advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
How Healthy Is Almond Milk?

What can you tell me about almond milk? Do you consider it a healthy alternative to soy milk or cow's milk? If not, what do you regard as the best option?

A
Answer (Published 3/14/2013)

Almond milk is becoming increasingly popular as a reasonable alternative to cow's milk or soy milk. However, almond milk doesn't provide enough protein to be direct substitute for those products. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use it, but if you do, be sure that you get adequate protein from other sources.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

If you're trying to get away from cow's milk, I usually recommend switching to soy milk. It is widely available and provides more protein than other "milks" on the market. It also has a creamy texture, but you need to be aware that some brands contain additives and thickeners, including carrageenan, which should be avoided. If you are allergic to soy or dislike soy milk, almond milk is a good choice as long as you pay attention to your protein intake.

Commercially available almond milk is often enriched with vitamins A and D, as well as calcium, to make it seem more like regular milk. (Almonds provide some calcium, but not as much as cow's milk.) Almond milk is low in calories compared to other milk substitutes and contains some heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

Be sure to check the labels of almond milk before you buy, because some brands contain preservatives, and other additives. Note that you can make almond milk at home – an easy process, requiring only organic raw almonds, water and a little sugar or other sweetener. You can find many recipes online.

You might also try oat, hemp or rice milk. Oat milk provides more fiber than other milk substitutes and was shown in a Swedish study to help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and total cholesterol.

Hemp milk, made by pulverizing the seeds, blending them with water and straining out the solid residue, provides both omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids in a healthy three-to-one ratio. Other nutrients in hemp milk include magnesium, phytosterols, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, iron, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin and thiamin. The milk also contains 10 essential amino acids, making it a decent vegetarian source of protein. Hemp seeds and nuts are not allergens, so the milk is a safe option for those allergic to tree nuts or soy.

Rice milk is my least favorite dairy substitute because it offers few nutritional benefits unless it is fortified. It also typically contains many additives to improve its texture. I recommend it only to those with soy, gluten or tree-nut allergies or sensitivities who cannot tolerate cow's milk.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here