Today, people have become increasingly health-conscious. According to a 2019 study, individuals who are aged 25 to 34 years old appeared to be the most health-conscious age group. Health-conscious people make it a habit to get adequate amounts of sleep, spend less time on screens, exercise regularly, and more importantly, they take note of what they eat. In the study, 51% of them always look out for healthy food when they shop.
One product that is on the rise now for its health benefits is the nut milk. Nut milk is considered to be a healthier alternative to dairy milks. That is because dairy is an acidic food and also contains saturated fats, sugar, and salt which increase calorie intake. While it’s not particularly unhealthy to consume dairy milks, cutting it off your diet does not compromise any health benefits.
What is nut milk?
Nut milk is a cow’s milk alternative derived from plants and caters to all types of individuals – whether you’re lactose intolerant, have a dairy allergy, or even if you follow a vegan diet. Nut milks can be made from different types of nuts like cashew, hazelnut, macadamia and walnut, to name a few.
Besides being a healthier substitute, nut milks are actually very easy to make at home and not to mention that this method also allows you to control the amount of sugar on your milk. Basically to make one, you need to remove the shells and then roast the nuts. Soak it in water and then crush into a paste blended with water. The liquid strained from the mixture is now what you call nut milk!
Some choose to add flavouring, thickeners, sugar, or salt to their milk.
What are the types of nut milk?
While there are many options when it comes to nut milks, there are 5 very popular ones on the market right now.
- Almond Milk: Among the five choices, this is probably the most popular and familiar type and can be commonly found in local coffee shops. It is loaded with minerals like calcium and iron as well as Vitamin C and D. Almond milk has a delicate nutty flavour combined with a rich texture and it’s unsweetened version has less calories than skimmed cow’s milk. Almond milk goes great with smoothies and overnight oats.
- Cashew Milk: In terms of processing, cashew milk is similar to almond milk. The unsweetened cashew milk contains vitamins like D and E. Its nuts, on the other hand, are rich in zinc and selenium, important for immune system function and reproduction. It’s great to add in curries or to make dairy-free ice cream!
- Walnut Milk: Walnut milk is packed with vitamins, protein and essential minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium as well as plant-based omega-3 fats. It’s known to help with heart disease and is a perfect partner with cinnamon in the morning!
- Hazelnut Milk: This milk is naturally gluten, lactose and soy free packed with vitamin B and E. It’s low on saturated fats, fortified with calcium, and studies show that consuming this nut could help improve cholesterol levels. It goes best with coffee or hot chocolate during any time of the day.
- Macadamia Milk: There have been sources saying that macadamia nuts from which this milk is derived have virtually no nutritional benefits but there have been studies that show that otherwise. According to the American Heart Association, it contains a high amount of monounsaturated fats which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Macadamia milk makes really good soups!
Is Macadamia Nut Milk good for you?
The answer is an absolute YES! Although it might not be as popular as other types of nut milks, this milk has a very rich amount of nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Here are some health benefits you can get from the macadamia nut.
- It’s loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are common among nuts and they play an important role in neutralizing free radicals which are unstable molecules known to cause cellular damage and increase risk of conditions like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. It also has the highest flavonoid levels of all tree nuts, an antioxidant which fights inflammation and helps lower cholesterol levels. Aside from that it is also rich in tocotrienols which help protect against cancer and brain diseases.
- May improve gut health. Macadamia nuts contain fiber which are very helpful with digestion and overall gut health. Like most nuts, the soluble fiber found in macadamia nuts serves as a prebiotic which helps feed beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria then produce short-chain fatty acids which protect against irritable bowel syndrome and other diseases.
- Boosts heart health. As mentioned earlier, macadamia nuts contain a rich amount of monounsaturated fats which is linked to better heart health and also a lower risk of stroke and fatal heart attacks.
- Aids in weight loss. Macadamia nuts are associated with weight loss despite its high calorie content. This may be partly attributed to the protein and fiber content which are both known for reducing hunger and promoting feeling of fullness. Additionally, it contains omega-7 fat palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, which can protect against unwanted weight gain.
How to make your own macadamia milk
For this recipe, you only need a cup of raw macadamia nuts, ¼ teaspoon of sea salt or more depending on your preference, and optional 2 teaspoons of maple syrup or agave for additional flavor.
First, place the macadamia nuts in a large container with 2 inches of cold water covered with a clean kitchen towel. Refrigerate and let it soak for at least two hours up to 12 hours. After soaking, drain off the soaking water and rinse the nuts using a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water.
Using a high-speed blender, mix the drained nuts with 2 cups of water, salt, and maple syrup (if you’re using) and then blend until nuts are finely ground and water is opaque. Strain the nut milk through a nut milk bag (or you can purpose a cheesecloth-lined fine mesh strainer) and drain the milk out by gently massaging it.
You just need to refrigerate the milk for at least an hour then adjust taste according to your preference. Homemade macadamia nut milk can last 2-4 days but make sure to keep it refrigerated. Also, shake before serving!