Cashew Milk Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Cashew milk
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Cashews are known for their creamy texture and satisfying fat content. It’s no surprise, then, that these nuts lend themselves well to a non-dairy milk alternative. Cashew milk has steadily found its place alongside almond, soy, and rice milks as a substitute for cow’s milk in the last several years.

Though cashew milk is higher in calories than almond milk and doesn’t pack the protein of soy, it offers plenty of nutrition benefits. Cashew milk provides healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, and commercially made varieties are typically fortified with numerous vitamins and minerals, such as iron, vitamin D, vitamin E, and calcium. Plus, many people find cashew milk’s richness a welcome addition to hot beverages, desserts, and even savory dishes that require a bit of creaminess.

Here’s an in-depth look at cashew milk’s nutrition facts and health benefits. 

Cashew Milk Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information for 1 cup (8 ounces) of cashew milk has been provided by the USDA

  • Calories: 156
  • Fat: 11g
  • Sodium: 100mg
  • Carbohydrates: 10.5g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Protein: 4.5g

Carbs 

Cashews contain some carbohydrates in the form of starch and fiber. In addition, this particular brand of cashew milk uses date sugar to sweeten the beverage and therefore some of the carbohydrates come from that.

When cashew milk is made by soaking the nuts in water, some of the starches in cashews get absorbed into the resulting milk. Fortunately, some of the fiber in cashews also gets transferred to its milk—about 2 grams per 8 ounces.

As for carbs from sugar, commercially prepared cashew milk may use different amounts of sweetener (or none at all). Added sugar will contribute to carb count, so be sure to check ingredient lists and nutrition labels if you’re watching your carbs.

Fats 

If you did a double-take at the 11 grams of fat per serving in cashew milk, here’s some good news: most of the fat in cashews is the healthy, monounsaturated kind. Plant-based monounsaturated fats are associated with benefits like a lower risk of heart disease. Keep in mind, too, that fats in cashew milk will vary depending on a brand’s recipe.

Protein

Protein content can deviate broadly between brands of store-bought cashew milks. Some brands may have as little as 1 gram per 8-ounce serving, while others may provide up to 5 grams. In general, however, this nut milk is not a high protein food.

If you’re looking to add more drinkable protein to your diet, try making cashew milk yourself. Homemade versions typically boast more protein, as they’re made by blending cashews with water (without straining).

Vitamins and Minerals

Commercially prepared cashew milk contains both naturally occurring and added vitamins and minerals. Many brands fortify their beverages with calcium, iron, and vitamins E and D—from 10 to 50% of the recommended daily value. Cashew milk is a source of sodium as well, at about 4% of the daily value per 8 ounces.

Health Benefits

In addition to being a creamy alternative to dairy milk, cashew milk provides a host of health benefits.

Boosts Heart Health

Cashew milk’s fats don’t just add flavor and satiation to this beverage—they may promote heart health as well. Studies show a strong correlation between plant-based monounsaturated fats and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Builds Strong Bones

When fortified, cashew milk can provide up to 30 percent of the daily value of calcium. This important mineral helps build strong bones and promotes muscle and nerve function.

May Enhance Eye Health 

Cashews—especially in raw form, which are used for cashew milk—are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. According to the American Optometric Association, these compounds help reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, especially age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Safe Alternative for Dairy Allergy 

If lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy has nixed cow’s milk from your diet, cashew milk can add a dairy-like texture back to your meals. With no lactose, casein, or whey, it should not cause gastrointestinal issues for those with trouble digesting dairy.

Suitable for Vegan Diet

Vegans are in the clear to enjoy cashew milk, as it does not contain animal products. (However, it’s important to remember that cashew milk is not a one-to-one replacement for cow’s milk in terms of protein and micronutrients.) 

Allergies

Unfortunately, cashew milk is not for everyone. As a tree nut, cashews are among the top eight food allergens, which are responsible for approximately 90% of all food allergies. If you have a known cashew or tree nut allergy, you’ll need to steer clear of this alt-milk.

Adverse Effects

Drinking cashew milk with added sugar may contribute to weight gain. Sugar-sweetened beverages have consistently been linked to overweight and obesity. Unsweetened cashew milk is your best bet for reaping this beverage’s health benefits.

Varieties

There was a time when consumers had two basic choices of cashew milk: homemade or store-bought. In recent years as more people have embraced non-dairy alternatives, the variety of available cashew milks has expanded dramatically. You may find different brands add varying amounts of sugar and flavors like strawberry or chocolate. Another popular trend is to blend cashew milk with other nut milks for a mixed nut beverage. 

When It’s Best

Cashew milk is available all year round, so there’s no one best season to purchase it. DIY cashew milk can also be made any time. Cashews are typically harvested in the winter, but remain shelf-stable for months and are likely to be on store shelves throughout the year. 

Storage and Food Safety

Store-bought cashew milk should last in the refrigerator for seven to 10 days. Homemade cashew milk, on the other hand, has a shorter shelf life of about five days in the refrigerator. Keep all cashew milk tightly covered.

Freezing is another safe option for preserving both store-bought and homemade varieties. Try freezing cashew milk in ice cube trays, which will allow you to use small amounts at a time. Once thawed, the milk may separate a little and need re-mixing.

How to Prepare 

Almost any time you need a creamy stand-in for dairy milk, you can substitute cashew milk. Smoothies, sauces, desserts, hot or iced beverages, and baked goods are just a few of the dishes that lend themselves well to this alt-milk.

To use store-bought cashew milk, simply open and pour. Or, to prepare your own cashew milk, soak 1 cup raw cashews in 4 cups water for four hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then blend soaked cashews and 2 cups water in a high-power blender. Add more water and blend until the liquid reaches your desired consistency. Sweeten with maple syrup or honey, if you like, and flavor with a bit of vanilla and cinnamon.

Recipes

Healthy Cashew Milk Recipes to Try:

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Article Sources
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