What's really in your Almond Milk?
As someone who has been lactose intolerant for the last 12 years, I was so excited when the nut milk craze finally came along. Coming from Melbourne (the coffee capital) I hated missing out on caffeine catch-ups with friends so often found myself resorting to Soy milk, even though I was concerned about the high levels of oestrogen.
I still can’t believe that now I can actually go into to a café/ supermarket and ask for Almond milk without getting looks like I’m completely deranged.
Almond milk is great because not only are you getting great nutritional benefits (vitamin E and magnesium) from the raw almonds, but it’s actually a lot easier to digest than most dairy milks which can often cause gas and bloating. In fact, almost 65% of the world’s population today struggle with digesting lactose after infancy.
While homemade almond milk is always the best, it can be time consuming so it’s great that there are now so many options at the supermarket. Unfortunately though, with so many varieties, some nasty additives and preservatives are starting to creep their way in.
To make things a little easier for you, I have put together a quick an easy checklist when you are next at the supermarket.
4 WAYS TO CHOOSE THE HEALTHIEST ALMOND MILK
Non GMO: Look for a brand that uses non GMO (not genetically modified) raw almonds. Altering the natural DNA of foods has been known to lead to health issues such as gastroenteritis and immunity issues. It’s better to let nature do its thing!
Unsweetened: Go for the original, unsweetened versions. Flavored almond milk such as vanilla and chocolate contain quite a lot of sugar adding unnecessary calories and carbohydrates. Your best bet is to go for an almond milk brand that lists zero grams of sugar per serving and has no added sweeteners. Plus you can always add your own raw honey to sweeten later.
No Additives: Many almond milk brands these days contain an ingredient called Carrageenan, a thickening agent derived from seaweed. Some studies suggest this may be harmful to the GI tract. If you have any sort of digestion issues or find that your almond milk isn't agreeing with you, your best bet is to find an almond milk brand that is carrageenan-free.
Extra Nutrients: When transitioning away from dairy (which can be a great source of protein and calcium), it's important to ensure you're still getting enough of both nutrients. Look for the brands of almond milk that have added protein, calcium, and even fiber.