Almond Milk Benefits
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.
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3. Unsweetened almond milk doesn’t raise blood sugar
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Unsweetened almond milk may be suitable for people with diabetes.
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.
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):
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.