Organic health drinks are bursting into food markets around the world and it is no wonder given the nutritional benefits they can offer. Almond milk is positioned well as one of the most popular alternatives to regular cow’s milk and is not just a product regularly consumed by vegans or vegetarians. Do you want to know why?

Those who want a healthier lifestyle see almond milk as a natural substitute for cow’s milk. Almond milk is low in calories and fat and does not contain lactose or gluten, which is ideal for coeliacs or those who are gluten intolerant. This article will explain everything you need to know about this natural health drink.

Key Facts

  • Almond milk, also known as almond drink or almond vegetable drink, is made from ground almonds or almond paste and water. Almond milk can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk in any meal such as cereal, smoothies or milkshakes and can even be used for cooking.
  • Being of vegetable origin, the fat and calorie content is low, which makes it ideal 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, which can adversely affect many people who are intolerant to these ingredients. At the same time it helps to improve digestion and provide high levels of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E (natural antioxidant) and B vitamins.

Ranking: The best almond milk on the Australian market

While almond milk enjoys a strong reputation as a nutritionally beneficial liquid, not all products offered have the same nutritional composition. Sometimes advertising can be misleading and it is not clear which is the healthiest option. To help you with your purchase, we’ve organised a ranking of the best almond milks on the Australian market:

No. 1: So Good Almond Milk

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Sanitarium is one of Australia’s favourite and most trusted food brands. The So Good range of almond milk is a delicious plant-based beverage made from almonds that is a rich source of vitamins E, B12 and B2. This 1 litre carton of almond milk is low in fat and saturated fat, and is also lactose and gluten-free.

Why not add a new delicious taste to your daily routine? Try Sanitarium’s So Good almond milk on your cereal such as Weet-bix, in your porridge, in a smoothie or simply just a tall, icy cold glass of almond milk.

No. 2: Almond Breeze

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Almond milk that comes in 1 litre cartons that is low in saturated fat and a rich source of calcium and vitamins D, E and B12. This milk is guaranteed to be dairy-free, egg-free and lactose-free, so it is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. It is also free of gluten, soy and peanuts.

Almond Breeze has its own almond crop in the US state of California and grows only the highest quality almonds. The manufacturer does not recommend this product for children under 3 years and once the carton has been opened, it is advisable to keep it in a cool place and finish it within five days.

No. 3: MilkLab Almond Milk 8 x 1L

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MilkLab is a USA based company that specialises in different milk products. Via Amazon, they can send you a box of 8 x 1 litre cartons of milk direct to your door. If you like almond milk in your coffee instead of regular cow’s milk, this is the ideal product for you.

MilkLab has spent countless hours blending and testing the perfect almond milk for coffee to come up with this product. For a unique recipe that brings you the perfect almond milk to complement the intensity of an espresso as well as the perfect textures for any other coffee type, this is the perfect almond milk for you.

No. 4: Ecomil Almond Milk Barista

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Ecomil is a Spanish company founded in 1991 that solely focuses on producing one product, almond milk. Ecomil develops products from organic farming that are lactose-free, healthy and nutritious to provide consumers with an alternative to cow’s milk whilst also covering the specific needs of vegetarian or vegan diets.

Ecomil Almond Milk is shipped and sold across Australia by Doorstep Organics, an Australian owned family business based in Sydney. The cost of shipping is a flat rate plus a small weight-based increment for additional products purchased.

No. 5: So Good Unsweetened Almond Milk

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So Good Unsweetened Almond Milk is a delicious plant-based beverage made from almonds that can be enjoyed by the glass, on cereal or in your favourite recipe. It is great source of calcium and a source of vitamin E, B2 and B12 as well as being low in fat and saturated fat. So Good Unsweetened Almond Milk is also lactose, gluten and dairy free.

Sanitarium started in 1898 in Melbourne with a mission to improve lives and how Australians view health. Their slogan is “Eat well. Live well”, which is exactly what this almond milk will do for you.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about almond milk

Almond milk is gaining more and more popularity among the most recommended nutritional foods on the market. The consumption of almond milk is led by those people who are looking to lead a healthier lifestyle. To choose and buy a quality product, it is necessary to know all the key aspects related to the composition and uses of this drink.

Almond milk is perfect for preparing breakfasts such as cereals or for making milkshakes.
(Source: Josep Maria Suria: 111587328/ 123rf.com)

What is almond milk exactly?

Almond milk, like other vegetable milks (oat or soy), is not technically milk. Rather, it is a drink obtained from grinding almonds very finely and crushing them to obtain their juices and nutritional components. The process for making almond milk must also include straining the liquid to separate it from the solid remains of the nut.

Almond milk offers a fantastic source of nutrients that makes it an excellent substitute for traditional cow’s milk. It is low in calories and usually does not have any additives or added sugars. It also has no lactose or gluten, making it suitable for people who are allergic or intolerant.

Most almond milk drinks do not contain gluten or lactose and have very low levels of sugar.
(Source: Brent-Hofacker: 30365296/ 123rf.com)

The composition of each almond milk product will contain different minerals, vitamins and fats. Depending on the quality and proportion of all these elements combined, the nutritional value of almond milk will be different.

What are the health benefits of almond milk?

There are many benefits of almond milk, that can be summarised below:

  • It is made 100% from almonds. This means that it has no preservatives, additives or added sugars.
  • It’s low in calories. It is lower in calories than cow’s milk (including skimmed or semi-skimmed cow’s milk).
  • Improves cardiovascular condition. Almond milk improves HDL (good) cholesterol levels and reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
  • Helps to improve digestion: The high percentage of fibre and antioxidants protects the walls of the intestines and improves digestion.

What are the minerals and vitamins found in almond milk?

In general, all types of almond milk have a great source of calcium, which beat even cow’s milk. Almond milk is also rich in minerals such as potassium, to help 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 carries 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 following is the usual nutritional composition of 100 millilitres of almond milk:

Minerals Quantity (mls) Recommended Daily Amount (%)
Sodium 38 2, 4
Calcium 200 16, 7
Iron 5 62, 5
Phosphorus 220 31, 4
Potassium 200 10

Are all brands of almond milk healthy?

As with all foods, there are healthy and unhealthy brands, depending on the composition of the individual product. This is why you should carefully read the nutrition label of each brand of almond milk to choose the product that provides the high level of minerals and vitamins.

In general, the following aspects should be taken into account:

  • Some brands of almond milk, despite displaying the label “gluten-free,” warn in fine print on the nutrition label that they may contain traces of soy or other foods in the drink. This means that it may contain gluten in low doses.
  • If consumed in excess, almond milk can affect the thyroid, especially in people who already have a pre-existing condition.
  • 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 cow’s milk?

The nutritional properties of almond milk make it an excellent substitute for cow’s milk and it even has several advantages over cow’s milk, such as less calories, lower levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), less saturated fat and less sugar.

However keep in mind that for children under 3 years of age, it is still recommended to consume cow’s milk or breast milk.

Jessica CaporuscioPharmD

“Compared to cow’s milk, almond milk has less saturated fat and more unsaturated fats. The healthful fats in almond milk may help people lose weight and keep it off.”.

In what situations 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 consumed in the morning. Drinking a glass of almond milk in the morning is a great way to activate digestive processes, which can help prevent problems such as constipation, inflammation and gas.

For breakfast, it is perfect to accompany almond milk with fruits and sugar-free granola. Also don’t forget that this drink helps to hydrate the body, so a daily habit helps to reach the 2 litres of water daily, as advised by experts.

Why is almond milk recommended for weight loss?

The low level of calories and high content of non-saturated fatty acids present in almond milk helps to facilitate weight loss. Both of these factors contribute to weight loss and sustained weight control as well as a reduction of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Almond milk also provides omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that improves the health of the heart. This helps the body’s metabolic function, which is vital when trying to lose weight. In addition, almonds are extremely rich in antioxidants, which contributes to fat burning.

Atli ArnarsonPhD, Medical News Today

“You can drink a lot of it without having to worry about weight gain. It is also nutrient dense, providing lots of nutrients relative to its calorie content.”.

What is the difference between almond milk and other vegetable drinks?

Although 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 vegetable drinks are rice milk, oat milk 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 cow’s milk, but 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 explained below.

Values per 100 ml Whole Cow’s Milk Almond Milk Oat Milk Soy Milk Rice Milk
Calories 62 27 40 39 49
Protein 3, 3 0, 5 1, 3 3, 1 0, 2
Fat 3, 3 1, 2 0, 9 1, 7 1
Carbohydrates 5, 4 3, 4 6, 3 2, 4 9, 7

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Can diabetics consume 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 a diabetic should make sure to consume almond milk that has no added sugars or any other preservatives or additives as this could cause blood sugar levels to rise.

Almond milk also provides omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that protects heart health.
(Source: Artem-Oleshko: 116563138/ 123rf.com)

Shopping Criteria

As we have explained throughout the article, there are a few things to keep in mind rather than just buying the most convenient almond milk. Most of these drinks are made without gluten and lactose, and with very low levels of sugar. There are however some products where sugars or other additives are added, which are not recommended.

The following purchase criteria can help you choose the right almond milk for you:

  • Nutritional Composition
  • Presence of gluten and lactose
  • Presence of added sugars or additives
  • Presence of allergens
  • Origin of ingredients

Nutritional Composition

Almond milk should not contain more than 50 calories per 100 mls. In addition, an almond milk product that is rich in calcium and vitamins should be chosen to replace cow’s milk. The level of saturated fat should be low, as this ensures good digestion and an opportunity to lose weight.

Presence of gluten and lactose

Lactose and gluten are generally absent in almond milk, but some brands warn that in the nutritional composition may contain traces of soybeans or peanuts (among others), which contain gluten. Special attention should be taken by coeliacs and lactose intolerant people with regard to this information.

Presence of added sugars or additives

Almond milk is naturally low in sugar however some brands sweeten the drink to improve the flavour. This completely breaks the nutritional composition of almond milk and should be avoided 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 issues.

Origin of ingredients

Most brands of almond milk contain 100% natural ingredientes, which is why almond milk suits those who wish to have a diet based on natural foods. However it is important to read the nutrition label carefully to see that the product does not contain additives or preservatives that may not be entirely natural.

Summary

Almond milk is a drink with a rich nutritional composition and numerous health benefits. In almost all cases it can replace cow’s milk and the low calorie and fat content is ideal for weight loss. This drink also helps to regulate blood cholesterol and improve digestion.

The other advantage of almond milk is that it is made without gluten or lactose, so for coeliacs and those who are lactose intolerant, it is a perfect alternative. It is however necessary to pay special attention to some brands that may include low doses of added sugars and unhealthy additives to their recipe.

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 conditions, helps the immune system and prevents gastrointestinal problems.

(Source of featured image: Anawat Sudchanham: 50307518/ 123rf.com)

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