Home » Diet » 7 Benefits of Almond Milk

7 Benefits of Almond Milk

Almond milk is the most popular plant milk in the US.

It is rich in several healthy nutrients, but compared to whole
almonds it is watered down and missing most of the fiber.

While its health effects have not been directly examined in
controlled studies, some of its components have been studied
extensively.

This is a review of almond milk and its health benefits.

What Is Almond Milk?

Almonds and Almond Milk

Almond milk is made by blending almonds
with water and then straining the mixture to remove the solids.
It can also be made by adding water to almond butter.

It has a pleasant, nutty flavor and creamy texture that’s
similar to regular milk. For this reason, it is a popular
choice for vegans and those who are allergic or intolerant to
dairy.

You can find almond milk in most supermarkets, usually in the
health food section. It is also very easy to make at home.

Commercial almond milk comes in a variety of brands and
flavors. For health reasons, it is best to choose almond milk
that does not contain added sugar.

Most brands are also enriched with vitamins, minerals or
protein. If you do not eat dairy, you might benefit from
choosing products that are enriched with calcium.

Controlled studies have linked whole almonds to a variety
of health benefits
, but many of them may not apply to
almond milk.

This is because almond milk is strained and usually made from
blanched (skinless) almonds. Most of the fiber and a large
portion of its antioxidants have been removed.

Second, almond milk is watered down and a much less
concentrated source of nutrients than whole almonds.

The concentration of nutrients in almond milk depends on how
many almonds were used to make it, how much water was used and
whether it contains any added vitamins and minerals.

For instance, around 72 almonds (86 grams) may be used to make
one cup (262 grams) of homemade almond milk, whereas commercial
almond milk is generally much more diluted (1).

Here are the 7 main health benefits of drinking almond milk.

1. It Is Nutritious

Although almond milk is not nearly as nutritious as cow’s
milk,
enriched products come close.

They frequently contain added vitamin D, calcium and protein,
making them more similar to regular milk in nutritional
content.

However, almond milk is naturally rich in several vitamins and
minerals, especially vitamin E.

For comparison, the table below shows the amounts of a few
nutrients, vitamins and minerals in one cup of commercial
almond milk and low-fat cow’s milk (2, 3).

Almond Milk Cow’s Milk
Calories 39 102
Protein 1.55 grams 8.22 grams
Fat 2.88 grams 2.37 grams
Carbs 1.52 grams 12.18 grams
Vitamin E 49% of the RDI 0% of the RDI
Thiamin 11% of the RDI 3% of the RDI
Riboflavin 7% of the RDI 27% of the RDI
Magnesium 5% of the RDI 8% of the RDI

Some of the minerals in almond milk are not absorbed as well as
those found in milk. This is partly because almonds contain
phytic
acid
, an antinutrient that reduces the absorption of iron,
zinc and magnesium (4, 5, 6, 7).

Since almond milk is lacking in many nutrients, it is not
suitable as a milk replacement for infants.



Bottom Line: Almond milk is naturally rich
in several vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E.

2. It Is Low in Calories

Although almonds are 50% fat and high in calories,
commercial almond milk is a low-calorie beverage.

This means that you can drink a lot of it without having to
worry about weight
gain
. It is also nutrient dense, providing lots of
nutrients relative to its calorie content.

Producers of almond milk dilute it with water to make its fat
content similar to that of low-fat milk, which is around 1%
fat.

One cup of almond milk contains only 39 calories, which is half
the amount of calories found in one cup of skim milk (2, 8).

However, not all almond milk is the same. Homemade almond milk
or certain brands might contain a much higher number of
calories, depending on how many almonds they contain per cup.

Additionally, some products contain added sugar, which should
be avoided if you are concerned about your waistline.

Bottom Line: Factory-made almond milk may
contain even fewer calories than a glass of skim milk.
However, this might not apply to all brands, so make sure to
check the nutrient labels.

3. Unsweetened Almond Milk Doesn’t Raise Blood Sugar

A large part of the almond milk on the market is loaded with

added sugar
.

Sugar-free almond milk, on the other hand, is a low-carb
beverage, containing only 0.6%
carbs
(1.5 grams) per cup (2).

In comparison, low-fat cow’s milk contains 5% carbs, totaling
12 grams in one cup (3).

Almond milk is also high in fat and protein
relative to its carb content. For this reason, it doesn’t cause
a spike in blood sugar levels, making it suitable for
diabetics, as well as those who are on a low-carb diet.

However, make sure to read the ingredient lists and select
products that are as pure as possible.

Bottom Line: Almond milk is a low-carb
beverage, making it a perfect choice for people on a low-carb
diet, as well as those who need to keep a check on their
blood sugar levels.

4. It Is Dairy-Free

Almond milk contains no cow’s milk or other animal products,
making it a great option for vegans
and those who are intolerant or allergic to milk.

Many people are intolerant to milk sugar (lactose) and unable
to completely digest it. Undigested lactose passes down to the
colon where it is fermented by the resident bacteria, leading
to excessive gas, bloating, diarrhea and associated discomfort.

Being dairy free, almond milk contains no lactose at all,
making it a suitable milk replacement for people with lactose
intolerance
.

Bottom Line: Almond milk is an imitation
milk and doesn’t contain any dairy at all, which makes it a
popular milk alternative for vegans and people with lactose
intolerance or milk allergies.

5. Enriched Almond Milk May Strengthen Your Bones

Dairy
products
are the richest dietary source of calcium. In
contrast, almonds are a poor source.

You will also like..  Learn Digital Photography – Top Ten Composition Tips

To make almond milk more similar to real milk, producers often
enrich it with calcium. For instance, one cup of commercial
almond milk may contain up to 45–50% of the RDI (2, 9).

In comparison, the calcium content in one cup of cow’s milk may
range from 28–31% of the RDI (3, 10).

As a result, enriched almond milk is an excellent calcium
source for people who don’t consume dairy products, such as
vegans or those who are intolerant to lactose or allergic to
milk.

Calcium is essential for building and maintaining bones. For
this reason, an adequate calcium intake reduces
the risk of osteoporosis
, a condition associated with weak
bones and fractures (11).

Bottom Line: Almond milk is often enriched
with calcium, making it an excellent source. Regular
consumption of enriched almond milk may reduce the risk of
osteoporosis among those who don’t consume dairy products.

6. It May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Observational studies show that regular consumption of nuts
is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. This is partly
because they are high in vitamin E and contain healthy fats
(12, 13).

Almond milk is 1% oil by weight, around 90% of which is
unsaturated. The fatty acid profile of almond oil is the
following (2):

Fatty Acid Profile Almond Oil

Oleic acid, the main fatty acid in almond oil, has
been linked to beneficial changes in blood lipids (14).

One study in healthy adults showed that eating 66 grams of
almonds or almond oil every day for six weeks reduced their
levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol by 6% and triglycerides by 14%,
as well as increased their “good” HDL cholesterol by 6%
(15).

These beneficial changes in the blood lipid profile are
associated with a reduced risk of heart disease (16).

Although about 50% of the calories in almond milk come from
fat,
it is generally a low-fat product and probably doesn’t have a
significant impact on your blood lipid profile.

However, it is a rich source of vitamin E, providing around
half of the RDI in one cup (2).

Vitamin E is believed to be responsible for many of the health
benefits of almonds. It protects lipids against oxidation,
reducing the levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol, which is a
risk factor for heart disease (17, 18).

Bottom Line: Almond milk is high in vitamin
E and contains healthy fats. Drinking it regularly may
potentially benefit your heart.

7. Enriched Almond Milk Is High in Vitamin D

Many people are low or deficient in vitamin D.
This raises the risk of brittle bones, fatigue and weak muscles
(19).

There are few good sources of vitamin D in the human diet.
That’s why a common public health strategy is to enrich certain
foods with vitamin D. This especially applies to milk products.

Just like regular milk, almond milk often contains added
vitamin D. For example, one cup may contain 101 IU (2.4 µg) of
vitamin D, which is 25% of the RDI. One cup of vitamin-enriched
cow’s milk contains similar amounts (9).

This makes enriched almond milk a useful source of vitamin D
that can prevent deficiency when consumed regularly.

Bottom Line: Almond milk is often enriched
with vitamin D, and consuming it regularly may prevent
vitamin D deficiency.

It Is Easy to Make

Almond milk is widely available in supermarkets.

However, it is also very easy to make at home. All you need is
a blender,
water
and a cup of almonds.

First, the skin is removed. You can do this by soaking the
almonds in water for 8–12 hours or overnight. The soak softens
the skin, allowing it to peel off easily when the almonds are
rinsed.

Next, put the almonds in a blender with four cups of water and
mix until smooth. Finally, remove the solids by straining the
mixture through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag.

Here are some healthy recipes:

Bottom Line: Almond milk is one of the most
popular plant milks and is available in most supermarkets. It
is also easy to make at home.

How to Use Almond Milk

Just like regular milk, almond milk is incredibly versatile.
Below are a few ideas of how you can use it as a milk
replacement:

  • Splash it over your cereal instead of regular milk
  • Add it to your coffee or tea
  • Mix it in smoothies
  • Make a dairy-free rice pudding or ice cream
  • Use it in soups, sauces and salad dressings
  • Use it as a milk replacement in many baked foods

For those who are prone to kidney stones, almond milk should
not be consumed in excessive amounts. This is because of its
calcium
oxalate
content, which is generally higher in homemade
almond milk (20).

Some people are also concerned about carrageenan, a thickener used in some commercial
almond milk products. Yet, most scientists agree that the type
and amount of carrageenan used in food products are safe
(21, 22, 23).

Bottom Line: Almond milk is a great
replacement for regular milk. However, those prone to kidney
stones should avoid drinking it in high amounts.

Take Home Message

Almond milk is a highly versatile food product and great milk
substitute for vegans and people who are allergic or intolerant
to dairy.

Being naturally rich in several important nutrients, almond
milk is an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *