Many individuals are looking for alternatives to cow’s milk as plant-based diets and dairy sensitivities become more popular.
Because of its rich texture and flavour, almond milk is one of the most popular plant-based milks.
However, because it is a processed beverage, you may be wondering if it is a nutritional and safe option.
This article discusses whether almond milk is healthy or detrimental for your health.
What is almond milk?
Almond milk is created from ground almonds and water, although it may also contain other components depending on the brand.
Most people buy it readymade, but it’s also pretty simple to create at home.
Almonds and water are combined and then filtered to eliminate pulp during processing. This results in a smooth liquid.
Most commercial almond milks contain thickeners, preservatives, and flavourings to improve flavour, texture, and shelf life.
Almond milk is naturally dairy-free, making it acceptable for vegans as well as those who are allergic to dairy or have a lactose intolerance.
However, if you are allergic to tree nuts, you should avoid it.
Summary: Almond milk is a vegan beverage consisting of filtered almonds and water. It is naturally dairy- and lactose-free, making it an excellent choice for individuals who avoid dairy.
Almond milk nutrition
Almond milk has fewer calories than cow’s milk and other plant-based beverages, with only 39 calories per cup (240 ml). It also has a variety of nutrients.
One cup (240 mL) of commercial almond milk has the following nutrients:
- Calories: 39
- Fat: 3 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 3.5 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 grams
- Calcium: 24% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
- Vitamin D: 18% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 110% of the DV
Almond milk is a great source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps protect your body from free radical damage.
Some kinds contain calcium and vitamin D, which are essential elements for bone health. These nutrients are not found in homemade versions.
Finally, almond milk is low in protein, with 1 gramme in 1 cup (240 ml).
Summary Almond milk is naturally abundant in vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights disease. It is frequently supplemented with calcium and vitamin D during processing. It is not, however, a good source of protein.
Health benefits of almond milk
Almond milk may provide some health benefits.
High in vitamin E
Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect your cells from free radical damage.
Vitamin E enhances eye and skin health and may help prevent against illnesses such as heart disease.
One cup (240 mL) of commercial almond milk has 110% of the DV for vitamin E, making it a simple and inexpensive method to meet your daily requirements.
Unsweetened varieties are low in sugar
The majority of Americans consume far too much added sugar in the form of desserts, drinks, and sweeteners. Choosing naturally low-sugar foods and beverages can thus help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.
Many plant-based milks are sweetened and flavoured. In fact, 1 cup (240 mL) of chocolate-flavored almond milk can contain up to 21 grammes of added sugar — the equivalent of more than 5 teaspoons.
If you’re attempting to cut back on sugar, unsweetened almond milk is a terrific option. It’s naturally low in sugar, with only 2 grammes per cup (240 ml).
Summary Unsweetened almond milk is naturally low in sugar and high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that fights disease. Sweetened almond milk, on the other hand, can be high in sugar.
While almond milk has numerous advantages, there are a few drawbacks to consider.
Almond milk contains only one gramme of protein per cup (240 mL), but cow’s and soy milk contain eight and seven grammes, respectively.
Protein is required for various body activities, including muscular growth, skin and bone construction, and the generation of enzymes and hormones.
Many dairy-free and plant-based meals, such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and hemp seeds, are high in protein.
If you don’t mind eating animal products, eggs, fish, poultry, and cattle are all good sources of protein.
Unsuitable for infants
Cow’s or plant-based milks should not be consumed by children under the age of one year because they can inhibit iron absorption. Breastfeed or use infant formula solely until the child is 4-6 months old, at which point solid food can be introduced.
Offer water as a nutritious beverage option in addition to breast milk or formula at 6 months of age. Cow’s milk can be given to your infant’s diet after the age of one.
Plant-based drinks, with the exception of soy milk, are inherently low in protein, fat, calories, and numerous vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin D, and calcium. These nutrients are required for proper growth and development.
Per cup, almond milk contains only 39 calories, 3 grammes of fat, and 1 gramme of protein (240 ml). This is insufficient for a growing infant.
If you don’t want your infant to ingest cow’s milk, breastfeed instead or see your doctor about the best nondairy formula.
May contain additives
Many additives can be found in processed almond milk, including sugar, salt, gums, flavours, and lecithin and carrageenan (types of emulsifiers).
Texture and consistency are achieved by the use of substances such as emulsifiers and gums. They are harmless unless ingested in extremely large quantities.
Nonetheless, one test-tube study discovered that carrageenan, which is routinely used as an emulsifier in almond milk and is considered harmless, may upset intestinal health. However, more thorough investigation is required before any conclusions can be reached.
Despite this, many businesses avoid using this addition entirely due to these issues.
Furthermore, many flavoured and sweetened almond milks include a lot of sugar. Too much sugar can increase your chances of gaining weight, developing tooth cavities, and developing other chronic illnesses.
Choose unsweetened and unflavoured almond milk to avoid this.
Summary Almond milk is a poor supply of protein, fat, and minerals essential for a baby's growth and development. Furthermore, many processed types include chemicals such as sugar, salt, flavours, gums, and carrageenan.
How to choose the best almond milk
A range of almond milks are available at most local grocery stores.
When selecting a product, seek for an unsweetened option. If additional gums or emulsifiers are an issue for you, you can choose a type without them.
Finally, if you have a restricted diet, such as veganism or vegetarianism, and are concerned about your nutrient intake, choose calcium and vitamin D fortified almond milk.
These nutrients may be lacking in homemade and some local options.
Summary Choose almond milk that is unsweetened, unflavoured, and fortified with calcium and vitamin D to get the maximum advantages.
How to make your own almond milk
Use this simple recipe to produce your own almond milk.
- 2 cups soaked almonds (280 g)
- 1 litre of water (4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 mL) (optional)
Before using, soak the almonds in water overnight and drain. In a blender, combine the almonds, water, and vanilla extract and mix for 1-2 minutes, or until the water is murky and the almonds are finely pulverised.
Pour the mixture through a mesh sieve over a basin coated with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. Make sure to press down as much as possible to extract as much liquid as feasible. You should end up with about 4 cups (1 litre) of almond milk.
Place the liquid in a serving container and refrigerate it for 4-5 days.
Summary In a blender, combine soaked almonds, water, and vanilla essence to produce your own almond milk. Using a cheesecloth and mesh strainer, strain the mixture. Keep the remaining liquid in the fridge for 4-5 days.
The bottom line
Almond milk is a fantastic plant-based alternative for individuals who reject cow’s milk.
Unsweetened versions are naturally low in calories and sugar, but high in vitamin E.
However, almond milk is low in protein and sweetened varieties can be high in sugar.
If you prefer almond milk, choose unsweetened and unflavored varieties and supplement your diet with other protein-rich foods such as eggs, beans, almonds, seeds, fish, and poultry.