Cashew Milk: Are There Health Benefits

The alternative milk market is booming. Once dominated by soy and rice products, this niche now includes a variety of nut-based milks, each of which provides a distinctive flavor and unique nutritional benefits.

Cashew milk is an excellent middle ground, providing a low-calorie option while delivering a creamier consistency than other nut milks.

Cashew milk is made the same way as almond milk is, but cashew milk has a more earthy flavor. First, the cashews are shelled and toasted. Next, they are soaked in filtered water. From there, they are ground into a paste before being blended with water. The liquid created while straining this pulp forms the final product.

Its thick texture makes it an excellent option for drinking, or enjoying in cereal. It can also be used in baking or for a variety of other purposes. 

Nutrition Information

Cashew milk is lower in calories than dairy milk, coconut milk, and oat milk. It can be fortified to include a variety of important vitamins, such as:

Nutrients in cashew milk vary significantly between brands. With some providers, one cup of unsweetened cashew milk contains:

  • 25 calories
  • Less than 1 gram of protein
  • 2 grams of fat
  • 1 gram of carbohydrates
  • 0 grams of fiber
  • 0 grams of sugar

Potential Health Benefits of Cashew Milk

Cashew milk offers an excellent alternative to dairy for those with lactose intolerance and dairy allergies. It serves as a lower-calorie alternative that delivers a richer consistency than standard soy, rice, and almond-based offerings. 

When purchasing cashew milk, look at the label carefully to determine which vitamins and minerals have been added.

Cashew milk could also:

Help strengthen your bones. Many store-bought versions of cashew milk are fortified with important nutrients, like calcium. When fortified, the cashew version may contain more calcium per serving than cow's milk. This helps to prevent osteoporosis and a variety of other conditions linked to calcium deficiency.

Help prevent anemia . A 16-ounce serving of select store-bought versions of cashew milk contains nearly 4 mg of iron, or 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Iron deficiency is a top cause of a condition known as anemia, in which the blood does not have enough healthy red blood cells. While many people rely on supplements to address anemia, drinking cashew milk or consuming foods high in iron can help.

Continued

Keep your cholesterol in-check. Nut-based dairy alternatives such as cashew milk contain no cholesterol. A serving of cow's milk, however, may have up to 36 mg of cholesterol, or 11 percent of the recommended daily maximum value. Cashew products can be an excellent option for anybody looking to reduce cholesterol levels without giving up milk.

Help your eyes. Cashew milk is a wonderful source of vitamin E. This vitamin plays an important role in eye health. Research points to it as an especially important supplement for reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Potential Risks of Cashew Milk

Some varieties of cashew milk are sweetened and may include high levels of added sugars. Be sure to check the label before you buy.

Cashew milk may be lower in calories than dairy products, but it also includes less protein and, if it's not fortified, may lack other nutrients such as calcium.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 13, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Cooking Light: “What You Need to Know About Cashew Milk.”

Mayo Clinic: “Bone health: Tips to keep your bones healthy.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central: “Cashew Milk.”

Mayo Clinic: “Iron deficiency anemia.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture FoodData Central: “Whole Milk.”

Clinical Interventions in Aging: “Nutrients for the Aging Eye.”

Journal of Food Science and Technology: "How Well Do Plant Based Alternatives Fare Nutritionally Compared to Cow’s Milk?"

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