If you think creamy indulgence is reserved only for dairy products, think again!
We’ve rounded up the top 6 dairy free alternatives that are not only rich in nutrition but also deliver an irresistibly creamy texture that will leave you moo-tivated to try them.
You will also enjoy seeing the many research-supported health benefits of these foods. Drum-roll please! Here they are:
1. Cashews – The “Cash-cow” of Creaminess: These versatile nuts blend into a cream that is perfect for creating luscious non-dairy sauces, soups and desserts. From cashew milk to cashew sour cream, to cashew-based cheesecakes, you’ll be amazed at how they mimic the creaminess of traditional dairy products.
Plus, according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, cashews have been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease due to their heart-friendly healthy fats. Cashews are also rich in essential minerals like copper and magnesium, which play a vital role in supporting bone health.
2. Avocado – The Creamy Green Machine: Avocado is the green machine that can give dairy a run for its money. Besides being irresistibly creamy, avocados are packed with nutrients. The creamy, buttery consistency of avocados makes them perfect for smoothies, dips, and even creamy pasta sauces. Blend them into smoothies, spread them on a sandwich, or whip up some avocado chocolate mousse.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition highlighted that avocados’ special type of plant fats may improve brain health and thinking skills in older adults. These green gems also offer a good dose of potassium, which is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and good blood pressure.
3. Almonds – The Creamy Nutritional Powerhouses: Almonds can be ground into a smooth butter, perfect for spreading on crackers, adding to smoothies, or baking gluten-free breads and cakes. Almonds boast an impressive amount of plant-based protein and fiber, making them an excellent option for creamy non-dairy milk and creamy almond-based desserts.
A research study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that incorporating almonds into the diet improved vitamin E levels, a potent nutrient that helps protect all cells in the body from damage.
4. Coconut – The Tropical Creaminess: Coconut-based products, like coconut milk and coconut yogurt, have a smooth texture that’s second to none. And research suggests that the plant-based fats found in coconut have antimicrobial properties, helping to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses in the body. It’s not just delicious but is also good for keeping you in top-notch shape.
5. Sunflower Seeds – The Sunny Side of Creaminess: When ground and mixed with water, these seeds create a creamy texture similar to dairy. Pour it on your cereal, blend it into smoothies, or use it as a base for sauces. These little gems can also be transformed into sunflower seed butter, a smooth and nutty spread.
In one study of over 6,000 people, those that ate sunflower seeds and other seeds had 30% less inflammation. In other research, women with type 2 diabetes who ate one ounce of sunflower seeds daily were found to have a 5 percent reduction in blood pressure.
6. Butternut Squash – This squash is the golden ticket to creamy soups and sauces without dairy. Try some roasted and pureed butternut squash in your pasta sauces, creamy dips, and even your morning coffee. Studies have shown that butternut squash is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, C, and potassium, which can help boost your immune system and keep your muscles and bones healthy.
Carotenoids are potent plant chemicals found in orange fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is one of them and it is found abundantly in butternut squash. This nutrient strengthens eye and vision health and can help prevent eye conditions of all types. Sweet potatoes and pumpkins also have high levels of beta-carotene.
So there you have it, a delightful lineup of dairy free alternatives that are rich in nutrition and have a creamy texture that gives dairy some mighty opponents. From cashews’ cash-cow creaminess to avocado’s green magic and almonds’ nutritional might, there’s a creamy non-dairy delight for every palate.
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