Almonds are native to the Middle East, but are enjoyed throughout the world. The nuts are eaten as snacks, ground up into flour, and sometimes turned into creamy milk with some pretty nutty benefits.
Almond milk is one of the most popular almond products because it has a very important trait: it’s lactose-free. People with lactose intolerance appreciate almond milk as a healthy and tasty alternative to traditional dairy drinks. Others simply love its sweet, nutty flavor.
You can drink almond milk plain or use it in recipes that call for animal milk. Beyond its taste, almond milk packs some impressive health benefits.
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in almond milk help provide important health benefits:
Good Source of Magnesium
Almond milk is rich in magnesium. This mineral is one of the four most-common minerals in your body. It’s a necessary part of more than three hundred important enzyme reactions. Magnesium is particularly important for controlling blood sugar levels and using energy in the body.
Helpful for Lactose Intolerance
Almond milk does not contain lactose, since it is not an animal product. As a result, it’s the perfect substitute for people with lactose intolerance. Almond milk can be used in any recipe that calls for animal milk.
Low in Calories and Carbs
Compared to animal milk, unsweetened almond milk is low in sugars and carbohydrates. It has 50% to 80% fewer calories than dairy milk while remaining similarly rich in flavor. It’s considered a low glycemic index food as a result. This means almond milk is less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
High in Bone-Building Calcium
Most commercial brands of almond milk are fortified with calcium. Bone health is deeply tied to calcium, because the mineral makes up most hard structures in bones. Getting enough calcium keeps your bones strong and can help your body fight osteoporosis.
May Slow Progression of Cognitive Diseases
Almond milk is full of Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant known to help your brain. Studies have shown a link between getting enough vitamin E and a lower risk of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s also been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease in serious cases.
High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important for reducing damage from free radicals. These molecules can cause damage to nearby cells, which can lead to everything from aging symptoms to cancer. Almond milk nutrients and antioxidants can help your body manage free radicals more effectively.
Depending on the brand, enriched almond milk can also be an excellent source of:
Nutrients per Serving
An eight-ounce (one cup) serving of unsweetened almond milk contains:
- Calories: 40
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 3 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: Less than 1 gram
Things to Look Out For
Almond milk doesn’t naturally contain some of the key nutrients you’ll find in other kinds of milk, such as vitamin D and protein. Many manufacturers also add sugar to sweeten almond milk.
To get the most nutritional value, look for unsweetened almond milk that has been fortified with nutrients such as phosphorus, which helps with energy levels and bone health, and vitamin D.
How to Prepare Almond Milk
You can use almond milk in the same way as you would animal milk. It’s available in just about any supermarket or bulk-food stores next to traditional dairy products. Store-bought almond milk is often shelf-stable until opened.
You can also make your own almond milk at home:
- Blanch almonds to remove the husks.
- Grind them in a food processor to a fine powder.
- Soak this powder in water for several hours.
- Filter the liquid through cheesecloth. This liquid is your fresh, homemade almond milk.
You can use almond milk in any recipe that calls for milk. Here are some ways to use this versatile drink:
- Drink a glass of almond milk
- Make pancakes
- Add almond milk to hot chocolate instead of animal milk
- Use almond milk in cereal
- Make homemade almond ice cream
- Add almond milk to smoothies for a protein boost
- Use almond milk as coffee creamer