If a popularity contest was held for all the non-dairy milks available these days, there’s no question almond milk would win the prize. It seems like it’s just about everywhere — at your local coffee shop, blended into your favorite smoothie, and maybe even in the back of your fridge at this very moment. While the nut milk is a well-loved option for those who are vegan or dairy-free, that’s not the whole story of what this plant-based milk has to offer. In fact, almond milk has a handful of other nutritional benefits up its sleeve that just might surprise you.
1. It’s Keto-Friendly
As long as the almond milk you choose to drink is unsweetened, it’s a low-carb, keto-friendly choice. Unsweetened almond milk contains just 2 grams of carbohydrate per cup, 1 gram of net carbs, and 1 gram of sugar.
Not only is this useful for those following a ketogenic diet, it also means almond milk has a low glycemic index, which is a value assigned to foods based on how quickly or slowly they cause blood sugar to rise. Since almond milk won’t cause your blood sugar to spike, it helps keep energy levels stable and can even lower your risk for diabetes.
2. It’s a Good Source of Heart-Healthy Fats
Almonds are a rich source of heart-healthy fats, which means some of that goodness carries over into almond milk, too. Almond milk contains no saturated fat or dietary cholesterol. Instead, it’s got a couple of grams of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat in each 1 cup servings. Both of these fats work to keep your heart happy by preventing high blood pressure and heart disease.
3. It’s Full of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that can slow or prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals, which are molecules the body produces in response to internal and external stressors. While the body produces some of these antioxidants, most are found in plant-based nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Almonds are a naturally rich source of vitamin E, which means 1 cup of almond milk contains 20% of your daily needs. However, almond milk is often fortified in order to provide even more vitamin E, for a total of 50% of your daily needs. Dairy milk, on the other hand, doesn’t contain any.
Vitamin E is not only a powerful antioxidant, it’s important for bone, eye, skin, and brain health, as well as a preventative against cancer and heart disease.
4. It Can Be an Easy Way to Get Your Calcium Fix
While almond milk is not a naturally good source of calcium, many brands on the market fortify it in order to give it about the same calcium content as dairy milk, if not a little more. When enriched, 1 cup of almond milk provides 35 to 45% of your daily calcium needs. The same amount of dairy milk contains roughly 30%.
Calcium is crucial for bone health, and it keeps your heart, muscles, and nerves healthy and running. Just keep it mind that this benefit doesn’t apply to homemade almond milk or brands that aren’t fortified.