Going dairy-free isn’t just great for the planet, it’s also good for your body too. There are a number of benefits you’ll likely experience by giving up dairy, and possibly prevent everything from cancer to heart disease. Dairy’s main protein, casein, is incredibly damaging to the body; it’s highly acidic and one of the most addictive and inflammatory foods that exists. Dairy also isn’t necessary to consume in order to live healthfully. There are a variety of foods that not only contain high-quality calcium in a plant-based diet, but also protein as well. Almonds are one of those foods and they deserve a special spotlight for their ability to not only improve your heart, but also support your body in many ways once you decide to ditch dairy for good.
Almonds and fortified non-dairy almond milk are both excellent sources of calcium to keep your bones strong. Almonds contain 75 milligrams of calcium in one ounce, which is about 28 nuts, and more per ounce than cow’s milk that contains around 300 milligrams in 8 ounces (or a little over 37 milligrams per ounce.) Fortified almond milk contains 50 percent more calcium than dairy milk per cup, and is also a lower calorie option than milk if you choose unsweetened varieties.
As mentioned, almonds offer a great source of protein with around 6-7 grams per 1/4 cup (or one ounce.) They’re recommended as one of the best vegan proteins to eat, along with one of the most delicious as well! Though you won’t want to consume cups of almonds per day since they’re high in healthy fats and very dense, you should consider them part of an overall healthy, balanced plant-based diet and include one or two servings a day. Other nuts and seeds like almonds can also help you reach your protein goals even further when eaten in moderation.
Dairy, specifically yogurt, is one of the higher sources of magnesium in the few animal foods that do contain this important mineral. However, almonds trump dairy in magnesium any day! Per ounce, almonds contain 76 milligrams of magnesium, which is three times the amount in a cup of spinach and almost four times the amount found in nonfat Greek yogurt!
Versatile in Recipes
Almonds are also a great ingredient to use in your plant-based recipes. They’re so versatile in the kitchen that they can easily be used to replace dairy products. Try almond milk in place of dairy milk, almond cream in place of dairy cream, almond yogurt in place of dairy yogurt, almond butter in place of butter, and best of all, raw almonds in place of a cup of yogurt or cheese as your afternoon snack.
Almonds are one of the few nuts to leave an alkaline ash in the body. Alkaline foods help reduce acidity that can trigger inflammation, unlike dairy which actually promotes inflammation. Choose raw almonds, which are less acidic than roasted varieties in oil and salt and learn to make your own almond milk and almond butter if you’d like to try a healthier, more natural option to store bought varieties.
Need more creative ways to use these magical little nuts in your recipes? We’ve got a variety of tasty almond recipes to share with you!
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