Q.Does drinking almond “milk” provide the same health benefits as consuming the actual nut?
A. Drinking almond milk may share some of the healthy properties of eating almonds, but it’s not quite the same as consuming the actual nuts, according to Helen M. Rasmussen, PhD, RD, senior research dietitian at Tufts’ Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. To make “milk,” almonds are soaked in water until soft, then blended into water to create a consistency similar to dairy milk; finally, any solid particles are removed.
Low in saturated fat, almond milk instead contains heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, much like the nuts. When fortified, almond milk contains roughly as much vitamin D and vitamin A as dairy milk, and typically two-thirds the calcium; it has no vitamin B12, however, and less phosphorus and potassium than dairy. Although low in protein, almond milk’s minimal calories and saturated fat make it a good choice for adults who otherwise are eating a diet with adequate protein and other nutrients.
For more on non-dairy “milks,” see our September 2013 Special Report.