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Almond Milk - The Facts

How is Almond Milk made?

Made by blending almonds and filtered water, almond milk is a simple yet nutritious drink that is particularly suitable for vegans, as well as those with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance. 

Almond milk

How Does Almond Milk Compare To Dairy Milk? 

Many people ask, “Is almond milk good for you?”. Naturally lower in calories, sugar and fat than cow’s milk, almond milk offers a lighter alternative to cow’s milk with a higher nutrient profile as it contains more potassium, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium.

Here’s a full nutritional comparison of Plenish Almond Milk and semi-skimmed cow’s milk in the UK (per 100ml):

Plenish Almond Milk Nutrition Facts per 100 ml Semi-Skimmed Cow’s Milk per 100 ml
Calories  34kcal 46kcal 
Fat  3.1g 1.1g
Carbohydrates  0.4g 4.7g
Of which sugars 0.2g 4.7g
Fibre  0.7g 0
Protein  1.3g 3.5g

Although almond milk is lower in protein compared to semi-skimmed milk, it is nutritionally superior in many other ways. We’ve taken a closer look at some of the key benefits below:

Lower in calories 

Naturally low in calories, almond milk is an excellent option for anyone watching their weight. For example, Plenish Almond Milk contains 26% fewer calories than semi-skimmed cow’s milk.

However, not all almond milk is made in the same way, and heavily processed varieties with added sugar, oils and additives can be higher in calories. Where possible, it is best to make your almond milk at home or purchase almond milk made with only natural ingredients to reap maximum nutritional benefits.

Lower in sugar

Unsweetened Almond Milk contains no added sugar and around 0.2 grams of sugar per 100ml, compared to semi-skimmed cow’s milk, which typically contains around 4.7 grams per 100ml. For this reason, it is considered a low glycemic index food, which means almond milk is less likely to impact blood sugar levels and can help you manage weight and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. 

Rich in heart-healthy fats 

There are 3.1 grams of fat in Plenish Almond Milk, and most of the fat comes from monounsaturated fat, while a smaller part comes from polyunsaturated fat. Unsaturated fats are linked with health benefits as they help to increase good cholesterol in the blood and boost heart health. In comparison, the fats in  semi-skimmed cow’s milk mainly come from saturated fat, which in excess amounts increase levels of bad cholesterol in the blood and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease.

Packed with Vitamin E

Almonds are a vital source of antioxidants, most of which is concentrated in the brown layer of skin, that help to protect the body from damaging free radicals. Almond Milk contains a rich source of the antioxidant Vitamin E, and just one cup provides 110 percent of the recommended daily vitamin E intake. Specifically, vitamin E protects good fats, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, from oxidative damage, which in turn reduces the risk of various diseases from heart disease to various types of cancers. 

What To Look For When Choosing A Healthy Almond Milk?

Despite these health benefits, most almond milks in the supermarket are filled with highly processed ingredients that can take a toll on your health. Plenish Nutritionist, Katie Morley, shared some key nutritional criteria to look for when selecting healthy almond milk:

Unsweetened – many sweetened almond milks contain high amounts of added sugar. The market leader, for instance, contains 6g of sugar per cup, which means 2-3 cups per day is approximately 60% of your daily recommended intake. 

Simple and short ingredients list – the shorter the ingredient list, the better! Most processed almond milks contain unhealthy amounts of gums and other thickeners such as gellan gum, locust bean gum, xanthan gum, guar gum and carrageenan. These additives are unnecessary and should be avoided, particularly if you suffer from gastrointestinal issues or follow a highly specific diet. 

Free from Carrageenan – carrageenan is added to processed almond milks to thicken them up and increase shelf life. However, it is highly inflammatory, and recent research shows that it may be a contributing factor towards colitis, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis and even colon cancer. 

How To Add Almond Milk Into Your Diet 

Almond milk is super versatile, making it easy to incorporate into your everyday diet. Here are some delicious and nutritious ideas to get you started:

  • Blend it into smoothies
  • Pour over cereal, muesli or add into porridge 
  • For frothy lattes or added into black teas
  • Use in cooking, such as curries or soups 
  • Enjoy as a refreshing drink on its own!