Almond milk is the most popular plant-based milk in North America. While some folks drink it due to a dairy allergy (i.e., casein allergy) or sensitivity (i.e., lactose intolerance), others choose it because they wish to consume less animal-derived products (i.e., vegans and vegetarians). Almond milk is crafted by blending blanched almonds with water. This mixture is strained and all plant solids are extracted for a creamy, protein-rich, frothy alternative milk blend. I personally like almond milk because it has a close texture to cow’s milk as well as subtly pleasing nutty flavor. You can buy almond milk at almost any grocer in sweetened, unsweet, vanilla, and chocolate almond milk varieties, which are typically fortified with calcium and other vitamins (i.e., B12, vitamin D and E, selenium, protein, etc.).
Keep in mind that while almond milk has plenty of benefits, it doesn’t contain adequate nutrition to be a milk replacement for infants. If you believe your baby has a milk allergy or intolerance, speak to your family physician about suitable replacements. Otherwise, here are the benefits of enjoying dairy free almond milk:
1. It’s animal free
For vegans and vegetarians, almond milk is a bone beverage because it contains absolutely no traces of animal milk (no goat, no sheep, no cow). Like soy and cashew milks, it’s a great plant-based alternative for animal activists, as well as those who may be allergic (i.e., casein) or intolerant to animal dairy (i.e., lactose) and the painful symptoms associated with both:
- For lactose intolerant symptoms include gas, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea.
- For milk allergies symptoms including hives, inflammation, restricted airways, swelling the lips, tongue, and throat, and anaphylactic shock may result.
Regular and organic almond milk contains zero animal dairy at all, making it a safe and environmentally-conscious alternative.
2. Boosts cardiovascular health
Aside from plant-based oils and nuts, almond milk is a rich source of heart-healthy fats (i.e., vitamin E). For instance, a National Institutes of Health study looked at the benefits of nut based milk and raw nut consumption in women between the ages of 34- to 59-years old with no history of heart disease Findings showed that regular nut milk and nut consumption was linked to significantly lowering the risk of myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease because it’s tied to reducing triglycerides by 14% and LDL “bad” LDL cholesterol by approximately 6%.
3. Strengthen bones
Most cow dairy milks come enriched with some calcium. However, so does almond milk. That means you’re not missing out on your daily contribution of calcium by gulping down a glass of plant-based milk vs. animal milk. Almonds alone are an excellent source of calcium. However, eating a bag of almonds in one sitting is a ton of calories. However, a single cup of almond milk serves up about 50% of the recommended daily amount of calcium, and lowers the overall risk of osteoporosis, particularly in older women, and associated sprains, strains, and bone fractures.
4. Low in carbs and calories
When it comes down to pure numbers, almond milk is lower in calories compared to cow’s milk (at 35 vs. 70 calories per cup). If you struggle with your weight or type 2 diabetes, you must keep an eye on not only calories but also carbohydrates. Sugar free almond milk and sugar free vanilla almond milk both clock in at a mere 0.6% carbohydrates per cup compared to 5% in an equal serving of skimmed cow’s milk. This means there’s no boost in blood sugar levels when consuming unsweet almond milk because added levels of protein and fat make up for carbohydrate loss. This also makes unsweetened almond milk a good choice if you’re trying to lose a bit of weight. What are you waiting for, look for an almond milk coupon from your local grocer, and try some today!