Have you noticed that organic, plant based beverages are not only flooding the shelves of markets in the United States, but also around the whole world? This is really no wonder if we consider the nutritional benefits they offer and their low environmental impact. Almond milk has become one of the most popular alternatives to cow’s milk, and in North America today, it’s no longer a product only consumed by vegans and vegetarians. This nutritious, low-calorie drink has become very popular among all demographics.
We can see that the concern for health and fitness, and adopting more holistic habits all together is no longer just a trend for Americans – Our tendencies are shifting towards creating permanent lifestyle changes. People seeking a healthier lifestyle see the benefits of this plant-based alternative. Almond milk is low in sugar and fat and it doesn’t have lactose or gluten, which is ideal for coeliacs or those who are lactose/gluten intolerant. Keep reading to learn more about this natural and healthy drink!
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best almond milk products on the U.S. market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about almond milk
- 3.1 What is almond milk exactly?
- 3.2 What are the health benefits of consuming almond milk?
- 3.3 What minerals and vitamins can be found in almond milk?
- 3.4 Are all almond milk products healthy?
- 3.5 Can almond milk completely replace dairy milk in all on it’s uses?
- 3.6 When is it recommended to consume almond milk?
- 3.7 Why is almond milk beneficial to weight loss?
- 3.8 What is the difference between almond milk and other plant-based drinks?
- 3.9 Can diabetics ingest almond milk?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Almond milk is made by soaking almonds, blending them with equal parts water and filtering the product to separate the “milk” from the pulp. Almond milk can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk in any meal such as cereal, smoothies or milkshakes and it can even be used in baking and cooking.
- Because it is a plant based product, the fat and caloric content is about 65-85% lower than dairy milk, which makes it an ideal alternative for slimming diets. Moreover, almond milk improves HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Almond milk does not contain lactose or gluten, making it a great option for people with intolerances to these foods. This vegetable drink also helps improve digestion while also providing high levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E (natural antioxidant) and B vitamins.
Ranking: The best almond milk products on the U.S. market
Even though almond milk has the reputation of being a healthy and nutritious drink; not all products offer the same nutritional value. Keep in mind that advertising can often be misleading, making it difficult to know which is truly the healthiest option. To help with your decision, in this section we present a curated list with the very best almond milk products in North America.
No. 1: Good Mylk — Almond Milk Concentrate (6 pack)
Good Mylk has created a fresh almond milk concentrate that makes it possible to enjoy fresh almond milk daily. The innovative packaging contains 10 oz of frozen, fresh milk. In total, each purchase provides 6 quarts of almond milk that always arrives frozen. Good Mylk keep their recipe simple with all natural ingredients. Within each pack is certified organic sprouted almonds, alkaline water, certified organic date syrup and ancient mineral salt for an all healthy and pure almond milk.
This almond milk product abides by the Good Mylk Co. promise that there are no preservatives, no canola oil, no soy, no carrageenan or other binders. This is a non GMO, vegan, low glycemic and sustainable product. Once it arrives, simply put the packs in the freezer and when you’re ready, thaw a packet overnight, pour it into a bottle and add a little water. The milk will last about 5 days in the refrigerator. This is a great plant-based milk substitute for cereal, creamers, smoothies or to drink plain! Consumers love it’s fresh, and all natural taste.
No. 2: Silk — Pure Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (8 oz., 18 pack)
Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk is Amazon’s top choice for a delicious almond milk drink. This purchase includes 18, 8 oz. bottles of a rich, decadent and chocolatey plant-based milk. This almond-milk is the perfect, not to sweet drink to satisfy a chocolate craving. It is a dairy free, gluten free and soy free source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium and a number of other vitamins and minerals. Perfect for kids!
This almond milk is a perfect drink to take on the go because of it’s convenient, single serving packaging. They’re great for adding in coffee, cereal, for on the go energy or as a dessert drink to suppress the carvings for late night junk food! This product is available in both sweetened and unsweetened options for those watching their sugar intake. Because this drink has a good amount of protein and carbs, it is a great post workout drink to refuel the body.
No. 3: Califia Farms — Almond Milk (32 oz.)
The almond milk by Califa Farms come in an easy to pour 32 oz. container in a pack of 6. It’s smooth texture adds to the delicious, natural almond flavor for a full and well-rounded milk substitute. This almond milk is a great option for those lactose intolerant who cannot enjoy milk and need an alternative for coffee, smoothies, cereal and any other food that requires a milky additive. This blend has been made specially for baristas and those in the restaurant business to provide the best quality foods with the best quality ingredients.
The Barista Blend almond milk is soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, carrageenan-free and non GMO. It is a completely kosher product that is also vegan, making it and ideal option for any and all consumers. With this almond milk, baristas and servers can create a full-bodied foam and better latte art due to its extra “stretching” capabilities. With only 70 calories per serving, this dairy free product will add flavor to your drinks and food without adding to the scale.
No. 4: Califia Farms — Vanilla Almond Milk Creamer (32 oz.)
Rated highly by customers as one of the best almond milk creamers on the market. Unlike some almond creamers, it doesn’t leave a bitter nutty aftertaste. This creamer by Califia Farms gives a subtle but noticeable vanilla flavor that perfectly accompanies any brand and flavor of coffee. Califia Farms offers a 6 pack of 32 oz cartons at a very affordable price.
This creamer has no added sugar and is free of soy, dairy, gluten, carrageenans and is non GMO. Because it has less fat than normal dairy products and contains no added sugars, this is a great option for those looking to watch their calorie intake. Even if you are not lactose intolerant, replacing other creamers with this nut milk substitute can offer more benefits than just an improved taste. It has a medium thick consistency and will add best to beverages if shaken well before pouring.
No. 5: 365 Everyday Value — Vanilla Almond Milk (32 oz.)
This almond milk by 365 Everyday Value is the most economical options for a plant-based milk available, brought to you by Whole Foods Market. 365 Everyday Value prides themselves in the high standards they set for their products, ensuring the best quality, all natural organic beverages. This almond milk is made from premium quality organic almonds, sweetened to perfection with organic cane sugar and vanilla extract.
USDA Certified Organic, this almond milk is vegan, kosher and carrageenan free. It’s also an excellent source of calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D and vitamin A. Consumers rave about the good taste, but do mention it is sweet. Keep in mind when buying this product what your preferences are! This Vanilla Almond Milk is best for those looking for a sweet, yet not overpowering flavor.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about almond milk
Almond milk is a nutritious, low-calorie drink that’s become very popular in North America. It is among the most recommended nutritional superfoods on the market today. The demographic leading the consumption of this drink, are those looking to lead a healthier lifestyle. It you want to make sure you get a top quality product with all the health benefits this vegetable drink has to offer, you should understand its main characteristics. To help you out, in this section, we take a closer look at all the things you should know about almond milk.
What is almond milk exactly?
Almond milk, like other plant-based milks (oat, cashew, soy, etc.), is not technically milk. Rather, this drink is obtained from blending soaked almonds to extract their juices and nutritional components. This process also involves straining the liquid through a cheesecloth to separate the liquid form the nut pulp.
Because almond milk offers a great source of nutrients, with low calories, sugar and fat content, it’s become a great alternative to traditional dairy milk. These products don’t usually contain many additives are added sugars. As mentioned before, it has no lactose or gluten, making it a suitable option for people who are allergic or intolerant.
Each almond milk product will have its own specific nutritional content. Usually, extra nutrients such as calcium, riboflavin, vitamin E and vitamin D are added to it to boost their nutritional content. All these things will dictate and largely depend on the quality of the product.
What are the health benefits of consuming almond milk?
There are many benefits to drinking almond milk, we have summarized them below:
- It is made 100% from almonds. This means that it does not need to be made with preservatives, additives or added sugars.
- It’s low in calories. Almond milk contains 65-80% fewer calories than dairy milk (including skimmed or semi-skimmed milk).
- Supports cardiovascular health. Almond milk improves HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
- Supports healthy digestion. The high percentage of fibre and antioxidants in almond milk protects the walls of the intestines and helps improves digestion.
What minerals and vitamins can be found in almond milk?
Even though for decades dairy milk has been the go to for calcium, all types of almond milk offer a greater source of calcium than cow’s milk. Almond milk is also rich in minerals like potassium, which helps treat diarrhoea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal problems. Almond milk also has a high content of magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
As for vitamins, almond milk usually contains high levels of vitamins D, A and E (a natural antioxidant) and some group B vitamins. Almond milk is rich in vitamin B2, which is essential for strengthening hair and nails. The table below illustrates the normal nutritional composition of 100 millilitres of almond milk:
|Minerals||Quantity (mls)||Recommended Daily Dose (%)|
Are all almond milk products healthy?
As with all foods, there are healthy and unhealthy products, sometimes even within the same brand. This means you should always be diligent about reading the nutritional facts of each product you choose. This is the best way to make sure the product you take home has the adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. This will also allow you to make sure it does not contain any harmful additives that may counteract all the benefits of this natural drink.
These are some of the things to always keep in mind:
- Be vigilant regarding false or misleading advertising. Some brands of almond milk, despite displaying the label “gluten-free,” warn in fine print that the drink may in fact contain traces of soy or other foods. This means that it may also contain gluten in low doses.
- Balance is always important. If consumed in excess, almond milk can affect the thyroid, especially in people who already have a pre-existing condition.
- Not all almond milk products are made equal. Some brands of almond milk have added sugars, which can reverse the benefits of consuming almond milk, particularly for those trying to lose weight.
Can almond milk completely replace dairy milk in all on it’s uses?
The nutritional properties of almond milk make it an excellent substitute for dairy milk. It even has several advantages over cow’s milk, such as containing less calories, lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), less saturated fat and less sugar. This is all without mentioning that its production also has a lower environmental impact than it’s dairy alternative.
Nonetheless you should keep in mind that it is still recommended that children 3 years old or younger, still drink cow’s milk or breast milk, as these alternatives have a higher fat content, which is very important for the proper development for an infant and growing child.
When is it recommended to consume almond milk?
Due to its low calorie content, almond milk can be consumed at any time of day, although it is best ingested in the morning. Drinking a glass of almond milk in the morning is a great way to gently activate digestive processes, which can help prevent problems such as constipation, inflammation and colics.
For example, you could have almond milk for breakfast, served with fruits and oatmeal. Moreover, it has a high water content, which means taking up a daily habit to drink almond milk will help you reach the 2 litre, minimum daily water intake recommended by healthcare professionals.
Why is almond milk beneficial to weight loss?
The low caloric values and high content of unsaturated fatty acids in almond milk, make it the ideal drink to help facilitate weight loss. Both of these properties, are crucial factors to weight loss and sustained weight management. They also play a role in maintaining low levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body.
Almond milk is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that supports the proper functioning of the heart. These fats help the body’s metabolic function, which is vital when trying to lose weight. In addition, almonds are extremely rich in antioxidants, which also contributes to fat burn.
What is the difference between almond milk and other plant-based drinks?
Although they are all grouped under the same term, vegetable beverages are not all the same and do not have the same nutritional composition. Along with almond milk, some of the most marketed plant-based alternatives are rice, oats and soy milk.
The commonality between these alternatives is they are made from diluting, disintegrating or mixing different nuts, cereals, legumes or seed extracts in water. Most of these drinks do not reach the nutritional level of dairy milk, but they still have other properties very beneficial to health.
The nutritional information of each of these drinks will depend on the vegetable material processed and the minerals or vitamins retained after processing. A nutritional breakdown of each type of milk is outlined in the table below.
|Values per 100 ml||Whole Cow’s Milk||Almond Milk||Oat Milk||Soy Milk||Rice Milk|
|Protein||3, 3||0, 5||1, 3||3, 1||0,2|
|Carbohydrates||5, 4||3, 4||6, 3||2, 4||9, 7|
Can diabetics ingest almond milk?
Among the different vegetable drinks that exist, almond milk is one of the best options for diabetics. This is due to the fact that it is mostly natural, so its digestion is very fast and the calorie and carbohydrate levels are low. At the same time, minerals such as iron and vitamins A, D and E combat weakness and anemia.
However, someone with diabetes should make sure to consume only almond milk that contains no added sugars or any other preservatives or additives as this could cause blood sugar levels to spike.
As you may have seen throughout this guide, there are some important things to consider and keep in mind when buying an almond milk product. Even though most of these drinks are made without gluten and lactose, and low in calories, there are some products that contain added sugars and preservatives, which are not recommended and will counteract the health benefits of this natural drink.
The following purchase criteria can help you choose the right almond milk at the time of purchase:
- Nutritional Composition
- Presence of gluten and lactose
- Presence of added sugars or additives
- Presence of allergens
- Origin of ingredients
Almond milk should not contain more than 50 calories per 100 ml. In addition, an almond milk product that is rich in calcium and vitamins should be chosen when using it to replace dairy milk. Moreover, it’s levels of saturated fat should be low, since this will help maintain good digestion and allow the opportunity of weight loss.
Presence of gluten and lactose
Lactose and gluten are generally absent in almond milk, but some brands warn that the product may be exposed to or contain traces of ingredients that contain gluten like soybeans and peanuts, among others. Coeliacs and people with intolerance to lactose should pay special attention to this information.
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Presence of added sugars or additives
Almond milk is naturally low in sugar however some brands sweeten the drink to improve the flavor. This completely breaks the nutritional composition of almond milk and should be avoided at all costs. Particularly if you are looking to lose weight and improve metabolism.
Presence of allergens
As with gluten and lactose, some types of almond milk may contain allergens such as peanuts or soybeans. Those who suffer from food allergies of any kind should read the nutritional label of the product carefully to avoid any complications.
Origin of ingredients
Most brands of almond milk contain 100% natural ingredients, which is why almond milk suits those who wish to have a diet that relies on natural foods. However, it is important to read the nutrition label carefully to ensure that the product you buy does not contain additives or preservatives that may not be entirely natural or beneficial.
Almond milk is a drink with a rich nutritional composition and numerous health benefits. In almost all cases it can replace dairy milk and its low calorie, sugar and fat content makes it an ideal drink for weight management. This product can also help regulate blood cholesterol and improve digestion. Last but not least, almond milk is rich in minerals such as calcium, iron and potassium as well high in vitamins A, E, D and the B group.
All of this contributes to improving cardiovascular health, it helps the immune system and prevents gastrointestinal problems. Moreover, almond milk is made without gluten or lactose, so for coeliacs and those who are lactose or gluten intolerant, it is a perfect alternative. Nonetheless, it is always necessary to pay close attention to the list of ingredients and disclaimers of some brands, since they may include low doses of added sugars and unhealthy additives to their recipe.
If you found the information in this guide useful, don’t hesitate to share it with your loved ones, so they too can reap the benefits of incorporating almond milk into their diet.
(Source of featured image: Anawat Sudchanham: 50307518/ 123rf.com)