Those looking for a dairy-free milk substitute have probably stumbled across almond milk and wondered, "Is almond milk good for you?" Whether you're a vegan, sensitive to milk or just don't like the taste, almond milk is a fabulous alternative.
While almond milk is becoming more and more popular, it's important to note that it doesn't provide as much protein or calcium to be a complete substitute, so make sure you receive adequate amounts from other sources. One cup only has one gram of protein versus 8 grams in cow's milk, and 2 milligrams of calcium versus 300 milligrams in cow's milk. As with everything you buy, make sure to check the labels and purchase almond milk that contains the least amount of preservatives and other additives.
It helps with weight management: One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim. It makes for a great substitute that will help you lose or maintain your current weight.
It keeps your heart healthy: There's no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It's also low in sodium and high in healthy fats (such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish), which helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.
It keeps your bones strong: While it doesn't offer as much calcium as cow's milk, almond milk does offer 30 percent of the recommended daily amount, as well as 25 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin D, reducing your risk for arthritis and osteoporosis and improving your immune function. Plus, these two nutrients work together to provide healthy bones and teeth formation.
It keeps your skin glowing: Almond milk contains 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which contains antioxidant properties essential to your skin's health, such as protecting it against sun damage. It barely impacts your blood sugar: Almond milk (with no additives) is low in carbs, which means it won't significantly increase your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for diabetes. Because of its low glycemic index, your body will use the carbs as energy so the sugars aren't stored as fat (score!).
It contributes to muscle strength and healing: Although almond milk only contains 1 gram of protein per serving, it contains plenty of B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, both important for muscle growth and healing. It keeps your digestion in check: Almond milk contains almost one gram of fiber per serving, which is important for healthy digestion.
It doesn't contain lactose: Lactose intolerance impacts about 25% of the US population, which means they have difficulty digesting the sugar in cow's milk. This makes almond milk a suitable, lactose-free substitute. It doesn't require refrigeration: Knowing that you don't have to refrigerate almond milk means you'll be more likely to take it with you to work, or on a camping trip. It's perfectly fine at room temperature which makes it a convenient, nutritious staple to pack, automatically upping your daily intake of all the fabulous nutrients above.
The writer is an online activist and contributor at www.lifehack.org
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