Pregnancy can bring a multitude of changes in someone’s diet and food preferences.
There are a handful of everyday food items such as coffee, raw sprouts, and unpasteurized dairy products that need to be restricted. But does that also include almond milk in the list? Let’s find out!
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is plant-based milk known for its creamy texture and nutty flavor. It is quite popular for health-conscious and lactose-intolerant people who avoid dairy products. Due to the product being plant-based, it does not contain cholesterol. You don’t have to worry about saturated fat consumption because the milk contains a very small amount of it.
How is Almond Milk Made?
Customers can easily find almond milk in their local grocery stores. These products are available in milk boxes and come in sweetened and unsweetened varieties. You can also get it in flavored versions to give a little kick in the experience.
But making your own almond milk from raw nuts is also possible. Raw almonds are soaked overnight in water or until they appear plump. Blend the almond for one minute or until the liquid is frothy, following the ratio of 4 cups of water for every cup of almond.
You can add your preferred flavor or sweeteners. Once it is thoroughly blended, you need to strain the pulps and store the milk in an air-tight container. These residues can be dried and processed for baking purposes.
Is Almond Milk Safe to Drink During Pregnancy?
Almond milk is considered safe for consumption during pregnancy and can be consumed as a part of a healthy diet. You can use it to spice up your oatmeal, french toast, mashed potatoes, and baked goods. Just make sure to keep your intake moderated because too much of everything is always a bad idea.
When to Avoid Consuming Almond Milk?
You should avoid drinking or intaking almond milk if you develop allergic reactions to any tree nuts such as peanuts and almonds. According to research from the University of Messina, the nut allergy rate in the US is about 0.2% for children and 0.5% for adults. Almonds’ lack of protein should also be noted, especially if you’re considering taking it as an alternative for cow milk or other dairy products. You can remedy this by consuming more protein-rich food such as fish, cooked eggs, beans, and lean meat, which has a lower fat content and calorie count.
Pregnant women should also avoid unpasteurized almond milk (or any other unpasteurized drink with organic juice on it). These products might develop bacterial contamination which can lead to pregnancy complications. Unpasteurized almond milk can be identified by checking the label of the product. Or if you’re in a hurry, avoid buying milk from grocery fridges since these are likely freshly served and were not treated with heat to kill bacteria.
Lastly, avoid drinking almond milk if you have thyroid dysfunction. It contains a substance called goitrogen which impedes the production of thyroid hormones. Presuming that you’re not experiencing the conditions above, then you don’t have to worry about consuming almond milk during pregnancy.
Almond Milk Benefits
There is a reason why almond milk is very sought after by health-conscious individuals: it has tons of benefits. Almond itself has a great reputation due to its as a very healthy food despite its size. You can maximize its benefits by consuming 28g or about 23 pieces, the recommended daily portion by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
1. Includes a Good Amount of Vitamins and Minerals
Almonds would be a good supplement for completing your daily nutrition needs. Even when served unsweetened without any complimentary food, you can still get a decent amount of vitamin A and D, in addition to other beneficial content such as fiber, potassium, and phosphorus. Fortified versions can help in supplying your Vitamin D and Calcium needs.
2. Lactose-free Milk & Vegan Friendly
Lactose-intolerant people often use almond milk as a great alternative. They can enjoy the rich flavor without worrying about symptoms like stomach pain and bloating. In addition, you can easily incorporate almond milk into recipes that require cow milk, especially when making baked goods (can replace whole milk when baking).
3. Comes with Hearty Support
Continuous consumption of almond milk is also good for the heart’s health. A study shows that people who incorporated the milk into their daily diet had shown signs of cholesterol reduction, which is the common cause of heart diseases.
4. Makes Your Skin Healthy
Almond milk is a godsend for those who cannot consume cow milk due to acne development. This plant-based milk doesn’t cause acne growth due to its high level of vitamin E. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that promotes overall cell health by releasing free radicals. Your skin health might get improvement due to this effect.
5. Protects You From Gestational Diabetes (GDM)
And lastly, almond milk can help you control your sugar levels to avoid getting Gestational Diabetes or GDM. GDM occurs because the body doesn’t produce the normal amount of insulin it usually produces for healthy individuals, which causes higher blood sugar levels. Consuming cow milk or other dairy products can increase carbohydrates intake, which causes blood sugar to rise. Substituting dairy products with plant-based and low-carb products will help you get your daily nutritional requirements without adding up carbohydrates to your diet.
Other Plant-Based Milk Alternatives
Although almond milk is a great dairy alternative, folks at Babycenter recommend soy milk instead if you want to get protein and calcium content. Just like almond milk, soy milk comes in unsweetened and unflavored varieties. However, the majority of people find almond milk to be better in taste.
Oat milk is another alternative targeted at people who have soy and nut allergies. It gives vitamin B, iron, and other vitamins and minerals found in almond milk. Just consume it in moderation as it has a high level of carbohydrates compared to almond and soy milk.
It can also have a slimy texture, which might not sit well with a lot of people.