Almond Milk: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Dr. Rajeev Singh
In recent times, there has been a rise in the popularity of plant-based foods. The popularity of veganism, allergy to cow’s milk and lactose intolerance led to rising demand for plant-based milk alternatives. Almond milk is the best choice due to its nutritional content.1
Almonds are the most consumed nuts in the world and the scientific name of the Almond is Prunus dulcis which belongs to the Rosaceae family. Almonds are highly nutritious and beneficial for health in many ways. The almond is an indigenous nut of Central Asia and currently, almonds are cultivated all over the world in the hot and dry Mediterranean regions. The USA, Spain and Australia are the top producers of almonds respectively. Almonds are considered a healthy snack and there are various products derived from it which might be equally healthy.2 In India we commonly call almonds badam and we simply eat them raw or use them for making delicious drinks like badam milk or badam shake. Almond milk is derived from almonds and is used as a plant-based milk alternative. Read along to find out more about almond milk and its potential uses.
Nutritional Value of Almond Milk:
Almond milk contains the energy of 19kcal in 100gms. It contains the following nutrients in it
Table 1: Depicting the nutrient content of almond milk per 100g3
Vitamins present in almond milk:
- Vitamin A (retinol)
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin D (cholecalciferol)3
Properties of Almond Milk:
Almond milk might possess the following properties:
- It might act as an antioxidant
- It might have a lipid-lowering property
- It may act as a laxative agent
- It might be a prebiotic
- It might boost immunity1
Potential Uses of Almond Milk for Overall Health:
Almond milk is a rich source of calcium and fats. It has a low-calorie count and is compared nutritionally better than other plant-based milk alternatives. It might have the following potential uses for human health.
1. Potential uses of almond milk for oxidative stress
Vitamin E cannot be prepared in the body and must obtain from the food source. Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E and contain a functional unit alpha-tocopherol which helps in deactivating the free radicals. Thus, Almond milk may eliminate or deactivate the free radicals and may help in reducing oxidative stress. Further research is needed to claim these properties of almond milk.1
2. Potential uses of almond milk for cholesterol
Almonds have a compound called arabinose in the walls of their cells. This compound might help in lowering blood cholesterol. Therefore, almond milk might have cholesterol-lowering properties. However, more research is required to confirm such claims.1
3. Potential uses of almond milk as a prebiotic
Prebiotics are components which help the growth of good bacteria in our body which facilitates good health. The arabinose present in almond cell walls might have a prebiotic potential and was further Mandalari et al., explored that almond seeds may act as prebiotic. It was further seen in the study that almonds might increase the population of the bacteria bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale. There is a need for more research to explore the potentiality of almond milk as a prebiotic.1
4. Potential uses of almond milk for the heart
Several studies have shown that the risk of coronary heart disease may decrease with the consumption of nuts. Moreover, the consumption of almonds has been included in the Portfolio Eating Plan for people with heart diseases, due to its potential cholesterol-lowering effect. It was observed that regular consumption of almonds might work as medicine which is prescribed by doctors for heart diseases (statin-like effect). This might be because almonds are low in saturated fats. Therefore, almond milk might be helpful in the maintenance of heart health and may safeguard the heart against coronary heart diseases.4 However, more research is required and consult a doctor for advice and do not self-medicate.
5. Potential uses of almond milk for weight management
A lower body mass index (ratio of fats to body mass, calculated based on individual height and weight) was observed in people who eat nuts frequently. It was seen in studies that almonds are rich in fibre and protein and might help in weight management by increasing satiety (satisfaction of eating) and suppressing appetite. This might help in lowering the glycaemic index (conversion of carbohydrates to glucose in the blood). Therefore, almond milk might also help in healthy weight management. However, more research is required, therefore, kindly consult a professional for advice.4
6. Potential uses of almond milk for diabetes
Several studies have shown that almond milk might lower the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose. Thus, it might help lower blood glucose levels by decreasing the glycaemic index (the ability of carbohydrates to increase blood glucose). Therefore, collectively, these effects might be helpful against diabetes. However, more research is required to prove the potentiality of almond milk for diabetes. Kindly consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and management of diabetes. Do not self-medicate.4
Though there are studies that show the potential uses of almond milk in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of almond milk on human health.
How to Use Almond Milk?
Almond milk can be drunk as it is available without adding anything to it. As it is a plant-based milk alternative, it can be used in all the ways that milk can be used. For example, it can be used for making your daily tea and coffee. You can also replace the milk in your cereal with almond milk. Likewise, you can use almond milk for making your favourite desserts too!
You must consult a qualified doctor before taking almond milk in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.
Side Effects of Almond Milk:
Almonds might induce an allergic reaction in some individuals. As almond milk is made out of almonds, it might also cause allergies. Around 1-2% of the people in the world are known to have food allergies and nuts have the potential to cause severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis). It might be fatal, therefore, people should be extremely careful and make sure that they are not allergic to almonds before consuming almonds. 4
Precautions to Take with Almond Milk:
People who are allergic to almonds should avoid almond milk as it can cause an allergic reaction. Almond milk might cause severe allergies in susceptible individuals. Therefore, kindly be cautious.4
Interactions with Other Drugs:
Almonds might react to drugs and alter their activity. However, no such specific information is available. There is a need for more research on this subject. Therefore, kindly consult and confirm with a doctor if it is safe for you to consume almond milk, especially if you are undergoing any treatment and are on medication for the same.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1) What are the almond milk benefits?
Almond milk might be helpful against diabetes, coronary heart diseases, oxidative stress, digestive problems, and cholesterol and may help in weight management. However, these effects need to be confirmed by further research. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor for the mentioned health problems and do not self-medicate.1,4
2) What are the badam milk benefits for the heart?
Badam milk might be good for the heart as it might have a cholesterol-lowering effect which might help the heart against coronary heart diseases. It may prove to be good for the maintenance of heart health.4 If you have any heart problems, consult the doctor and do not self-medicate.
3) Are there any benefits of almond milk for the skin?
There is insufficient data regarding the use of almond milk for skin. There is a need for more research on this subject.
4) Can we use almond milk for weight loss?
Almond milk might be helpful for weight management as it is rich in fibre and protein. This may help in lowering the glycaemic index and might supress the appetite by increasing satiety. However, kindly consult a doctor and seek proper medical guidance for healthy weight loss. Do not follow any diets without medical consultation as it can be harmful to your health.4
5) What are the side effects of almond milk?
Some people might be allergic to almonds and therefore cannot consume almond milk. It can cause severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) which can be fatal in susceptible individuals. Therefore, people who are allergic to almonds should not consume food products containing almonds or almond milk.4
1. Sethi S, Tyagi SK, Anurag RK. Plant-based milk alternatives an emerging segment of functional beverages: a review. J Food Sci Technol [Internet]. 2016 Sep 2;53(9):3408–23. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s13197-016-2328-3
2. Barreca D, Nabavi SM, Sureda A, Rasekhian M, Raciti R, Sanches Silva A, et al. Almonds (Prunus dulcis Mill. D. A. Webb): A source of nutrients and health-promoting compounds. Nutrients [Internet]. 2020;2020:672. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146189/
3. FoodData Central. Almond milk, unsweetened, plain, refrigerated [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. [cited 2022 Sep 1]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2257045/nutrients
4. Richardson DP, Astrup A, Cocaul A, Ellis P. The nutritional and health benefits of almonds: a healthy food choice. Food Sci Technol Bull Funct Foods [Internet]. 2009 Sep;6(4):41–50. Available from: http://www.atypon-link.com/IFIS/doi/abs/10.1616/1476-2137.15765
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
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