What is almond milk?
Almond milk is a liquid made from blended almonds. The almonds are soaked overnight in water to soften them before being blended and strained to make a ‘milk’ alternative. Salt and/or sweeteners, such as honey, may be added. Commercial almond milks tend to have a lower nut content and more water, additives such as emulsifiers may be used and the product may be fortified with vitamins and minerals.
Nutritional benefits of almond milk
A 100ml serving of fortified almond milk typically contains:
- 4g protein
- 1g fat
- 1g carbohydrates
- 4 fibre
- 120mg calcium
- 4mcg vitamin B12
- 75mcg vitamin D
What are the top 5 health benefits of almond milk?
1. Dairy-free and vegan
Almond milk is a plant-based drink and is dairy-free, making it a suitable option for those with a cow’s milk allergy or for those following a vegan diet.
2. Naturally lactose-free
Lactose intolerance is a condition whereby someone is unable to digest the sugar naturally found in animal milks, called lactose. Almonds are naturally lactose-free making almond milk a suitable alternative for someone with this condition.
3. Low in calories
When compared with other ‘milks’, almond milk provides one of the least amounts of calories, with levels varying from 30 to 55 kcal per 100ml. This makes it a useful option for those counting calories.
4. May be a useful source of calcium
For those following a plant-based or vegan diet, fortified almond milk makes a useful contribution towards calcium intake. Commercial products which are fortified, typically provide around 120mg of calcium per 100ml, which is comparable to cow’s milk. The recommended adult daily allowance for this mineral is 700mg. Homemade almond milk is not a good source of this mineral.
5. May be a source of vitamins
Almonds are a good source of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant helping to maintain healthy skin and eyes, as well as supporting the immune system. Some commercial brands are fortified with additional vitamins, including vitamin D, which is needed to help regulate calcium in the body. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-derived foods so most fortified plant ‘milks’ have added vitamin B12, which is important for keeping the nervous system healthy.
Is almond milk suitable for everyone?
Most people are able to enjoy almond milk, however, there are some considerations:
- Almond milk is not suitable for those with a tree nut allergy, and should be avoided if you have one.
- From the age of one, and as part of a balanced and varied diet, your child may drink unsweetened, calcium-fortified plant milks, including almond. However, you should be aware that because almond milk is low in calories, protein and fat it should be given sparingly and not form a cornerstone of your child’s diet.
- Vegans and those following a predominantly plant-based diet should opt for fortified almond ‘milks’ to ensure they are achieving all the vitamins and minerals they need.
Almond milk recipes
This article was reviewed on 9 February 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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