Almond milk has a low glycemic index, which keeps your blood sugar stable.
Almonds contain vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc.
Almonds contain prebiotics that support the growth of gut bacteria
Almond milk is a healthy alternative to cow's milk with a creamy light flavor. Packed with tons of nutritious benefits, almond milk can be used in any recipe that calls for milk, and is the most popular non-dairy milk in the U.S.
If you're curious about whether or not almond milk is the right choice for you, keep reading. We'll go over how almond milk is made, what differentiates it from other non-dairy milk, and so much more.
What Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a type of nut milk often used as a dairy-free replacement for cow's milk.
It's made by taking almonds and breaking them down until the fiber separates from the fats, protein, and other nutrients.
This is usually done by blending soaked almonds with water.
The milk is then separated and squeezed out from the remaining pulp, using a nut milk bag. Nut milk bags allow the liquids and small-fiber molecules to pass through the mesh weave of the bag, leaving the larger fiber solids behind.
Here's a video that shows how nut milk bags work.
Although it doesn't have as much calcium as regular milk, almond milk does contain upwards of 184mg of plant-based calcium, which is a great boost toward your daily recommended amount of 1300mg.
While store-bought almond milk is usually enriched to have higher daily values, it can contain some unnecessary ingredients like carrageenan.
When you make homemade almond milk, you're able to control what you put in it. You can add supplemental ingredients to help boost the total calcium and other vitamin levels, not to mention a boost in flavor.
In addition, it contains healthy fats and fiber that are gentle on your gut and help to lower cholesterol levels, and no saturated fat. Multiple studies have found that almonds can reduce LDL-C, a known risk factor for heart disease, and maintain or increase HDL-C.
- Almond Milk Taste: Almond milk has a light and nutty flavor.
- Almond Milk Texture: Almond milk is typically thinner than most milk. If you make almond milk at home, you can make it creamier by using less water or more almonds.
Check out our video below to learn more about the basics of almond milk:
(You can also learn about the history of almond milk here, it's pretty interesting!)
Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
Here are the nutrition facts for 1 cup of almond milk, according to the USDA.
Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
The nutrition facts for your almond milk may vary depending on the brand you buy, or the ingredients you use if you make it at home.
The Benefits of Almond Milk
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of almond milk:
Almond Milk Is Dairy Free and Vegan
Since almond milk is made from almonds and other plant-based ingredients, this milk is completely vegan and dairy-free. This means that it's safe for people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or are vegan.
Almond Milk Doesn't Spike Your Blood Sugar
Almond milk, when made without sugar, has a low glycemic index, which means it helps to keep your blood sugar stable. This is due to the low amount of carbs that almond milk contains in addition to healthy fats and fiber. Your body is able to take its time and absorb it slowly, which decreases the likelihood of spiking your blood sugar.
On top of that, it can help keep you full longer, which can help regulate a healthy weight. When you stay full for longer, you're less likely to overeat.
When you add other ingredients to your almond milk, such as dates, this helps to provide a small amount of natural sweetness, while adding more healthy fiber to the milk.
When you buy almond milk from the store, stick to plain unflavored options. They’re lower in sugar and don’t contain natural flavors and other unnecessary ingredients.
Almond Milk Is Great For Your Skin
Almonds contain a high amount of vitamin E, magnesium, vitamin K, and zinc, all of which are great for the health of your skin.
Studies have shown that these vitamins and minerals work with your skin to help lower cortisol levels, inflammation, and help improve your body's ability to heal. This helps keep the appearance of your skin hydrated, even-toned, and glowing.
Almond Milk Contains a High Amount of Riboflavin
Also known as vitamin B2, riboflavin is an important vitamin that is often overlooked but is vital to the development and maintenance of many systems in your body.
Riboflavin is responsible for maintaining mucous membranes, your brain health, regulating energy, and the health of your skin.
When you don't get enough riboflavin in your diet, you may experience dry lips and mouth, muscle cramping, and anemia.
Almond milk can help make sure you're getting this vitamin in your diet. It can contain around 20% DV, which if you're vegan or dairy-free can be a big boost.
Almond Milk Is A Healthy Source of Calcium
Calcium can be hard to get enough of if you're vegan or dairy-free.
While homemade almond milk doesn't have as much calcium as cow's milk does, it does have around 8% of the daily value.
Paired with a rounded diet, vegans and people on a dairy-free diet can reach their target calcium levels much more easily. When you make your almond milk with more almonds, you can easily increase the amount of calcium and protein that you get from your milk.
On the other hand, store-bought almond milk is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals and generally matches the daily values of cow's milk.
Almond Milk Supports Your Gut Health
Keeping your gut healthy is an important part of wellness. Your gut is a living biome that is home to millions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, all working together to help your body create what it needs. Because they live off of what you eat, you want to ensure that they have an optimal environment to thrive.
Prebiotic fiber is a non-digestible plant fiber that is an integral part of gut bacteria health. Your gut bacteria use prebiotics to create vital metabolites that your gut and body rely on.
Almonds contain a high source of prebiotics that have been shown to support the growth of gut bacteria. When you make almond milk, the milk retains some of the prebiotics from the almonds, providing your gut with some of these benefits.
The Downsides of Almond Milk
Almond milk is packed with benefits, but it’s not perfect for everyone. Here are some potential downsides to almond milk.
Not as Sustainable as Other Plant-Based Milk
While almond milk is better for the environment than cow’s milk, it’s not as sustainable as other non-dairy milk.
Although it’s one of the best options for low greenhouse emissions, it takes 13X more water to produce almond milk than soy milk.
The majority of almonds used to make almond milk in the U.S are grown in California—roughly 80%. As you likely know, California is subject to droughts and is filled with dry land, which puts a lot of stress on the environment.
Low in Protein
While one ounce of whole almonds packs 6 grams of protein, an entire cup of almond milk contains roughly 1g of protein.
So, where does all the protein go?
It’s in the pulp that’s leftover after straining almonds to make milk. Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to get protein if you’re on a plant-based diet like lentils, beans, nuts, and even other plant-based milk. But don’t rely on almond milk alone.
Might Contain Preservatives and Additives
You should always look at the ingredient list for any product you buy, but particularly with plant-based milk.
The reason almond milk brands put these additives in their product is primarily to improve the texture and consistency, and to extend the shelf life.
While many of these ingredients have been deemed safe in small amounts, there are brands that make almond milk without these ingredients so we generally recommend sticking with those.
How To Make Almond Milk
Almond milk is very simple to make at home. Once you see how easy it is, you'll be making it at home from now on and using it in all your recipes!
- 1 cup of raw almonds (soaked overnight)
- 4 cups of water
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 2-6 of pitted dates (optional)
- 1 tablespoon of honey if not using dates (can be swapped for any sweetener of your choice or omitted completely)
- High-powered blender
- 1 nut milk bag, or cheesecloth
- Air-tight container, jug, or bottle large enough to hold milk
- 1 large bowl
First, take one cup of raw almonds, and soak them in water for at least six hours, or overnight. After soaking, rinse almonds and dump out the soaking water. Here you can remove the skins if you'd like. It's not necessary, however, unless you'd prefer a skin-free pulp for baking recipes later.
Transfer your soaked almonds to a blender. You can do this in smaller batches if your blender isn't able to handle all of it at once. Start by adding 1/2 cup of water to 1/4 cup of the almonds if needed.
Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, or until the milk becomes smooth and creamy. If you're adding dates to your almond milk, add them here with the almonds to ensure they're smoothly blent with the milk.
Take your nut bag, and place it in your bowl or something to catch the milk as it comes through the bag. Pour the milk into the nut bag. Let the milk drain out of the bag, and then squeeze the bag to ensure all of the milk is drained. You may have to squeeze the bag a few times, as the pulp retains a lot of moisture.
Transfer your drained milk into its final container. Here you can add your salt, vanilla, any sweetener you wish to use, and any other additives like cinnamon, depending on your own tastes. Shake or stir until your ingredients are dissolved. Feel free to get creative and make it your own, there's no wrong way to flavor almond milk!
Enjoy your almond milk in all your favorite dishes, or on its own as a delicious treat.
Your almond milk will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. If you notice that your almond milk becomes separated slightly, don't fret as this is completely normal. Simply shake the bottle or jar that the milk is in, and it's as good as new.
Remember, don't throw your almond pulp away! You can use this in baking to make crackers, cookies, cakes, and more!
Making almond milk means that you won't have to buy almond meal for baking. The pulp from almond milk is just that and can be used in conjunction with or as a substitute for flour.
Need some ideas for what to do with leftover almond pulp? Check out this video.
Almond Milk Recipes
Now that you've made your delicious almond milk, besides drinking it, what can you make with it?
With so many different almond milk recipes, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish with almond milk. Here are some of our favorites:
Hot Chocolate with Almond Milk
Everybody loves a good hot chocolate. With its rich, deep, chocolate flavors warming you on a cold night, there's nothing to miss with this hot chocolate made with almond milk.
Chocolate lovers will rejoice with this recipe and feel guilt-free for coming back for seconds, since chocolate is a great source of vitamin C, and is loaded with antioxidants.
You can check out the recipe here at thebigmansworld.com.
Almond Milk Pancakes
If you're dairy-free or vegan, then at some point you've probably tried to make pancakes with only water. While you might make a pancake that's okay, it often is less fluffy or feels less indulgent than when you use milk.
These almond milk pancakes are everything and more, with their perfectly fluffy texture, you'd never even know that they're dairy-free. You can check the recipe out here at tastyoven.com.
Almond Milk Vanilla Ice Cream
Ice cream can make or break a milk substitute. When you're dairy-free, vegan, or just looking for a healthier lifestyle, it can be almost impossible to find an ice cream that truly satisfies your craving.
This vanilla almond milk ice cream is so delicious that you can't tell that it isn't dairy. Satisfy your craving with this recipe here at greatbritishchefs.com.
Tres Leches Cake with Almond Milk
The tres leches cake, or three milk cake, is a decadent dessert that can be a showstopper when done right. This tres leches cake made with almond milk goes beyond your expectations and is worth serving for any occasion.
Whether you'd like to treat yourself or wow your friends and family, this cake is sure to satisfy even the most stubborn dairy lover. You can try this delectable dessert with this recipe here at godairyfree.org.
Vanilla Rice Pudding with Almond Milk
There's something about vanilla rice pudding that simply soothes your soul. The creamy, lightly sweet pudding pairs well with fruits of all kinds, or simply with a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream.
A dessert that can work just as well as a breakfast or a snack, vanilla rice pudding is one of the most versatile puddings you can make.
Boba Tea with Almond Milk
If you've never tried boba tea, then you're surely missing out. A Thai treat that's part tea, and part snack, boba tea is a fun experience all to itself. The sweet milky tea provides a refreshing vehicle for the delicious boba pearls at the bottom of your cup.
Because boba tea is often made with dairy, it can be hard to replicate. However, this recipe will come as close as you can get. You can check it out here at loveandoliveoil.com.
Almond Milk FAQ
We know you have questions when it comes to almond milk, and with a product made from nuts, it's important to keep yourself informed. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about almond milk.
How Healthy Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk, when compared to cow's milk, contains significantly fewer calories and no cholesterol. This is considered healthier for people who need to closely monitor their calorie and cholesterol levels. In addition, almond milk provides you with plant-based nutrients, which are often better for your overall health.
Is Almond Milk Good For Weight Loss?
Almond milk is a great choice for weight loss. This is due to its low-calorie content. When made without sugar and other additives, almond milk has less than 100 calories. This low amount makes it perfect for those looking for a milk alternative that fits well into diet plans.
Almond milk has a relatively low-fat content as well, creating the perfect diet-friendly milk alternative, where you don't have to worry about overindulging.
Almond milk is keto-friendly and can be altered to fit your specific needs when it comes to dieting. Whether you want more protein-dense or calorie-light milk, almond milk can be made according to what you need.
Is Almond Milk Healthier Than Milk?
Almond milk contains healthy fats that contribute to heart health and a decreased risk of heart disease. This is because the cholesterol levels found in cow's milk are associated with the thickening of the arterial walls. This increases your risk for heart disease.
Eating a plant-based diet, including almond milk, can help you eat heart-healthy fats. These help to keep your arteries free of plaque build-up, and contribute toward a healthy lifestyle. People looking to lower their cholesterol levels can do so by using almond milk instead of cow's milk.
How Much Protein Is In Almond Milk?
This depends on which recipe you follow, how much almonds you use in your milk, and if your milk is enriched or not. You can find protein-enriched almond milk at some grocery stores, but just be sure to check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain other harmful ingredients.
Homemade almond milk, using generally 1 cup of almonds, will contain about 1 gram of protein. To ensure you get more protein from your almond milk, use more almonds per cup of water in the recipe. This will create a much more condensed version that has more protein.
However, if you’re looking for a plant-based milk that’s high in protein, there are better options. Check out our guide here: What Plant Based Milk Has the Most Protein?
Give Almond Milk A Try Today!
Almond milk is an amazing alternative to milk. With its dairy-free, vegan, and other health benefits, there's no reason not to try almond milk. Because the consistency is similar to milk, you can use it in any milk-based recipe with great results.
With such a delicious, sustainable alternative to milk, almond milk will be your new go-to plant-based milk.
Learn More About Almond Milk
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