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Cashew Milk Recipe

October 31, 2012 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

Homemade cashew milk is a valuable resource for anyone who’s interested in improving hydration, nutrient density and/or promoting weight gain. The first two objectives are fairly commonplace. Many people admit that they don’t drink enough water or eat enough whole foods. The issue of healthful weight gain isn’t as prevalent a concern. However, it does apply to a significant portion of the population for various reasons ranging from weight loss associated with disease states to eating disorders.

There are several non-dairy “milks” widely available in the marketplace. Cashew milk is not one of them. And, that’s a shame because cashews harbor important fatty acids (monounsaturated fat), nutrients (magnesium, potassium) and phytochemicals (anacardic acid, proanthocyanidins) which have been shown to support cardiovascular health, cognitive functioning and may provide protection against select cancers. Cashews are also among the mildest, sweetest tasting of all tree nuts.

I’ve developed a few variations of the recipe posted below. The original calls for adding two Medjool dates. In a previous column, I explained in detail why dates can be a valuable addition to many diets. In this case, they also contribute a source of concentrated calories and nutrition. For those on lower carbohydrate diets, consider using a liquid stevia extract instead – about 5 to 10 drops. The stevia version of this cashew milk contains approximately 130 fewer calories and 36 fewer grams of carbohydrates.

Homemade Cashew Milk

12 oz cold, purified water
1/3 cup raw, organic cashews
2 organic Medjool dates (pitted)
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/8 tsp organic cinnamon and nutmeg
a dash of NutraSalt brand sea salt

Nutritional Content: Calories: 315. Protein: 5 grams. Fat: 13 grams. Carbohydrates: 45 grams. Fiber: 5 grams.

Combine all of the ingredients in a high powdered blender. The cashews can be soaked overnight in order to soften them for easier blending. Alternate blending and pulsing until a milky, smooth consistency is reached. I personally used a potent “food extractor” known as a NutriBullet. It works very well in rendering solid ingredients, such as nuts and seeds, into liquids.

Note: I’m not a paid spokesman for the NutriBullet product. In fact, it was given to me as gift by my parents.

A few final notes about my version of homemade cashew milk: A small percentage of people are allergic to cashews and individual reactions can be quite serious, so avoid them if in doubt. Secondly, I did some blood sugar testing to determine my own reaction to the cashew milk with dates. I had only a minimal elevation in my glucose reading – about 5 mg/dL, 30 minutes post consumption. Why does this matter? Ideally, required weight gain should be accomplished without dramatic fluctuations in postprandial blood sugar. Major swings in blood glucose have been increasingly associated with poor health outcomes.

Click on the following links to learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column:

Study 1 - Hydro-Ethanolic Extract of Cashew Tree (Anacardium Occidentale) Nut (link)

Study 2 - Cancer Chemoprevention and Nutri-Epigenetics: State of the Art(link)

Study 3 - Tree Nut Consumption Improves Nutrient Intake and Diet Quality (link)

Study 4 - Phytochemical Composition of Nuts (link)

Study 5 - Consumption of a High Monounsaturated Fat Diet Reduces Oxidative … (link)

Study 6 – Dietary Fat Types and 4-Year Cognitive Change in Community-Dwelling (link)

Study 7 – Cashew Nut Allergy is Associated with a High Risk of Anaphylaxis (link)

Study 8 - Higher Normal Fasting Plasma Glucose is Associated w/ Hippocampal (link)

Study 9 – Chronic Hyperglycemia and Subclinical Myocardial Injury (link)

Study 10 - Prospective Study on Metabolic Factors and Risk of Prostate Cancer (link)

Monounsaturated Fats May Promote Beneficial Brain Activity

Source: Diabetes. 2012 Jul;61(7):1669-79. (link)

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5 Comments & Updates to “Cashew Milk Recipe”

  1. rob Says:

    That drink looks like a good post workout drink.
    So how much are the nutribullet people paying you, joking. Saw the infomercial for it the other day, looks decent, wonder how much better it is than there magicbullet?
    Looking for something so I can make nut milks a little easier

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I keep looking for the check in the mail. Sadly, it hasn’t arrived yet. ;-)

    Here’s what the manufacturer says about the NutriBullet vs. MagicBullet issue:

    How does the NutriBullet compare to the Magic Bullet?

    The NutriBullet has a 600 watt motor (Magic Bullet has 250). The NutriBullet large vessel has a 24-ounce capacity (Magic Bullet is 18 ounce) and the NutriBullet comes with the all-new Extractor Blade that emulsifies even the toughest of ingredients including seeds, nuts and stems.

    Source: http://www.nutribullet.com/index.php?r=site/faq

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Michelle Says:

    Hi JP

    Using the nutribullet, would you use the extractor blade or the milling blade to make nut milk?

  4. JP Says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I use the extractor blade for this recipe. Soaking the cashews helps facilitate ease of blending.

    Primarily, I use the milling blade for grinding fresh nuts and seeds when making nut/seed “flour” – almond, flax, hazelnut, pumpkin seeds, etc.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Updated 03/31/17:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28356271

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Mar 29.

    Cashew consumption reduces total and LDL cholesterol: a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding trial.

    Background: Cashews are the third most-consumed tree nut in the United States and are abundant with monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk. Although a qualified Food and Drug Administration health claim exists for nuts and heart health, cashews have been exempt from its use because cashews exceed the disqualifying amount of saturated fatty acids. Approximately one-third of the saturated fat in cashews is stearic acid, which is relatively neutral on blood lipids, thereby suggesting that cashews could have effects that are similar to those of other nuts. However, clinical data on cashews and blood lipids have been limited.Objective: We investigated the effect of reasonable intakes of cashews on serum lipids in adults with or at risk of high LDL cholesterol.Design: In a randomized, crossover, isocaloric, controlled-feeding study, 51 men and women (aged 21-73 y) with a median LDL-cholesterol concentration of 159 mg/dL (95% CI: 146, 165 mg/dL) at screening consumed typical American diets with cashews (28-64 g/d; 50% of kilocalories from carbohydrate, 18% of kilocalories from protein, and 32% of kilocalories from total fat) or potato chips (control; 54% of kilocalories from carbohydrate, 18% of kilocalories from protein, and 29% of kilocalories from total fat) for 28 d with a ≥2-wk washout period.Results: Consumption of the cashew diet resulted in a significantly greater median change from baseline (compared with the control, all P < 0.05) in total cholesterol [-3.9% (95% CI: -9.3%, 1.7%) compared with 0.8% (95% CI: -1.5%, 4.5%), respectively], LDL cholesterol [-4.8% (95% CI: -12.6%, 3.1%) compared with 1.2% (95% CI: -2.3%, 7.8%), respectively], non-HDL cholesterol [-5.3% (95% CI: -8.6%, 2.1%) compared with 1.7% (95% CI: -0.9%, 5.6%), respectively], and the total-cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratio [-0.0% (95% CI: -4.3%, 4.8%) compared with 3.4% (95% CI: 0.6%, 5.2%), respectively]. There were no significant differences between diets for HDL cholesterol and triglyceride.Conclusions: In comparison with a control diet, the incorporation of cashews into typical American diets decreases total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Results from this study provide support that the daily consumption of cashews, when substituted for a high-carbohydrate snack, may be a simple dietary strategy to help manage total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.

    Be well!

    JP

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