If you suffer with IBS, digestive ailments or are looking to cut your dairy intake, you might be interested in seeing what alternative milks can offer you.
Some of the most popular milk alternatives you can purchase at the minute include soy milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, and of course almond milk.
The benefits of almond milk are displayed all over the packaging: it’s made with nuts, includes natural ingredients, and plenty of protein. But how good is almond milk, when you compare it with cow’s milk?
5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Almond Milk
‘Original’ and ‘Fresh’ almond milks are usually sweetened
When buying almond milk, you do need to have your wits about you. If you’re like me and you assume that the words ‘original’ and ‘fresh’ mean ‘free of bad stuff’ then you’d be mistaken. In actual fact, the original versions of many shop-bought alternative milks are sweetened. Rather than the packaging helpfully telling you the product is sweetened v its unsweetened counterpart, you have to make that judgement for yourself.
Save yourself time and calories by only picking up the almond milk that plainly states ‘unsweetened’ on its packaging.
It has less protein than cow’s milk
‘Protein’ is the word on every health aficionado’s lips, but unfortunately almond milk does not stack up against cow’s milk when it comes to this muscle-building nutrient. Although nuts naturally are full of protein, almond milk only contain 1g of protein per serving v 8g for cow’s milk. The main reason for this is that over 90 per cent of almond milk is water, so it’s not all bad news, it’s simply less protein-rich.
Almond milk improves digestion
IBS sufferers and those who struggle to digest dairy will rejoice knowing that almond milk is a gateway to improved digestion. Because almond milk is mainly water, and contains no lactose (as is naturally found in cow’s milk), gut inflammation is less likely.
However, it’s worth keeping an eye out for the ingredients before you make you guzzle away. If you choose a brand that uses carrageenan (it might be named in the ingredients list as a ‘thickener’ or ’emulsifier’) then you might receive unnecessary gastrointestinal problems, and should be avoided. If you are really at a loss, look out for those that include ‘sunflower lecithin’ and ‘gums’ instead of carrageenan.
Alpro are a good brand to choose if you want a digestion-friendly almond milk.
It will help towards your weight loss goals
Cutting calories? Almond milk contains just 60 calories versus 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in semi-skimmed and 102 calories in skimmed milk. However, you should remember that although there is fewer calories, there is also less protein, so you might feel hungrier after drinking this type versus cow’s milk. Swings and roundabouts, but it’s still worth noting.
It has more nutrients than other milks
Rather than picking up a vitamin or mineral supplement, almond milk might be much better for you. That’s because almond milk naturally has high levels of Vitamin E, Vitamin D, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fibre and phosphorous. A whopping 25% of your RDA of Vitamin D is in one serving of almond milk, and we all know how good that is for improving your immune function.