Almond milk is more than a substitute for dairy milk in your diet. The dairy-free alternative allows vegans, vegetarians, and those with lactose intolerance and allergies to enjoy a milk-like beverage or use it in their recipes. Can it be more than that?
Yes. It’s more than a substitute.
Due to almond milk benefits, it has a place in nearly everyone’s diet. Whether you buy it ready-made at the grocery store or make it yourself, you should consider making a full switch or supplementing some of your dairy consumption for increased health benefits.
What is Almond Milk?
You can make your own, or you can buy it ready-made in the supermarket aisles. While there’s nothing wrong with making your own, many people prefer the convenience, flavors, or constant consistency. Plus, you’ll need to supplement or fortify it yourself.
Plant-based milk replaces dairy in most recipes without issues. This includes in sauces, baked goods and smoothies. You can also enjoy it on cereal or plain in a glass.
Almond milk benefits aren’t limited to drinking it. You can use it as part of your hair and skin care regimen too.
How to Buy Almond Milk
You should choose unsweetened, organic almond varieties for the most benefits and leave the sweetened or flavored varieties for special occasions. They tend to contain more preservatives and sugar. If you’re looking to lose or maintain your weight, the added sugar increases your calories despite the sweetened versions still containing around or fewer than 1% milk.
15 Almond Milk Benefits Backed by Science
1. Great Source of Vitamin E
Did you know one glass of almond-based milk contains roughly 50% of your daily-recommended intake? Did you know vitamin E is an antioxidant and shields your skin from sun damage? It does more than protect you from damaging rays.
Vitamin E benefits
• Combats inflammation
• Reduces bodily stress
• Boosts brain health
• Protects against heart disease
• Protects against cancer
• Might protect bones
• Might protect eyes
• Might combat Alzheimer’s disease
Your normal glass of cow’s milk contains no vitamin E. Even by swapping out one serving of your dairy milk, you can enjoy many of the increased vitamin E benefits (1).
2. Might Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Scientists have linked a lower risk of heart disease with diets rich in nuts and unsaturated fats (2). Almond milk contains both, including oleic acid, which can have beneficial changes to your blood lipids (3).
One study found a correlation between lowered bad cholesterol and triglycerides, increased good cholesterol, and almonds.
3. Lower Calories
Unsweetened almond milk contains 39 calories per serving; although, this number can vary between brands. If you’re counting calories, you can save about 75 calories without sacrifice to taste or texture. (4)
In this study, researchers saw decreases in waist circumference, BMI, weight, and hip circumference from swapping one dairy product serving with almond-based milk.
It’s suitable for many special diets and programs since it’s also low in carbohydrates and fat and contains moderate protein. If you’re purchasing ready-made, you’ll also find fortified varieties that decrease nutrient and vitamin differences.
Homemade varieties will vary, depending on how much water you use to dilute it. However, for low-carb and higher protein/fat diets, you will have more control over your macronutrients without preservatives and sweeteners. The same applies to taste and consistency if weight loss or control aren’t important to you.
4. Doesn’t Spike Blood Sugar
Unsweetened almond milk benefits include a low G.I. due to its higher fat and protein counts versus its low carbohydrate number. Whether you’re a diabetic or following a low carbohydrate lifestyle, it might be the better choice over cow’s milk (5).
5. Might Prevent Bone Related Injuries and Disease
Almonds don’t contain a large amount of calcium; however, fortified ready-made milks do contain about 25% of your daily recommended dose of calcium per serving. That’s almost twice the amount of calcium as you’ll find in low fat cow’s milk.
Women are more susceptible to bone loss as they age. Because calcium plays a major role in reducing osteoporosis, you can lower your risk by drinking calcium fortified almond-based milk (6).
6. You Might Lose Weight
Full of healthy fats and low in calories, you might lose weight if you change your dairy options. A study showed a reduction in both weight and waist and hip circumference, which the CDC, FDA, and USDA consider significant markers for overall health and risk than weight alone.
7. Low Potassium and Phosphorus
If you have chronic kidney disease, your doctor has warned you against consuming cow’s milk. The same goes for people who have heart disease, certain bone diseases, and hyperparathyroidism. The potassium and phosphorus build up in the blood to dangerous levels, and the risks are death, heart attack, and irregular heartbeat.
Almond-based milk contains a fraction of phosphorus and potassium compared to cow’s milk(7).
Almond milk boasts both soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which your body needs to maintain healthy digestion. The fiber also regulates sugar absorption, controls cholesterol, keeps you fuller, and protects your intestines and colon.
9. Might Prevent Age-related Eye Disease
Vitamin E, when taken in conjunction with vitamin C, beta-carotene, and zinc, might protect you from macular degeneration and cataracts. This is the most common cause of age-related blindness. Because many have been fortified with the other vitamins, it makes it a good choice to add to your preventative measures.
10. Might Slow Alzheimer’s Disease
Vitamin E passes to the brain according to this study. It offers a glimmer of hope for caregivers and those with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
More research is needed, but scientists are looking at correlations to Alzheimer’s as a way to slow progression and protect the brain. One long-term study shows promising preliminary results.
11. Controls Blood Sugar
Diabetics tend to have low to below normal levels of magnesium, which helps control hunger and blood sugar via reducing insulin resistance. In theory, it might be beneficial to you if you’re already at risk for diabetes, too.
Non-diabetics can still see the same benefits of lower insulin resistance, including appetite suppression, from the magnesium.
12. Healthy, Glowing Skin
While some sites tell you to use almond-based milk directly on your skin, you can reap almond milk benefits from drinking it. It’s suitable for all skin types. According to FitDay, you can expect anti-aging benefits from the high vitamin E content.
However, what does the science say? Vitamin E, such as you consume in an almond-based milk, is responsible for repairing your damaged skin and protecting it from further damage from daily things like sun exposure, cigarette smoke, and pollution. Unfortunately, more research is needed, but it’s a natural product with no side effects and might be worth trying in conjunction with your current routine.
13. Might Combat PMS and Menstrual Symptoms
Vitamin E does more than promote healthy skin; it also restores natural balance to hormones, specifically prolactin. This hormone is responsible for mood swings, acne, bloating, and cramps.
During PMS and menstruation, your hormones are off kilter. It’s these hormones that are responsible for the symptoms women feel, so by restoring the balance or preventing them from going off balance, you could essentially have an almost symptom-free period since menopause is the only true cure.
Most studies speak about supplement forms of vitamin E, but because almond-based milks contain high amounts of it, you might see benefits from including it in your diet.
14. Vitamin B-12
Many brands do fortify their almond-based milk with upwards of 50% of the B-12 daily recommended value. For anyone following a plant-based diet, you’re most likely taking a supplement form or receiving it from a fortified cereal of this essential nutrient. It is one of the top ten sources, and it’s also suitable for daily use on low-carb or low fat diets.
Why is B12 important?
Deficiency leads to anemia, which can cause many symptoms from exhaustion to balance problems to cognitive issues.
Conditions such as celiac and Crohn’s disease can cause absorption issues with vitamin B-12, putting you at a greater risk for anemia. If you suffer from these conditions, you should consult with your doctor to first check your levels to rule out deficiency.
If you’re over the age of 50, you’re more likely to develop diet-based anemia as well since your stomach acid production and absorption lowers. You might require more from your food sources, and it might benefit you since your calorie intake raises minimally from a single serving.
15. Might Decrease Allergies if Consumed During Pregnancy
According to a Danish study, contrary to what some might think, if you consume known allergen foods during pregnancy, your baby is less likely to be allergic or develop an allergy to the foods. The study included common allergens, including tree nuts.
Final Thoughts on Almond Milk
Many people will see benefits from swapping to almond milk, and few concerns exist when using an unsweetened variety. The taste and texture are slightly different, but you’re unlikely to notice the difference in recipes or on top of cereal if you’re already used to low-fat milk. Almond milk benefits are both plentiful and scientifically sound.
It’s a suitable beverage for vegans, vegetarians, and those with intolerances and allergies to dairy as it provides your body with essential nutrients, such as vitamin E and, if fortified, calcium and B-12.
You can make it yourself at home with water, almonds, and a blender or food processor. This is essential for anyone looking to control the consistency and additives or who is using their own sweeteners and flavorings at home.
You have little to lose by trying almond-based milks, and you have many healthful benefits to gain. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another readily available, affordable, and easily adaptable source of vitamin E. What are you waiting for?