Aside from being dairy-free, almond milk contains protein, calcium, vitamins, and sometimes even fiber—if you choose the right one. Choose the wrong almond milk, and you might end up with some unexpected ingredients like additives and sugar. Here's how to navigate the many options:
"When choosing an almond milk, you want to look for a few things," says dietitian and creator of the F-Factor Diet Tanya Zuckerbrot. "First, it is important to opt for the unsweetened varieties, preferably original or natural vanilla flavor because sweetened and flavored almond milk can add a lot of unnecessary calories and carbohydrates." The best bet is an almond milk that lists zero grams of sugar per serving and has no sugar or sweeteners in the ingredients list.
Pay Attention to Additives
There's an ingredient in many almond milk brands called carrageneen, a thickening agent derived from seaweed. While most people have no issues with it, "some studies suggest it may be harmful to the GI tract," says Zuckerbrot. Again, this is just a remote possibility, but if you have any sort of digestion issues or find that your almond milk isn't agreeing with you, Zuckerbrot says your best bet is to find an almond milk brand that is carrageenan-free.
Consider Extra Nutrients
If you are just now switching from regular milk to almond milk, "it is a good idea to choose brands with extra protein added," says Zuckerbrot. 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. Many brands of almond milk have added protein, calcium, and even fiber.
At Mr. Green Juice, we believe in giving you nutrient dense almond milk without sacrificing flavour. To lightly sweeten our almond milk we use Vanilla bean, organic maple syrup and Medjool dates. The dietary fiber in dates helps to move waste smoothly through your colon and helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol absorption by binding with substances containing cancer-causing chemicals. Our dairy-free milk alternative, slightly sweetened with dates and hints of vanilla is the perfect addition to your morning granola or hot coffee.
Healthy Diet: Eating with Mental Health in Mind. (n.d.). Retrieved November 22, 2015, from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/healthy-diet-eating-mental-health-mind