Almond Milk Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits
Made by blending almonds with water, this lactose-free liquid boasts a light, refreshing texture, and a subtle almond flavor. But its appeal goes beyond taste.
Almond milk is vegan-friendly, naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and packs a punch of vitamin E, an antioxidant powerhouse. For those with dairy allergies or sensitivities, almond milk offers a safe and delicious alternative. Let's learn more about how almond milk adds a healthy twist to your diet.
Almond Milk Nutritional Profile
Almond milk is a type of milk produced from almonds and is a popular alternative to dairy milk for people with lactose intolerant, vegan, or any other dietary restrictions. It is considered low in calories and fat and is also a good source of vitamin E and calcium.
An 8 ounce (1 cup) serving of unsweetened almond milk contains:
- Calories: 40
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 0 grams
On the other hand, a 1-cup serving of sweetened almond milk contains:
- Calories: 73
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 10.5 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 10 grams
One cup (240ml) of unsweetened almond milk contains around 1-3 grams of total carbohydrates. It is lower compared to cow's milk, with 12 grams of carbs per cup. Most carbs found are dietary fiber, which is beneficial for gut health and doesn't count towards net carbs.
Also, sweetened almond milk has added sugars increasing the carb content to 5-10 grams per cup.
A typical cup only contains around 1 gram of protein, which amounts to just 2% of the daily recommended value. This is significantly lower compared to cow's milk or soy milk.
If you still prefer the taste of unsweetened almond milk, consider incorporating it into your diet alongside protein-rich foods like nuts, seeds, tofu, or beans to meet your daily protein needs.
There are 2-3 grams of fat in almond milk where each fat provides almost 9 calories. It contains saturated and unsaturated fats and also trans fats. Unsaturated fats cover almost 90% of the total fat whereas 8% is covered with saturated ones.
These unsaturated types can help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke whereas saturated ones are considered bad fats thus increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Vitamins And Minerals
Almond milk is naturally rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. One cup of unsweetened almond milk provides about 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E.
Some of the vitamins and minerals found in an almond milk are:
- Vitamin E, D, and A
Calories In Almond Milk
One serving of unsweetened almond milk delivers approximately 40 calories but the numbers vary based on the brand, flavor, and whether it's sweetened or not.
The sweetened ones contain added sugars which will lead to an increase in the calories and carbs present in them. For a single cup of almond milk, the calorie content in several types of almond milk includes:
- Sweetened almond milk: 93 calories, 16g carbohydrate
- Vanilla almond milk: 80 calories, 14g carbohydrate
- Unsweetened vanilla almond milk: 30 calories, 1g carbohydrate
- Unsweetened chocolate almond milk: 51 calories, 3g carbohydrate
- Sweetened chocolate almond milk: 123 calories, 23g carbohydrate
Almond Milk Health Benefits
Almond milk provides a valuable alternative for individuals with lactose intolerance, vegans, or those seeking a lower-calorie or fat-reduced milk option. Including almond milk in a healthy and balanced diet has its upsides which are discussed below:
Rich In Antioxidants
Almond milk naturally contains vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. One cup of unsweetened almond milk provides about 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin E.
It also contains other antioxidants like polyphenols, but the processing involved in making almond milk reduces their levels significantly.
Great Option For Lactose Intolerance
Lactose intolerance results from the body's inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in dairy products. Since almond milk is derived from almonds, it naturally contains no lactose, making it safe for consumption by individuals with this condition.
Almond milk allows them to enjoy a milk-like beverage without experiencing these unpleasant side effects as IT offers additional nutrients such as calcium and Vitamin D beneficial for lactose-intolerant individuals.
Improves Bone Health
Bone health is tied to calcium as the minerals make up most hard bone structures and getting enough calcium helps to have your bones strong and fights osteoporosis.
One cup of fortified almond milk can provide 30-45% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium, depending on the brand. Many brands of almond milk are fortified with calcium, a mineral crucial for building and maintaining strong bones.
May Boost Heart Health
Unlike whole cow's milk, almond milk is naturally low in saturated fat, which can contribute to elevated cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.
These fats can help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol, contributing to a healthier lipid profile. Replacing dairy milk with unsweetened almond milk can help reduce saturated fat intake, potentially benefiting heart health.
Controls Blood Sugar
Almond milk generally has a low glycemic index (GI), indicating a slower and more gradual rise in blood sugar compared to high-GI foods.
Unsweetened almond milk typically contains very few carbohydrates and low added sugars, often around 1 gram per cup, compared to the 12 grams in cow's milk thus minimizing the influence on blood sugar spikes.
Allergies Concerned With Almond Milk
Individuals with tree nut allergies, including almonds, should avoid consuming almond milk and other nut-based alternatives like cashew milk due to the risk of allergic reactions. Those allergic to almonds or other tree nuts such as cashews, walnuts, and pistachios are most susceptible to reacting to almond milk.
Additionally, individuals with birch pollen allergies may experience cross-reactivity with almonds, potentially resulting in mild reactions when consuming almond milk. Therefore, it's crucial for those with nut allergies to carefully read labels and avoid products that may trigger allergic responses.
Almond Milk Adverse Effects
Almond milk, often seen as a healthy dairy alternative, has potential drawbacks. Allergic reactions, especially for those with nut allergies or lactose intolerance, are concerns. It lacks the protein content found in dairy milk and might have limited fortification.
Added sugars and various additives, such as sweeteners, flavors, calcium carbonate, potassium citrate, and sunflower lecithin, are common. While additives can enhance taste and texture, consumers should scrutinize nutrition labels for transparency and make informed choices regarding almond milk consumption, considering potential allergens and nutritional aspects.
Varieties Of Almond Milk
The world of almond milk has expanded way beyond the original unsweetened version. Here are some exciting varieties you can find:
The classic choice is perfect for those watching their sugar intake or using it in savory dishes. It has a naturally nutty flavor and about 30-35 calories per cup.
Available in various flavors like vanilla, chocolate, and even strawberry, these cater to those who prefer a sweeter drink. However, be mindful of added sugar content, ranging from 70-90 calories per cup or more.
Flavored Almond Milk
Flavored almond milk contains vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, banana, coffee, matcha, and other flavors. Vanilla is a popular choice, offering a subtle sweetness and creamy texture. Perfect for cereal, smoothies, or enjoying on its own.
Fortified Almond Milk
Boosts your calcium intake, which is important for bone health. Especially beneficial for those avoiding dairy or needing extra calcium with calcium-fortified milk. You can also opt to search for vitamin D-fortified milk if you want to enhance your vitamin D intake necessary for immune function and bone health.
Storage And Food Safety
Some brands of almond milk need to be refrigerated from the time of purchase whereas shelf-stable varieties do not require refrigeration until after they are opened.
The best way to store almond milk is in the refrigerator until its best-to-use date. If you freeze the almond milk, unwanted ingredient separation might occur. Maintain consistent refrigeration at 40°F (4°C) or below. Do not let almond milk sit out at room temperature for extended periods.
How To Prepare Almond Milk
Making your almond milk can be a fun and cost-effective way to control the ingredients and freshness. Here's a basic step-by-step guide on how to prepare it:
- Step 1: Drain and rinse the soaked almonds. Discard the soaking water.
- Step 2: Add the almonds and water to your blender.
- Step 3: Blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth and creamy. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides of the blender once or twice.
- Step 4: Strain the almond milk through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag placed over a bowl. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Step 5: Transfer the almond milk to a container.
- Step 6: Add any optional ingredients: salt, sweetener, or vanilla extract. Stir well.
- Step 7: Refrigerate for up to 3-5 days.
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