This may be a nutty question, but are nut milks helpful for your skin? With more time on my hands due to the pandemic, I’ve been preparing most of our meals myself. More thought than usual has gone into keeping food interesting and not mundane. In the mornings I’ve been trying out various fruit shake recipes and wanting to add some vitamins and flavor, yet not from cow milk. Non-dairy milks aka plant milks are a great way to get nutrients that can help your skin look great. Plant milks can offer a rich, creamy flavor that reminds consumers of cow milk. Three common categories of plant milks are: nuts, legumes, and grains.
Types of Nut Milk
- Almond milk
- Rich in vitamins and minerals. Contains added A, D, and B12, along with naturally occurring potassium, phosphate, zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin E. Zinc can help promote the growth of healthy skin and hair while vitamin E’s antioxidant properties can prevent and repair sun damage.
- One downside of almond milk is that it contains phytic acid. This compound strongly binds to nutrients such as zinc, calcium, and iron, limiting their absorption. I’m providing a nut milk recipe which goes over the soaking and rinsing process and will make the almond milk more nutritious by removing some of the phytic acid.
- Cashew milk
- When it comes to nutrition, cashew and almond milks are very similar. They contain comparable nutrient profiles, and only differ slightly when it comes to the ratio of fat to protein, texture, and cost. Cashew milk is the 2nd most popular nut milk. With less protein and more fat, typically it is richer and creamier. However, it tends to be more pricey than almond milk.
- Other Nut Milks
- You can consider macadamia, walnuts, hazelnut, and Brazil nuts. For the most part, these choices differ in flavor due to their varying fat contents. Be sure to read the nutrition label before making your choice; look for the amounts of vitamin D and calcium present. In store-bought plant milks, these nutrients are added-in during processing to give the product a similar nutritional profile to cow milk.
Is Nut Milk Healthier than Cow Milk?
Non-dairy milks offer a huge benefit over cow milk in the area of fat. Cow milk has a lot of fat, which provides flavor, offers a high dose of protein, and provides sweetness in the form of lactose. However, the fat is saturated which can have an inflammatory effect for some people. Types of fat vary from nut-to-nut. Fat is a good thing and gives us energy, so consuming it is beneficial, but you should choose your nuts wisely. Below is a chart which demonstrates the highest value in red. In this way, you can see that almonds have a low saturated fat content, a good amount of protein, an average amount of unsaturated fat and the highest fiber count –making it an ideal nut.
Is It Cheaper to make Your Own Nut Milk?
As for the costs involved in making nut milk, I will leave that to you to decide if it’s worth it. There is a little bit of time and effort involved, but I can’t stress enough the flavor that you will taste! Also, I found a blogger who calculated the cost comparison of store-bought versus homemade that you can find here to factor into the equation. When making the decision, keep in mind the nut-to-water ratio. In homemade milk you’ll have a better chance of getting a “whole foods” approach and higher quality. For example, in the recipe below you can add things like dates to sweeten the milk instead of sugar.
Eating Good Fats
So, how are nut milks helpful for your skin? Eating good fats is an important part of a healthy diet which you can read more about in a previous post called “Eat Fat For Fabulous Skin”. During the research for this post, I was expecting to find that nuts contain a lot of essential fatty acids, but the only one I found that has Omega-3’s are walnuts. Almonds and cashews have Omega-6’s, but that’s not very important since you can get those from many other food sources.
A typical 1-cup serving of cow milk can provide your body with 8 grams of proteins, 5 grams of fat, and 130 calories. Compared to cow milk, nut milks contain healthier unsaturated fats and few calories but also offer less protein. Soy, pea, oat and hemp milks (hemp seeds) are a great source of Omega 3’s, so I will write my next post on these other types of plant milks –stay tuned!