Where does almond milk come from?
In the brief guide, we are going to answer the question ‘Where do lentils come from’ with a detailed analysis of what safety measures are to keep in mind when using them in our daily routine.
Where does almond milk come from?
Almond milk is typically created through a process that involves soaking and grinding almonds while adding an ample amount of water. This method produces a creamy, milky liquid that varies in its thickness depending on the ratio of almonds to water.
In the commercial production of almond milk, the liquid undergoes two common procedures: homogenization under high pressure and pasteurization. These steps are implemented to improve stability and extend the product’s shelf life.
The homogenization process and heat treatment applied to almond milk during commercial production can bring about changes in its physical characteristics. These alterations primarily affect factors such as particle size and viscosity.
These modifications are the direct outcome of the specific processing techniques employed in the commercial manufacturing of almond milk. (1)
What factors affect almond milk stability?
The stability of emulsion plays a crucial role in determining the shelf life of colloidal foods like almond milk. Almond milk is an emulsion where oil droplets and a complex protein dispersion form the dispersed phase within a water-based medium.
Emulsions, by nature, are thermodynamically unstable systems that have a tendency to deteriorate over time due to various physicochemical mechanisms that can occur simultaneously.
These mechanisms include creaming, flocculation, coalescence and phase inversion. Collectively, these processes contribute to the breakdown of the emulsion structure.
The process of homogenization is employed to reduce the size of fat globules in almond milk, thereby preventing the separation and merging of fats during storage. The proteins present in almonds serve as essential emulsifiers, playing a crucial role in the formation and stability of almond milk. (2)
What is the nutritional profile of almond milk?
Almonds contain a range of essential components, including proteins, lipids (fats), soluble sugars, minerals, and fibers.
Among these, lipids are the predominant constituent, comprising approximately 35 to 52% of the almond’s composition, while proteins make up around 22 to 25%. The lipids in almonds are primarily composed of unsaturated fatty acids, which are considered healthier fats.
The proteins found in almonds consist mainly of essential amino acids that play crucial roles in various bodily functions. In addition to proteins and lipids, almonds offer a rich array of nutrients.
They are abundant in calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper, all of which are vital for maintaining overall health.(3)
What are the health benefits of drinking almond milk?
Almond milk offers a variety of health benefits, particularly in terms of improving blood lipid profiles and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Consumption of almonds is also associated with promoting healthy digestion, preventing anemia, reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, and providing protection against free radicals.
Almonds are well-known for their richness in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which play a crucial role in maintaining good health.
Almond milk contains valuable bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, vitamin E, and polyamines, which possess antioxidant properties. Additionally, almond milk provides dietary fibers and phytosterols, both of which contribute to its overall health-promoting properties. (1, 3)
Is drinking almond milk as good as eating almonds?
It’s important to note that almond milk, primarily consisting of water, has lower concentrations of beneficial nutrients compared to whole almonds. While almond milk may not offer the same nutrient density as whole almonds, it still provides these bioactive compounds and beneficial components.(1, 3)
How to store almond milk?
Almond milk can be stored in similar ways to oat and soy milk. It is commonly available in two forms: unrefrigerated and refrigerated.
Once almond milk is processed, it is packaged according to distribution and storage requirements. Typically, almond milk is packaged in carton systems (such as multilayer boxes, with Tetra Pak® being a well-known example) or plastic bottles.
For unrefrigerated almond milk, it should be treated similarly to unrefrigerated coconut milk and dairy milk. An unopened carton of unrefrigerated almond milk should be stored in a cool and dark place, away from heat sources like direct sunlight and stovetops.
Refrigerated almond milk should always be stored in the refrigerator. Avoid keeping the almond milk carton in the fridge door, as this area experiences more temperature fluctuations.
It’s important to note that homemade almond milk, which lacks preservatives, must always be kept refrigerated to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage. (4)
Almond milk can indeed be frozen to extend its shelf life, although it’s important to note that the texture may change upon thawing.
When frozen almond milk is thawed, the liquid and milk solids may separate, resulting in a different consistency. Sedimentation and creaming can occur, potentially leading to a loss of quality. (5)
Does almond milk consumption have any side effects?
Yes, almond milk has the potential to cause gas. Almond seeds contain naturally occurring oligosaccharides, with α-galactooligosaccharides being the predominant type. These include raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose.
The consumption of almond milk, which is rich in α-galactooligosaccharides, can lead to flatulence. However, it’s worth noting that α-galactooligosaccharides have demonstrated potential prebiotic activity.
Additionally, the presence of stabilizers in almond milk, such as carrageenan, can contribute to the occurrence of gas. Carrageenan, in particular, has gained a reputation for causing bloating, inflammation, and even stomach ulcers. (6, 7)
Other FAQs about Almond Milk that you may be interested in.
In the brief guide, we discussed answering the question ‘Where do nutmegs come from’ with a detailed analysis of what safety measures are to keep in mind when using them in our daily routine.
- Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol. 55(1): 10-20. 2018.
- Nor Aishah Hassan. Almond milk production and study of quality characteristics Journal of Academia 2, 1-8, 2012
- Silva, A. R. A., Silva, M. M. N., & Ribeiro, B. D. Health Issues and Technological Aspects of Plant-based Alternative Milk. Food Research International, 108972. 2020.
- Reyes-Jurado, F., et. al. Plant-Based Milk Alternatives: Types, Processes, Benefits, and Characteristics. Food Reviews International, 1–32, 2021
- K. Briviba et al. Ultra high pressure homogenization of almond milk: Physico-chemical and physiological effects. Food Chemistry 192 82–89, 2016
- Yu-Ping Huang, Bruna Paviani, Naomi K. Fukagawa, Katherine M. Phillips, Daniela Barile, Comprehensive oligosaccharide profiling of commercial almond milk, soy milk, and soy flour. Food Chemistry, 409, 135267, ISSN 0308-8146, 2023.
- Siddiqui, A. A., Feroz, A., Khaki, P. S. S., & Bano, B. Binding of λ-carrageenan (a food additive) to almond cystatin: An insight involving spectroscopic and thermodynamic approach. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 98, 684–690. 2017.