 grams protein in an 8-ounce serving. Although cow’s milk provides 8 grams per every 8-ounce serving, almond milk contains much greater protein than rice milk. Also, by adding protein powder to almond milk, the amount of protein can always be increased.

Sugar

One of almond milk nutrition facts pertains to its sugar content. Homemade almond milk contains no sugar while store-bought ones contain sugar and other flavorings as well. For diabetics, homemade almond milk is advised.

Diabetics can benefit substantially from almond milk since it only contains 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving, unlike other dairy products. This meager amount of carbohydrates does not elevate blood sugar level and is, in fact, stored as fat in the body. Further, sugars present in almond milk are glycemic in nature meaning that they are fully digested in the body and used for energy.

Flavonoid and Antioxidant Content

Almond milk is prepared by crushing almonds along with their skins. The skin is rich in flavonoids thereby making almond milk a good source of flavonoids as well. Flavonoids are important in safeguarding the body against cardiovascular diseases. Almond milk is also rich in antioxidants which also help prevent heart diseases and cancers.

Making Your Own

With all these nutrition facts, many prefer to make it at home themselves.

Ingredients

  • Raw organic sprouted almonds: 1 cup
  • Pure filtered water: 4 cup
  • Honey, stevia, dates, vanilla (optional)

Instructions

  • For this, you need to soak overnight one cup of raw organic sprouted almonds for minimum 12 hours in water with half a teaspoon of sea salt. The soaking process helps to break down phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors and also allows beneficial enzymes that are present in the almonds to be cultured.
  • After the almonds have been soaked, they need to be rinsed and then mixed with four cups of water in a blender. The mixture needs to blend for a few minutes. Care should be taken to not overfill the blender as the mixture tends to expand and may overflow.
  • Once the mixture is smooth and creamy, it should be strained using cheesecloth, sprout bag or a kitchen towel.
  • Once strained, the mixture should be put back in the blender along with honey, soaked dates or other sweeteners.
  • The mixture should be put into a glass jar or pitcher and can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.

Body Mass Index Measurement

This post deals with measuring Body Mass Index (BMI) for adults, children, and teens. Body mass index, or BMI, is a measure of body size. It combines a person’s weight with their height. The results of a BMI measurement can give an idea about whether a person has the correct weight for their height. 

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a screening tool that can indicate whether a person is underweight or if they have a healthy weight, excess weight, or obesity. If a person’s Body Mass Index is outside of the healthy range, their health risks may increase significantly.

Carrying too much weight can lead to a variety of health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular problems.  In a previous post, we offered five simple exercises which can help a person achieve some of their weight goals.

A weigh that is too low can increase the risk of malnutrition, osteoporosis, and anemia. The doctor will make suitable recommendations.

Body Mass Index does not measure body fat directly, and it does not account for age, sex, ethnicity, or muscle mass in adults.

However, it uses standard weight status categories that can help doctors to track weight status across populations and identify potential issues in individuals.

BMI (Body Mass Index) in adults

Body Mass Index calculator shows healthy weight
A BMI chart or calculator can show a person if they have a healthy weight.

Calculating BMI involves measuring a person’s height and body weight.

 

Metric

  • To calculate BMI in metric units, use the following method: BMI = kg/m2
  • So, to calculate an adult’s BMI: Divide their weight in kilograms (kg) by the square of their height in meters (m2)

Since most people measure height in centimeters (cm), divide height in cm by 100 to get height in meters.

Imperial

  • When using imperial units, the formula is: BMI = lbs x 703/in2
  • In other words: Multiply a person’s weight in pounds (lbs) by 703. Then divide by their height in inches, squared (in2)

To avoid using the math, a person can use a calculator or a chart to find their BMI.

BMI calculator

Enter height or weight in either imperial or metric measurements to find your BMI.

1) Metric BMI Calculator

2) Imperial BMI Calculator

BMI charts

People can also work out their BMI using a chart. Click here to see a chart provided by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Locate your height in inches on the side of the chart, then look across to find your body weight in pounds. Scan to the top to see if the result corresponds to a normal weight, overweight, or obesity.

Understanding the results

The following table shows the standard weight status categories associated with BMI ranges for adults.

BMI Weight status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5–24.9 Healthy
25.0–29.9 Overweight
30.0 and above Obese

BMI of less than 18.5

A BMI of less than 18.5 indicates that you are underweight, so you may need to put on some weight. You are recommended to ask your doctor or a dietitian for advice.

BMI of 18.5–24.9

A BMI of 18.5-24.9 indicates that you are at a healthy weight for your height. By maintaining a healthy weight, you lower your risk of developing serious health problems.

BMI of 25–29.9

A BMI of 25-29.9 indicates that you are slightly overweight. You may be advised to lose some weight for health reasons. You are recommended to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.

BMI of over 30

A BMI of over 30 indicates that you are heavily overweight. Your health may be at risk if you do not lose weight. You are recommended to talk to your doctor or a dietitian for advice.

BMI in children and teens

In adults, BMI values are not linked to age and are the same for both sexes.

However, measuring Body Mass Index in children and teens is slightly different. Girls and boys develop at different rates and have different amounts of body fat at different ages. For this reason, BMI measurements during childhood and adolescence take age and sex into consideration.

Doctors and other health professionals do not categorize children by healthy weight ranges because:

  • they change with each month of age
  • male and female body types change at different rates
  • they change as the child grows taller

Doctors calculate BMI for children and teens in the same way as they do for adults, by measuring height and weight. Then they locate the BMI number and person’s age on a sex-specific BMI-for-age chart. This will indicate whether the child is within a healthy range.

Calculator and charts for child and teen Body Mass Index

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have produced a calculator that provides BMI and the corresponding BMI-for-age percentile on a CDC growth chart for children and teens.

First, click here for the calculator.

Next, use the charts to see if a child’s weight is suitable for their age.

Click here for the charts:

What do the results mean?

The following categories explain the meaning of the results:

Weight status category Percentile range
Underweight Below the 5th percentile
Healthy weight 5th percentile to less than the 85th percentile
Overweight 85th to less than the 95th percentile
Obesity Equal to or greater than the 95th percentile

How doctors use BMI

BMI is not accurate enough to use as a diagnostic tool, but it can screen for potential weight problems in adults and children.

If someone has a high or low BMI, a doctor or other healthcare professional might then consider other factors, such as:

  • skinfold thickness measurements, which indicate how much fat is in the body in adults and children
  • evaluations of diet and physical activity
  • discuss any family history of cardiovascular disease and other health problems
  • recommend other appropriate health screenings

The doctor or healthcare professional can then make diet and exercise recommendations based on these results.

Health risks of extra weight

Excess weight has the following effects on the body:

  • It increases how hard the heart has to work.
  • It raises blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • It lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol levels.
  • It can make diabetes and other health problems more likely.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), carrying extra weight can increase the risk of the following conditions:

  • hypertension, or high blood pressure
  • dyslipidemia, which involves high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides
  • type 2 diabetes
  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • gallbladder disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • sleep apnea and respiratory problems
  • some cancers, including endometrial, breast and colon cancer

Carrying extra weight as a child or teenager can also pose significant health risks, both during childhood and into adulthood.

As with adult obesity, childhood obesity increases the risk of various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea.

The American Heart Association (AHA), point out that children with a high BMI also have a higher risk of:

Benefits of a healthy weight

Walking with the family helps Body Mass Index levels
Walking with family or friends can be an enjoyable way of keeping fit and preventing unwanted weight gain.

Apart from reducing the risk of the health conditions, maintaining a healthy weight offers additional benefits:

  • fewer joint and muscle pains
  • increased energy and ability to join in more activities
  • improved regulation of bodily fluids and blood pressure
  • reduced burden on the heart and circulatory system
  • improved sleep patterns

Other measures of a healthy body

BMI is a useful tool, but it cannot identify whether a person’s weight is made up of muscle or fat.

For example, an athlete with a lot of muscle tissue may have a higher BMI than a person who is not very active. But, this does not mean that the athlete is overweight or unhealthy.

In addition, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure are more likely to occur in people who have additional fat — known as visceral fat — around their middle rather than their hips.

Other measures of body size include waist-hip ratio, waist-to-height ratio, and body composition, which measures body fat and lean body mass. These measurement systems focus more on the amount of fat a person has and its distribution around the body.

Together with BMI, these additional measures can help to assess more accurately the health risks associated with an individual’s weight.

Takeaway

Body Mass Index can be a useful screening tool for predicting certain health risks. However, people should use it with caution, as it does not take other factors — such as activity levels and body composition — into account.

For children and teens, it is important to include their age and sex when taking a BMI measurement, because their bodies continuously change as they develop.