Is almond milk good for you? Let’s clear this up right at the beginning, absolutely. I personally don’t have any issue with dairy, and I have a small love affair with cheese, and regularly use dairy milk with my cereal. I also happen to love yogurt, especially Greek yogurt and drinkable lassi. But I also like to have choices and alternatives not only for myself, but for the loved ones in my life.
I have tried many of the yogurt alternatives out there, and they are fantastic, and thankfully, that has also been the case for milk alternatives too. For those of you who are lactose intolerant, or are simply looking for a healthier option, or maybe wanting to change up the usual taste of milk, almond milk is one of the best alternative milk options I have found yet!
While I enjoy hemp milk, rice milk, and coconut milk as well, almond milk has ended up being a real favorite of mine both in terms of taste, texture, and its overall health profile. I frequently use it my my cereal, both cold cereal and things like oatmeal, but I love to use it in my smoothies particularly. One thing that I do stress, is that you only buy almond milk, and really all or as much of your food as possible, organic. There is no sense in trying to be “sort of ” healthy when you are trying to make meaningful healthier choices in your diet, and avoiding the pesticides, GMO’s, and other stuff found in traditional food can go a long way to improving your health.
Here are 10 Great Things that Make Almond Milk a Healthy Choice!
1. Plenty of Calcium and Vitamin D.
By drinking just one cup of almond milk, you get at least 30% of the recommended daily value of calcium that you need, awesome. Commercial almond milk is fortified with Vitamin D and gives you about 25% of what you need per day. This is a nutrient most of us don’t get nearly enough of, so I definitely approve this.
I have found that these two nutrients actually work together synergistically to provide you with strong and healthy teeth and bone formation. This is particularly important for the elderly and women who suffer from low calcium intake as they age. Strong bones are integral to a long and healthy life.
2. Vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2).
Just one serving, a cup, has 10% of the vitamin A you need in a day which is a known cancer fighter, and fantastic for your eyes and cardiovascular health. Almond milk is also is a great source of Vitamin E and Riboflavin, also known as Vitamin B2. Vitamin E is great for a number of different things, but one of the things I have found to be personally beneficial is how fantastic it is for the skin, as it helps to protect against UV sun damage and gives your a skin a much healthier feel and appearance!
I have learned over the course of my research that an “essential nutrient” is a vital nutrient that our bodies do not naturally produce, and Riboflavin is one such nutrient. This means we have to get these vitamins through our diets, and almond milk is a great source for this. Vitamin B2, as it’s also known, is what “activates” another important B vitamin, Vitamin B6. This vital nutrient is crucial for our bodies to be able to continually produce and repair the tissue in our eyes, skin, and nervous system.
3. Bio-available (absorptive) forms of Magnesium and Manganese.
As I mentioned earlier, calcium is a nutrient that we all need, and certain groups of folks who need it even more so, like women and the elderly, in a natural and absorptive form. I have come to learn that magnesium is particularly helpful in allowing the calcium naturally found in almonds to be absorbed more efficiently. Thankfully, this nutrient is found naturally alongside calcium in almonds and almond milk. This nutrient has also been found in some studies to improve heart health, which is a huge plus with me.
Manganese is another nutrient found in almonds and almond milk respectively, at around 6% of your daily recommended value per cup. This nutrient is primarily associated with the creation of bone, but it also helps support the integrity of the connective tissue in our bodies as well. All these different nutrients listed above together work holistically to improve the integrity and health of our bones and connective tissues. Not bad for just a single cup of milk!
4. This Stuff is Low in Sodium!
One of the biggest changes I continue to try and improve upon is the reduction of excess salt in my diet. Too much sodium/salt has been found to increase blood pressure and cause all sorts of inflammation in the body, and inflammation is one of the primary sources of ageing and illness in general, including cancer. Most commercial almond milk products have about 150mg of sodium per serving, natural homemade varieties will have even less depending on your preparation of course.
5. It’s Lactose Free
This is an obvious and critical benefit, as many people suffer from lactose intolerance, including those who would drink dairy based milk if they could without issue. Lactose is a natural sugar found in dairy products, and because almonds are obviously plant based, you get to avoid this whole issue entirely.
6. Almond Milk is Low in Calories (a blessing for those of us trying to shed a few pounds!)
The benefits here should be fairly obvious and straightforward. I have found this to be one of my go to reasons for drinking this, even as an alternative to skim milk, which often just tastes like watery milk. This amazing stuff actually has less calories then regular cow’s milk but none of the watery consistency or taste found in skim milk. Almond milk has a nutty, creamy, and rich texture which makes it a viable dairy milk alternative without any of the caloric guilt. So for all you dieters out there who need an alternative to tasteless skim milk or dairy in general, this stuff was made for you!
7. This Milk Has 0% Saturated Fat, but Plenty of the “Good” Fat You Need
One of the things I try to convey to people as much as possible is that not all forms of fat are bad. In fact, poly and monounsaturated fats have been shown to help with weight loss when consumed in moderation. Monounsaturated fats are particularly known for being good at “targeting” belly fat, which is one of the most harmful forms of fat we can can carry around, plus over time, these fats can help lower cholesterol too. About half of the total calories found in almond milk come from this healthy fat, so embrace the “good” fat! (it helps you feel “fuller” too!)
8. Low Carbs = Low Sugar= Low Glycemic Impact
Almond milk is low in carbohydrates. Awesome. Most of this is from what little sugar is in the milk, and the other source of calories is from the small but valuable amount of fiber you get in almond milk. If you make raw almond milk at home, the amount of fiber you get shoots up, and you will feel more satisfied and it will help with digestion.
Being so low in sugar means it’s friendly for diabetics and people who are tying to keep there blood sugar levels relatively stable. But even if you aren’t diabetic, stable blood sugar levels mean you are less likely to experience weight gain or dramatic weight fluctuations. Plus avoiding sugar spikes means you avoid causing any damage to your pancreas and kidneys, an added bonus I would think!
9. Almond Milk is a Healthier and More Viable Alternative to Soy Milk
Yes, the FDA has talked up the health benefits of soy and soy based products, but they also have supported GMO’s, nasty pesticides, and other things that aren’t necessarily that great for everyone’s health, so I think a little research was in order, and being an informed consumer is the best defense we all have against phony health products that do more harm then good. Kaayla T. Daniel, who is the author of “The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food”, has found it to be not so healthy either, just for the simple fact that it is loaded with sugar.
But in my experience, I have found other reasons soy milk is not what people should be drinking, which has been validated by research done by others, and by simply informing myself on how soy is produced in the U.S. and around the world in many other countries. Not only does soy act as a form of estrogen in our bodies, which can overtime wreak havoc on our endocrine system, but most soy is genetically modified. GMO’s have been shown to not only be bad for the environment, but also for human health as GMO’s are heavily sprayed with pesticides and have also been shown to literally change how our organs work at a DNA level. More then 90% of soy consumed in the U.S. is genetically modified, so stay away from this stuff, it just isn’t worth it!
10. You Can Make Your Own!
Some folks may not have access to an unlimited supply of almond milk, or at least organic almond milk, which is the only kind you should buy. While others may simply prefer to have the much more nutrient dense, and raw form of almond milk which is higher in most of the nutrients listed earlier, especially fiber. All you essentially need is a high powered blender, water, and almonds, in addition to some type of strainer with small fine holes. You soak the almonds in water for about 8-12 hours, blend them with filtered water in your blender, then strain the blended almonds through a strainer. The milk you make can be stores for about 4-7 days, and is delicious!
So there you have it folks! Almond milk has tons of vital nutrients and minerals, low sodium, no lactose for your lactose intolerant folks out there, no bad fat, and a dose of the good fat, low carbs and low sugar, and best of all, you can even make your own (which is even healthier then the store bought stuff!) if you can’t find any of the organic prepackaged stuff! So Drink up!