Almond milk has become increasingly popular in recent years as more people seek out plant-based alternatives to dairy milk. With its mild flavor and creamy texture, almond milk makes a tasty substitute in things like cereal, oatmeal, smoothies and baking.
Beyond taste, many enjoy almond milk for its perceived health benefits. Compared to dairy milk, almond milk is lower in calories and fat while containing no cholesterol or lactose, good source of vitamins & minerals.
But does drinking almond milk every day really make an impact on your health and body? What exactly happens when you consistently swap dairy for almonds? Let's take a closer look at some of the changes you may notice from regular almond milk consumption.
One key benefit of choosing almond milk is digestive health. Unlike dairy milk, almond milk contains no lactose which many people are intolerant or allergic to. For lactose-intolerant individuals, cutting out dairy can help reduce bloating, gas and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
The fiber content in almonds, which carries over into almond milk, also supports digestion. Dietary fiber aids in promoting regularity and preventing constipation by adding bulk to stool. It also feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut microbiome.
Drinking almond milk daily provides a steady supply of soluble and insoluble fiber to keep things moving smoothly through your system. Over time, this may translate to improved regularity, softer stools and an optimally functioning digestive tract overall.
Drinking almond milk every day could potentially improve your complexion. That's because it provides key nutrients that are good for skin health, both externally and internally.
First, almond milk is a source of vitamin E, one of the most potent antioxidants. Alpha-tocopherol, one form of vitamin E found in almonds, helps combat free radical damage to skin cells. This reduces signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles over time.
Almond milk also delivers good amounts of vitamins A and D as well as riboflavin (vitamin B2) - all important for skin health. Vitamins A and D play roles in cell turnover while riboflavin aids collagen production. A daily supply of these from almond milk nourishes and protects skin.
Some research even suggests vitamin E from almond consumption may help reduce acne when taken regularly. So consistently choosing almond milk could lead to clearer, smoother and more youthful-looking skin overall.
Bone Health Boost
The bone benefits of regularly drinking almond milk are two-fold. First, it provides vitamin K, an often underrated but essential nutrient for bone health. Vitamin K is needed to activate osteocalcin, a protein involved in binding calcium to the skeleton.
Almond milk also delivers calcium. While the calcium content is lower than dairy, it still provides a nice amount - about 30% of your daily needs in one cup. Getting calcium through food instead of supplements allows for optimal absorption too.
Over the long run, regularly meeting calcium needs through almond milk intake may lower osteoporosis and fracture risk by keeping bones dense and strong. It helps balance out acid levels in the body as well, making it easier for calcium to be drawn from the bloodstream into bones where it's required.
With time, the vitamin K and calcium you get from daily almond milk could translate to measurably improved bone mineral density and structure. This especially helps prevent age-related bone loss and the risk of fragility fractures down the line.
Heart Health Perks
Drinking almond milk every day boasts a number of benefits for cardiovascular health and lowering heart disease risk. For one, almonds in general have been linked in studies to reduced levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol.
Almond milk is linked to these same heart perks. Replacing a dairy option with almond milk means swapping saturated fat for the unsaturated fats in almonds, which are heart-healthy. This can help optimize cholesterol numbers over the long run.
Other heart-protective components found in almonds and almond milk include alpha-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), fiber, magnesium, potassium and plant compounds called phytosterols. All of these work together to promote healthy blood pressure and reduce inflammation.
Over time, the cumulative effect of daily almond milk intake may translate to measurable decreases in blood pressure, a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome and an improved heart health profile overall. This can significantly lower chances of cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke.
Weight Management Aid
Many who drink almond milk in place of dairy find it helps with weight control efforts and overall weight management. Almond milk packs fewer calories and fat grams than its dairy counterpart. One cup of unsweetened almond milk contains just 60 calories versus dairy milk's 150.
It also contains protein and fiber to keep you feeling fuller for longer. The combination of these satiating nutrients plus lower calorie density can help reduce unwanted snack cravings and overeating tendencies.
Drinking almond milk is an easy dietary tweak that likely won't stall weight loss when combined with calorie deficit and exercise. At the same time, it helps ensure adequate calcium and vitamin D intake even in weight loss which protects against loss of lean muscle mass.
Over the long haul, consistently choosing almond milk in place of dairy makes it a bit easier to maintain a calorie deficit and control daily intake. This gradual calorie shaving effect adds up and aids efforts to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
Improved Energy Levels
The nutrient profile of almond milk makes it an energizing choice that may boost stamina and endurance when enjoyed daily. Rich in riboflavin (vitamin B2), magnesium, potassium as well as high-quality plant protein, it provides fuel for active lifestyles.
Riboflavin acts as an coenzyme in energy production while magnesium aids the efficient transfer of energy within cells. Potassium supports nerve and muscle function too. Plus, protein from almonds keeps you feeling full yet satiated enough to exercise.
Over time these nutrients coupled with hydration from milk may translate to higher energy and less midday fatigue compared to when drinking dairy. Others notice an upswing in stamina on days they drink their almond milk versus water alone.
Incorporating almond milk into an active routine provides an easily digestible fuel source to power you through workouts and the day. This likely boosts productivity and enjoyment of exercise in both short and long term compared to non-nutritive choices.
Almond milk also boasts nutrients and properties that may have positive effects on mood and cognitive function when enjoyed regularly.
Specifically, magnesium and vitamin B2 have been linked to lowered risk of anxiety and depression according to some studies. Magnesium helps regulate neurotransmitters while riboflavin supports brain energy levels.
Almonds also contain healthy fats and are a good source of tryptophan - an amino acid precursor to mood-lifting serotonin. These fats absorb and shuttle tryptophan into the brain where it activates joy and pleasure centers.
Over the long run, the sustained mood and brain benefits of almond milk may translate to lower stress levels and feelings of happiness, relaxation and well-being. This improves your quality of life overall. Some early research even links almond consumption to better memory and focus.
While more evidence is still needed, it's plausible that the above nutrients paired with hydration from milk may lift your mood and energy gradually when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Make sure to also get enough quality sleep, exercise and social interaction for optimal mental wellness.
Reduced Disease Risk
Drinking almond milk daily in place of dairy may help lower risks of certain chronic diseases, especially when combined with other heart-healthy habits.
For starters, almond milk consumption is linked to beneficial effects on risk factors like optimal cholesterol and blood pressure levels which protects against cardiovascular disease long term. It likewise has anti-inflammatory mechanisms to counter inflammation around cells.
Research also suggests almonds may exert protective effects against diabetes by supporting stable blood sugar levels and decreasing insulin resistance.
paired with weight control could lower chances of metabolic syndrome.
Some potential anticancer effects have also been associated with almonds. Their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and prebiotic properties aid detoxification and help prevent cellular damage that leads to cancer initiation and growth over years. Early research hints at mammary and colon cancer risk reduction in particular.
While more human trials are still needed to say for sure, it's plausible that daily almond milk consumption, as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, could lead to substantial disease prevention decades down the line.
Potential Risks and Downsides
Now that you have an idea of the upside of drinking almond milk regularly, it's important to also note any potential downsides you should be aware of:
- Allergies: Some have true nut allergies like tree nut or almond allergy. For these individuals, almond milk can cause dangerous reactions. Check with your allergist before routine consumption.
- Thinning bones: Non-dairy milks like almond provide calcium but often far less than dairy milk. For those without balanced intake elsewhere, it may not fully support bone mineral density if used as sole milk choice.
- Sugar content: Some almond milks are quite sugary due to additives. Opt for unsweetened varieties and watch out for added sugars in nutrition labels.
- Resource intensity: Almonds require more water and land resources than some other plant milks. Consider your environmental impact if choosing almond regularly as sole milk option.
- Cost: Almond milk tends to cost more per serving than cow's milk at the grocery store, though may be worthwhile for the nutrition and digestion benefits.
Regularly drinking almond milk appears to offer notable health perks when chosen as part of an overall balanced diet. Focus on lower sugar varieties and balance it with other calcium sources like leafy greens if relying on almond milk as primary milk choice.
While more research is still needed, swapping dairy for almond milk on a daily basis seems to slowly but surely optimize factors like digestion, skin health, bone strength, heart health, mood and disease prevention over the long haul.