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Almond Milk: 11 Surprising Health Benefits + How To Make (Includes Your Favorite Recipe!)

Reviewed By Registered Dietician Mollie Meldahl, RD, LD, CPT
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Almond Milk: 11 Surprising Health Benefits + How To Make (Includes Your Favorite Recipe!) November 15, 2018

What if you can eat ice cream and not gain weight? Sounds like a dream? Well, if it’s almond milk – it sure can be true. The most popular plant milk in the US, almond milk is quite unique. Unlike other forms of milk, you get this one from a plant. And it is unbelievably low in calories. There’s a lot more. But you need to keep reading to know!

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Why Almond Milk?

Why should you even consider it? You have been consuming cow milk all these years. So, why change?

Almond milk is low in calories. One cup contains about 30 to 60 calories, while the same amount of cow milk has about 150 calories.

While a cup of almond milk has just 1 gram of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fat, cow milk has about 12 grams of carbohydrates (most of which comes from sugar) and 8 grams of fat.

Except for the protein content (cow milk has 8 grams while almond milk has just 1 gram), almond milk fares better than cow milk.

Almond milk is made by blending almonds with water. Then, the liquids are strained to remove the solids. It has a pleasant taste and is naturally lactose-free. It is a great choice for vegans and individuals intolerant to dairy.

And though almonds are relatively high in calories, almond milk is made of skinless almonds that are blanched and later strained – which is why it is low in calories.

And not just that, there are other ways almond milk can benefit you.

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What Are The Benefits Of Almond Milk?

1. Helps Lower Blood Sugar

Unsweetened almond milk, that is. Most of the almond milk in the market is loaded with sugar. So, check the ingredients list before you make a purchase and make sure you opt for an unsweetened almond milk.

Unsweetened almond milk contains just 1.5 grams of sugar per cup. It also has high fat and protein content in relation to the carbs, which is why it doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels. This is one reason almond milk can be perfect for people who have diabetes.

2. Protects Bones

This is especially true with fortified almond milk, which contains good amounts of calcium. One cup of commercial almond milk contains close to 50% of the RDA of calcium. This can be a boon for vegans who don’t consume dairy products and are at a higher risk of calcium deficiency.

Adequate calcium intake cuts down the risk of fractures and other bone diseases like osteoporosis (1).

In addition to calcium, almond milk also offers good amounts of vitamin D – another important nutrient that cuts the risk of arthritis and other bone diseases (2). Calcium and vitamin D also work together to maintain teeth health.

3. Promotes Heart Health

Promotes Heart Health Pinit

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Almond milk contains no cholesterol or saturated fat. The milk is also a good source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can lower bad cholesterol and reduce inflammation. Just ensure you have the unsweetened version of the milk.

The vitamin E in the milk also plays a role in heart health. And the healthy fats in the milk prevent high blood pressure – another primary contributor to heart disease.

4. May Help Fight Cancer

Studies are being conducted in this aspect. But preliminary research suggests that replacing cow milk with almond milk can suppress prostate cancer and prevent a few other forms of cancer.

There also is some controversy hovering around this topic. Some studies have cited that carrageenan, an ingredient found in almond milk tetra packs, might cause cancer and intestinal damage.

But there is nothing to worry as there are two types of carrageenan – degraded and undegraded. Degraded carrageenan might cause cancer, and it was the same type tested in the study (3).

However, almond milk tetra packs (which are also regulated by the FDA) contain the undegraded carrageenan, which is completely safe in normal amounts that we humans consume.

5. Boosts Your Immunity

Fortified with vitamins A, D, and E, almond milk can boost your immunity. Some forms of almond milk are also rich in added iron and B vitamins, which further promote immune health.

6. Can Promote Your Digestive Health

Thanks to the alkaline composition of almond milk, you can now kiss acid reflux and heartburn goodbye. The milk neutralizes your stomach and relieves symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn.

And since the milk is lactose-free, it doesn’t cause any digestive issues that lactose-intolerant individuals usually face.

7. Can Boost Eye Health

The vitamin E in almond milk can boost your eye health as well. Research shows how this antioxidant fights oxidative stress and prevents severe eye ailments – including cataracts and macular degeneration (4).

8. Aids Restful Sleep

 Aids Restful Sleep Pinit

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The calcium in almond milk helps the brain produce melatonin, the sleep hormone. Warm almond milk works even better – it can help you relax and slowly drift into a peaceful slumber (5).

9. Almond Milk May Aid Weight Loss

As almond milk is not an animal product, it has no cholesterol and has fewer calories. Because of this, it can be considered an ideal weight loss food. Though it may not directly contribute to weight loss, it is one food you can have without having to worry about weight gain.

10. May Help Treat Acne

The monounsaturated fatty acids in almond milk can reduce breakouts in people prone to acne.

The milk contains flavonoids like catechin, epicatechin, and kaempferol – all of which prevent skin cells from getting oxidized.

The vitamin E in the milk plays a major role in skin health. It keeps your skin glowing and even protects it from the harmful UV radiation.

Consuming almond milk every day can help in this regard. You can also wash your face with the milk.

11. Can Boost Hair Health

The fatty acids in almond milk can condition and soften your hair. And the vitamin E in the milk, being an antioxidant, can fight free radical damage and help curb hair loss. In addition to taking almond milk every day, you can also wash your hair with it twice to thrice a week.

Now you know why almond milk is worth a try, don’t you? Apart from what we discussed, the milk contains certain other important nutrients as well.

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What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Almond Milk?

Calorie Information
**Unsweetened Almond Milk
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calories30.0(126 kJ)2%
From Carbohydrate1.0(4.2 kJ)
From Fat25.0(105 kJ)
From Protein4.0(16.7 kJ)
From Alcohol~(0.0 kJ)
Carbohydrates
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Carbohydrate1.0 g0%
Dietary Fiber1.0 g4%
Starch~
Sugars0.0 g
Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Fat2.0 g3%
Saturated Fat0.0 g0%
Monounsaturated Fat~
Polyunsaturated Fat~
Total trans fatty acids0.0 g
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids~
Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids~
Total Omega-3 fatty acids~
Total Omega-6 fatty acids~
Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Protein1.0 g2%
Vitamins
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A~~
Vitamin C~~
Vitamin D~~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)3.0 mg15%
Vitamin K~~
Thiamin0.0 mg1%
Riboflavin0.0 mg2%
Niacin0.2 mg1%
Vitamin B60.0 mg0%
Folate2.0 mcg2%
Vitamin B12~~
Pantothenic Acid~~
Choline~
Betaine~
Minerals
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calcium55.7 mg6%
Iron0.5 mg3%
Magnesium16.0 mg4%
Phosphorus20.0 mg2%
Potassium35.0 mg1%
Sodium180 mg8%
Zinc0.2 mg1%
Copper0.0 mg2%
Manganese0.1 mg6%
Selenium~~
Fluoride~

As we discussed, most of the almond milk you get in the market is sweetened. So, you need to be careful before you buy it. Or even better, how about making your own almond milk at home?

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How To Make Almond Milk At Home

It’s quite easy. You need a blender, water, and a cup of almonds. That’s it.

  1. Peel the skin off the almonds. You can do this by soaking them in water overnight. Soaking softens the skin, and you can peel it off when you rinse the almonds.
  2. Add the almonds to the blender, along with four cups of water. Blend until you obtain a smooth mixture.
  3. Remove the solids by straining the mixture through a cheesecloth.

You can store the milk in your refrigerator. Ensure you use it within a week to 10 days.

And yes, remember we were talking about the ice cream before?

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Any Almond Milk Recipes?

1. Almond Milk Ice Cream

What You Need
  • 4 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of powdered erythritol
  • A pinch of salt
  • Liquid stevia
Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk the almond milk and the erythritol.
  2. Stir until the milk starts to steam. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk. Let it cool to room temperature.
  4. Pour the mixture into a container and freeze until it turns solid.
  5. Defrost the ice cream for about 10 minutes. Scoop to serve.

2. Almond Milk Iced Coffee

What You Need
  • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup of ice
  • ½ cup of coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a tall glass.
  2. Stir with a long spoon.
  3. Serve and enjoy.

All great. But there are a few more things you must be aware of. Certain individuals may also experience these side effects of almond milk.

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Conclusion

When it comes with certain benefits cow milk doesn’t have, why not give almond milk a try? Share your experiences and feedback in the comments section.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What are the best non-dairy substitutes for almond milk?

Coconut milk, oat milk, and rice milk.

What age can babies drink almond milk?

Post 6 months. Until then, they must only drink breast milk or formula.

Is almond milk paleo?

Yes, it is paleo as it is low in carbs.

Can I use almond milk for cooking?

Yes. It can be especially handy for baking.

References

1. “Bone health: osteoporosis, calcium and vitamin D”. US National Library of Medicine.
2. “Strong bones during and after cancer treatment”. New York State Department of Health.
3. “Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of…”. US National Library of Medicine.
4. “Vitamin E and vision”. WebMD.
5. “Natural sleep solutions”. WebMD.

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