Have you noticed that organic, plant based beverages have been flooding the shelves of supermarkets? This should be of no surprise if we stop to consider all of the nutritional benefits they offer and the low environmental impact of it’s production. Almond milk has become one of the most popular alternatives to dairy milk, and it's no longer a product only consumed by vegans and vegetarians.
It’s easy to see that the search for a healthier and more holistic lifestyle is not just a mere trend. Tendencies are shifting towards creating permanent and positive lifestyle changes. People seeking healthier habits see the benefits of this plant-based alternative. Almond milk is low in sugar and fat and it doesn’t have lactose or gluten, which makes it ideal for coeliacs or those who are lactose intolerant. Have we sparked your interest? Keep reading to learn all about almond milk.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Key Facts
- 3 The best almond milk products
- 4 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about almond milk
- 4.1 What is almond milk exactly?
- 4.2 What are health benefits related to drinking almond milk?
- 4.3 What minerals and vitamins can be found in almond milk?
- 4.4 Are all almond milk products healthy?
- 4.5 Can almond milk fully substitute dairy milk?
- 4.6 When is it recommended to use almond milk?
- 4.7 How does almond milk support weight loss?
- 4.8 What is the difference between almond milk and other plant-based milks?
- 4.9 Can diabetics have almond milk?
- 5 Shopping Criteria
- 6 Summary
- Almond milk is made by blending soaked almonds with an equal part water. The result is then filtered to separate the “milk” from the pulp. Almond milk can be used as a substitute for dairy milk in any meal such as cereal, smoothies or milkshakes — it can even be used in baking recipes and while cooking.
- Since it is a plant based product, the fat and caloric content is around 65-85% lower than that of dairy milk. Beneficial characteristics such as these, make almond milk an ideal alternative to include in a weight loss regime. Furthermore, almond milk helps improve HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Almond milk does not contain lactose or gluten — making it a great option for people with intolerances to these foods. This vegetable drink also helps improve digestion, and it provides high levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E (natural antioxidant) and B vitamins.
The best almond milk products
Even though almond milk has the reputation of being a healthy and nutritious drink; not all recipes offer the same nutritional value. Don’t forget that advertising can often be misleading, which can make it hard to know which option is really the healthiest one. For this reason, we’ve done some of the research for you. The next is a curated ranking of the very best almond milk products available.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about almond milk
Almond milk is a nutritious, low-calorie drink that has become very popular around the world. It is among the most highly recommended nutritional superfoods on the market. The trend setters advocating the use of almond milk, are people looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
Nonetheless, in order to ensure you get a top quality product that preserves all the benefits and nutrients this vegetable drink has to offer, you should have an understanding of its main characteristics. To help you out, in this section we take a closer look at all the most important things to know about almond milk.
What is almond milk exactly?
Because almond milk offers a great source of nutrients, with low calories, sugar and fat content, it’s become a great alternative to traditional dairy milk. These products shouldn’t contain many additives or added sugars. As mentioned before the natural product, has no lactose or gluten, making it a suitable option for people who are allergic or intolerant to these foods.
Each almond milk product will have its own specific nutritional profile. Often, they contain added nutrients such as calcium, riboflavin, vitamin E and vitamin D, which are meant to boost their nutritional content. All the small changes to the basic recipe will dictate the quality of the product.
- It is made 100% from almonds. The basic recipe does not contain preservatives, additives or added sugars.
- It's low in calories. Almond milk contains 65-80% fewer calories than dairy milk (including skimmed or semi-skimmed milk).
- Supports cardiovascular health. Almond milk improves HDL (good) cholesterol and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Supports healthy digestion. The high percentage of fibre and antioxidants in almond milk protects the walls of the intestines, which in turn helps improve digestion.
What minerals and vitamins can be found in almond milk?
As for vitamins, almond milk usually contains high levels of vitamins D, A and E (a natural antioxidant) and some group B vitamins. Almond milk is also rich in vitamin B2, which is essential for strengthening hair and nails. The table below illustrates the normal nutritional composition of 100 millilitres of almond milk:
|Minerals||Quantity (mls)||Recommended Daily Dose (%)|
Are all almond milk products healthy?
This is the best way to make sure the product you take home has the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. Reading nutritional labels is the only way to make sure the product doesn’t contain any harmful additives that may counteract all the positive benefits of this natural drink.
This are some things to keep in mind:
- Be cautions about misleading or false advertising. For example, some brands of almond milk, despite displaying the label "gluten-free," warn in fine print that the drink may in fact contain traces of soy or other foods. This means that it may also contain gluten in low doses.
- Nothing is excess is good. For example, if consumed in too large quantities, almond milk can have a negative impact on the thyroid, especially in people who have a pre-existing condition.
- The nutritional quality of each product will depend on the recipe. For example, some brands of almond milk have added sugars, which can reverse the benefits of consuming almond milk, particularly for those trying to lose weight.
Can almond milk fully substitute dairy milk?
This is all without mentioning that its production can have a much lower environmental impact than the production of dairy milk. Nonetheless you should keep in mind that it is still recommended that children 3 years old or younger, still drink cow's milk or breast milk, as these alternatives have a higher content of the fat growing bodies require to develop properly.
When is it recommended to use almond milk?
For instance, you could have almond milk for breakfast, served with tea or in a smoothie. Also, almond milk has a high water content, which means including it in your daily diet will help you stay hydrated by enabling you to reach the 2 litre daily water intake recommended by healthcare professionals.
How does almond milk support weight loss?
Almond milk is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that supports the proper functioning of the heart and other organs. These fats support an efficient metabolic process, which is vital to weight loss. Last but not least, almonds contain high levels of antioxidants, which are essential during fat burn.
What is the difference between almond milk and other plant-based milks?
The only similarity between these alternatives is that they are made from diluting and blending different nuts, cereals, legumes or seed extracts with water. Most of these drinks do not reach the nutritional level of dairy milk, but they still have other properties that are very beneficial to our health.
The nutritional information of each of these drinks will depend on the base vegetable material and the minerals or vitamins the drink retains after processing. A general nutritional breakdown of each type of milk is outlined in the table below.
|Values per 100 ml||Whole Cow's Milk||Almond Milk||Oat Milk||Soy Milk||Rice Milk|
Can diabetics have almond milk?
However, someone with diabetes should make sure to consume only almond milk that contains no added sugars or any other preservatives or additives as this could cause blood sugar levels to spike.
As you may have learned throughout this guide, there are some important things to keep in mind when buying almond milk products. Even though most of these drinks are made without gluten and lactose, and are meant to be low in calories; we recommend staying away from products that contain added sugars and preservatives.
Keeping the following purchase criteria in mind can help you choose the right almond milk product at the time of purchase:
- Nutritional Composition
- Presence of gluten and lactose
- Presence of added sugars or additives
- Presence of allergens
- Origin of ingredients
Almond milk should not contain more than 50 calories per 100 ml. In addition, if you’re looking to replace dairy milk with almond milk, you should look for products that have been enriched with vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, it’s important to make sure the product you choose has low levels of saturated fat, since this factor will help maintain proper digestion and also allow you the opportunity of losing weight.
Presence of gluten and lactose
Lactose and gluten is absent from the base recipe of almond milk, but some brands warn that the product may be exposed to or contain traces of ingredients that have gluten — like soybeans and peanuts, among others. Coeliacs and people with an intolerance to lactose should pay particular attention to this information.
Presence of added sugars or additives
Almond milk is naturally low in sugar however some brands sweeten the drink to improve its flavour. This completely breaks the nutritional composition of almond milk and should be avoided at all costs. Particularly if you are looking to lose weight and improve metabolic action.
Presence of allergens
As with gluten and lactose, some types of almond milk may contain allergens such as peanuts or soybeans. Those who suffer from food allergies of any kind should read the nutritional label of the product carefully to avoid any complications and negative interactions.
Origin of ingredients
Most brands of almond milk contain 100% natural ingredients, which is why almond milk suits those who wish to have a diet that relies on natural foods.
However, it is important to read the nutrition label carefully to ensure that the product you buy does not contain additives or preservatives that may not be entirely natural or beneficial.
Almond milk is a drink with a rich nutritional composition and numerous health benefits. In almost all cases it can replace dairy milk and its low calorie, sugar and fat content makes it an ideal drink for weight management. Moreover, this milk can also help regulate blood cholesterol levels and improve digestion.
Furthermore, almond milk is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium as well high in vitamins A, E, D and the B group. These factors contribute to improved cardiovascular health, a healthy immune system and preventing gastrointestinal complications. Keep in mind that almond milk should be made without gluten or lactose.
Which means it is a great alternative for coeliacs and those who are lactose intolerant. Nonetheless, it is always necessary to pay close attention to the list of ingredients and disclaimers of each product, since they may include low doses of added sugars and unhealthy additives to their recipe.
If you found the information in this guide useful, don’t hesitate to share it with your loved ones, so they too can reap the benefits of incorporating almond milk into their diet.
(Source of featured image: Anawat Sudchanham: 50307518/ 123rf.com)