Almond milk in the United States is the most popular plant milk.
It is rich in some good nutrients but it is watered down and lacking much of the fiber compared to whole almonds.
Although their health effects were not investigated explicitly in controlled trials, some of its components were extensively studied.
It is an analysis of almond milk and its benefits for the body.
What is almond milk?
Almond milk is formed by combining water with almonds and then straining the mixture to extract the solids. This can also be achieved by combining almond butter with water.
It has an agreeable, nutty taste and creamy texture similar to standard milk. For this reason, vegans and those allergic or intolerant to dairy are a common alternative.
Almond milk can be sold in most supermarkets, usually in the section on balanced foods. Having it at home too is very convenient.
Natural almond milk comes in a number of flavours and brands. Choosing almond milk which does not contain added sugar is better for health reasons.
Most brands also supplement themselves with vitamins, minerals, or protein. If you don’t eat dairy, you may benefit from choosing calcium enriched products.
Regulated trials have related whole almonds to a number of health benefits, which do not relate to almond milk in all of these.
It is because the almond milk is distilled and is generally made from blanched almonds (skinless). Most of the fiber has been lost, and a significant portion of its antioxidants.
Second, almond milk is watered down, and a food source far less abundant than whole almonds.
Nutrient content in almond milk depends on how many almonds were used to produce it, how much water was used and whether it has any vitamins and minerals added.
For example, it is possible to use about 72 almonds (86 grams) to make one cup (262 grams) of homemade almond milk, whereas commercial almond milk is usually much more diluted (1).
Here are the seven principal health benefits of almond milk drinking.
1. It is nutritious
While almond milk is not nearly as nutritious as cow milk, it comes close to enriched goods.
They often contain added vitamin D, calcium and protein making them nutritionally more similar to regular milk.
Almond milk, though, is naturally rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin E.
For reference, the following table shows the quantities of a few nutrients, vitamins and minerals in a single cup of organic almond milk and low-fat cow’s milk (2, 3).
|Almond Milk||Cow’s Milk|
|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 and those present in milk are not absorbed. This is partially because almonds contain phytic acid, an antinutrient this decreases iron, zinc, and magnesium absorption (4, 5, 6, 7).
Since almond milk is absent in many nutrients, it is not ideal for infants as a substitute for milk.
Bottom line: Naturally, almond milk is rich in various vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.
2. It is low in calories
While almonds are 50 percent fat and high in calories, commercial almond milk is a low-calorie drink.
That means you can drink plenty of it without thinking about weight gain. This is also rich in nutrients, offering plenty of nutrients in comparison to its calorie content.
Almond milk producers dilute it with water to make it similar to low-fat milk, which is around 1 percent fat.
One cup of almond milk contains just 39 calories, which is half the calorie content found in one cup of skim milk (2, 8).
Not all of the almond milk is the same though. Homemade almond milk or other brands can contain a much higher calorie content, depending on how many almonds they contain per cup.
Furthermore, certain foods contain added sugar and should be avoided if your waistline is concerned.
Bottom line: Manufactured almond milk can contain far less calories than a glass of skim milk. That does not extend to all brands however, so be sure to search the labels for nutrients.
3. Unsweetened almond milk doesn’t raise blood sugar
On the market, a substantial part of the almond milk is filled with added sugar.
In comparison, sugar-free almond milk is a low-carb beverage containing just 0.6 percent carbs (1.5 grams) per cup (2).
Low-fat cow’s milk, by contrast, contains 5 percent carbohydrates, containing 12 grams in one cup (3).
Also high in fat and protein, almond milk is relative to its carb content. This does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels for this reason, making it ideal for diabetics as well as those on a low-carb diet.
Yet make sure you read the lists of ingredients and select items that are as clean as possible.
Bottom Line: Almond milk is a low-carbon product, making it a good option for those on a low-carb diet as well as those who prefer to get their blood sugar levels tested.
4. It is dairy-free
Almond milk does not contain milk from cow or other animal products, which makes it a perfect choice for vegans and others who are intolerant or allergic to meat.
Many people are intolerant of sugar (lactose) in milk and unable to digest it fully. Undigested lactose moves down to the colon where the resident bacteria ferment it, resulting in excessive gas, bloating, diarrhea and associated discomfort.
Being dairy-free, almond milk does not contain lactose at all, making it an acceptable substitute for lactose-intolerant people.
Bottom Line: Almond milk is an imitation milk which contains no dairy at all, making it a common alternative for vegans and people with lactose intolerance or allergies to milk.
5. Enriched almond milk may strengthen your bones
The richest dietary source of calcium is the dairy products. In comparison, it is a bad source of almonds.
Producers also supplement it with calcium, in order to make almond milk more similar to real milk. One cup of commercial almond milk, for example, can contain up to 45-50 percent of RDI (2, 9).
In contrast, the content of calcium in one cup of cow’s milk can vary from 28-31 percent of RDI (3, 10).
As a result, fortified almond milk is an ideal source of calcium for people who do not eat dairy products, such as vegans or those who are lactose intolerant or milk allergic.
Calcium is important for bone formation and maintenance. This is why an sufficient intake of calcium decreases the risk of osteoporosis, a disease associated with weak bones and fractures(11).
Bottom line: Calcium also enriches almond milk, making it an excellent source. Regular use of enriched almond milk will reduce the risk of osteoporosis for those not eating dairy products.
6. It may reduce the risk of heart disease
Observational studies indicate that daily nut intake is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. It is partially because they contain high levels of vitamin E, and healthy fats (12, 13).
Almond milk is 1 percent oil by weight, of which about 90 percent are unsaturated (2).
Oleic acid, the principal fatty acid in almond oil, was associated with beneficial improvements in blood lipids (14).
One research in healthy adults found that consuming 66 grams of almond or almond oil per day for six weeks decreased their “poor” LDL cholesterol levels by 6 percent and triglycerides by 14 percent, as well as their “strong” HDL cholesterol by 6 percent increased (15).
Such beneficial improvements in the profile of blood lipids are related to a decreased risk of heart disease (16).
While approximately 50 percent of the calories in almond milk come from fat, it is typically a low-fat food and probably has no major effect on your lipid profile in the blood.
This is therefore a rich source of vitamin E, supplying about half of the RDI in a single cup (2).
Vitamin E is believed to compensate for many of the health benefits of almonds. This prevents lipids from oxidation, reducing oxidized LDL cholesterol levels which is a risk factor for heart disease (17, 18).
Bottom Line: Almond milk contains high levels of vitamin E, and healthy fats. Your heart could actually benefit from drinking it daily.
7. Enriched almond milk is high in vitamin D
Most people are deficient in vitamin D or short of it. It increases the risk of weak bones, tiredness and feeble muscles (19).
Humans diet has few healthy sources of vitamin D. This is why an enrichment of some foods with vitamin D is a successful public health strategy. This applies particularly to the dairy products.
Like normal milk, almond milk also has vitamin D added to it. For instance, one cup may contain 101 IU (2.4 μg) of vitamin D, 25 percent of the RDI. One cup of cow’s milk which is enriched with vitamin contains equivalent amounts (9).
It makes enriched almond milk a good source of vitamin D, which when eaten regularly can avoid deficiencies.
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 popular in supermarkets.
But making it at home, too, is very convenient. Only a blender, water and a cup of almonds are all you need.
First, they remove the skin. Soak the almonds in water for 8-12 hours or overnight. The soak softens the skin, allowing it to quickly peel off while rinsing the almonds.
Next, place the almonds in a four-cup water blender, and mix until smooth. Finally, the solids should be separated by straining the mixture through a cheese cloth or nut milk container.
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
The almond milk is extremely flexible much like normal milk. Below are some suggestions about how you can use it as a supplement for milk:
- 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
The almond milk should not be drunk in large quantities for those who are susceptible to kidney stones. This is due to the level of calcium oxalates, which is usually higher in homemade almond milk (20).
Some people are still worried about carrageenan, a thickener used in many commercial dairy products for almonds. But most researchers believe that the amount and quantity of carrageenan used in food products is safe (21, 22, 23).
Bottom Line: Almond milk is a great substitute for normal milk. Nevertheless, anyone susceptible to kidney stones should stop drinking it in large amounts.
Take home message
Almond milk is a highly versatile food commodity and a perfect substitute for vegans and people who are allergic or intolerant to dairy products.
Almond milk is an excellent addition to a healthy diet, because it is naturally rich in several important nutrients.