Health Benefits of Almond Milk
Is almond milk a healthy dairy substitute?
Almond milk has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years, viewed as a healthy alternative to dairy products, and is now found in stores nation and worldwide, offering a number of advantages over cow milk, and a variety of flavors to suit all sorts of tastes.
Almond milk is made by grinding up almonds, mixing with water, and straining out any particulate matter, a process largely the same as any other milk alternative product, producing a deliciously creamy drink that most people prefer to other drinks such as soy or rice milk.
It also happens to be vegetarian and vegan, and thus cruelty free, and can be made naturally and without the use of genetically modified (GMO) foods, and thus has been earning some fans for those reasons as well.
So, is almond milk a healthy alternative to dairy? And how does it stack up against all the other dairy alternatives currently proliferating in the “not milk” aisle?
Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
Almond Milk vs Dairy, Soy and other alternatives
Credit: NMajikMost manufacturers fortify their products with vitamins to enhance their nutrient profile, but most almond milk found in the supermarket will contain a variety of vitamins, such as B, D, and E, as well as calcium, potassium, iron, and other minerals, making it a healthy alternative to dairy, but without the downsides that go along with cow milk. Almond milk has no cholesterol, lactose, or saturated fats, making it great for those with lactose intolerance or a dairy allergy, or those looking to lose weight.
Weight loss is one of the primary reasons people might switch to almond milk; an 8 ounce glass (240 mL) contains about 40 to 60 calories, depending on the brand and whether it has any added flavors or not. This is comparable to skim milk, or slightly better, and significantly lower than caloric content in the same volume of soy milk, which can be well over 100 calories for the same size.
So almond milk can be a great alternative to dairy, particularly for those looking to lose weight, stay away from animal sources, or those with allergic reactions to dairy products. The nutrient profile is similar to dairy, but with lower cholesterol, fat, calories, and other contents that most people would be happy to avoid.
It can’t quite qualify as a “superfood” type of product, though it certainly has plenty of nutritional benefits (for a nutrient-packed drink that is also all natural, check out the benefits of hemp milk).
Almond Milk Side Effects
What are the risks of drinking almond milk?
Almond milk is not a perfect substance, of course. It can be risky for those with a tree nut allergy to consume almond milk, and it is often processed in facilities that also process other types of products (particularly if the brand provides multiple drinks made of different foods). It’s a good idea to know of any allergies before switching over.
It is also potentially harmful to those with a thyroid problem; almonds are known as a goitrogenic food, and large quantities of these foods (which include soy, broccoli, cabbage, kale, flax, and of course almonds), can be harmful to those with thyroid problems. This is not to say they are unhealthy; they are in fact nutritious, but should be avoided in that particular situation, or carefully moderated, hopefully with a doctor’s approval.
Almond milk is also not suitable for babies. It does not provide the same level of nutrition as human milk, and has caused problems in children who drink it as a substitute for what nature has intended for them to drink at such a young age. Better to wait until children are well beyond the stage of needing milk or formula before switching.
Almond milk is usually a bit more expensive than dairy, though not prohibitively so.
Enjoy the Benefits of Almond Milk
Or, where can I buy Almond Milk?
Almond milk is available in stores all over the world, though most often found in those leaning toward organic or natural produce, such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or similar establishments. Major brands include Silk or Almond Breeze, though many of the products are fairly similar.
It’s in the “not milk” aisle, among the soy, rice, hazelnut, hemp and coconut beverages that offer plenty of options for fans of not milk. Collect them all!