Are you considering switching to almond milk but worried about missing out on the calcium found in regular milk?
With so many plant-based milk options available, it can be overwhelming to know which one is the best choice for your health.
While almond milk may not naturally contain as much calcium as cow’s milk, there are fortified options that come close.
In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional differences between almond milk and regular milk, and help you make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
So, let’s dive in!
Does Almond Milk Have The Same Calcium As Regular Milk?
When it comes to calcium, cow’s milk is often considered the gold standard. It’s a great source of absorbable dietary calcium, which is essential for the normal development and maintenance of bones, as well as playing a role in muscle and heart function.
But what about almond milk? Does it have the same amount of calcium as regular milk?
The answer is no, not naturally. Unlike cow’s milk, almond milk is not naturally high in calcium. However, many brands of almond milk are fortified with calcium to make up for this.
On average, cow’s milk contains about 40% more calcium compared to almond milk. But if you choose a calcium-fortified brand of almond milk, you can get a similar amount of calcium as regular milk.
According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, alternatives in the dairy food group (such as almond milk) are acceptable as long as they are fortified with at least 100mg of calcium per 100mL of milk. This is because low intakes of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, which is one of the major causes of morbidity amongst older Australians, particularly postmenopausal women.
So, if you’re considering switching to almond milk but want to make sure you’re getting enough calcium, look for a brand that is fortified with at least 100mg of calcium per 100mL of milk.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Milk
Regular milk is a nutrient-dense beverage that provides a variety of essential nutrients. It is a great source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B12, and protein. Calcium is particularly important for bone health, and regular milk is an excellent source of absorbable dietary calcium. Magnesium plays a role in muscle and nerve function, while potassium helps regulate blood pressure. Riboflavin and folate are important for energy production and cell growth, while vitamin B12 is essential for the production of red blood cells and the proper functioning of the nervous system. Protein is important for building and repairing tissues, as well as maintaining muscle mass.
Compared to almond milk, regular milk contains significantly more calcium. While some brands of almond milk are fortified with calcium to make up for this, regular milk remains a better natural source of this essential nutrient. Additionally, regular milk contains vitamin D, which is important for the absorption of calcium and the strengthening of bones. Almond milk typically does not contain much vitamin D naturally and often has to be artificially fortified with this essential nutrient.
Almond Milk: A Plant-Based Alternative
Almond milk is a popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk, especially for those who are vegan or lactose intolerant. While it may not have the same natural benefits as cow’s milk, such as protein and readily absorbed nutrients, it is still a nutritious option.
Almonds themselves are deserving of nutritional praise, as they are packed with protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, and healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs). However, the milling and processing of almonds into milk means that some of these nutrients are lost.
One major advantage of almond milk is that it is lower in calories than cow’s milk. It also contains monounsaturated fats that may help prevent the accumulation of abdominal fat and aid in the management of diabetic health complications.
When it comes to calcium, almond milk is not naturally high in this mineral. However, many brands of almond milk are fortified with calcium to make up for this. Almond milk can be a good source of calcium as long as you choose a brand that is fortified with at least 100mg of calcium per 100mL of milk.
In addition to calcium, almond milk also contains vitamins A and E, which are essential for healthy skin. Vitamin A helps to keep skin cells renewing at a healthy rate, while vitamin E provides antioxidant protection against damage from UV rays and other environmental stressors. Almond milk also contains fatty acids that help to maintain the skin’s barrier function and keep it hydrated.
Natural Calcium Content In Almond Milk
Although almonds themselves are a fairly good source of calcium, almond milk is not naturally high in this mineral. The calcium added to almond milk is usually tricalcium phosphate, which is the same form that occurs naturally in cow’s milk. Many food companies fortify almond milk with amounts of calcium roughly similar to cow’s milk. However, it’s important to note that the added calcium in plant-based milks may not be absorbed as well as the calcium found in cow’s milk.
A cup of almond milk provides about 482mg of calcium, or about 45% of your recommended daily intake if you follow a 2,000 calorie per day diet. All of the calcium in almond milk is added by the producer; it doesn’t naturally occur in almonds. For reference, one cup of cow’s milk provides about 276mg calcium, or about 28% of your daily needs.
It’s also worth noting that some people may not absorb all of the added calcium in almond milk since it contains a natural compound called phytate that inhibits calcium absorption. However, for most people, consuming a calcium-fortified brand of almond milk can be an acceptable alternative to cow’s milk to help meet their daily calcium needs.
Fortified Almond Milk: A Calcium-Rich Option
Fortified almond milk is a calcium-rich option for those who want to switch to a plant-based milk but still want to ensure they’re getting enough calcium in their diets. Many major almond milk brands, such as Blue Diamond and Alpro, fortify their almond milk with calcium to make sure that anyone following a vegan diet is on track to achieve their daily calcium requirements.
In fact, both cow’s milk and fortified almond milk contain around the same amount of calcium per 100ml, which is 120mg. This means that if you choose a calcium-fortified brand of almond milk, you can get a similar amount of calcium as regular milk.
It’s important to note that not all almond milk brands are fortified with calcium. Organic almond milk, for example, is not fortified with calcium. So if you’re looking for a calcium-rich option, make sure to check the label and choose a brand that has been fortified.
Fortified almond milk is also a great option for those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. It’s naturally lower in calories and fat compared to cow’s milk and contains heart-healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fatty acids and vitamins E and A.
Comparing The Calcium Content Of Almond Milk And Regular Milk
When it comes to comparing the calcium content of almond milk and regular milk, it’s important to note that dairy products are the richest dietary source of calcium. In contrast, almonds are a poor source of this nutrient.
A cup of commercial almond milk may contain 37% or more of your daily calcium needs, depending on the type and brand. In comparison, a cup of cow’s milk may contain around 23% of your daily need, depending on the type and brand.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that the added calcium in plant-based milks may not be absorbed as well as the calcium found in cow’s milk. There is evidence to suggest that the added calcium in plant-based milks is not absorbed as well as the calcium found in cow’s milk.
Regular consumption of enriched almond milk may reduce the risk of osteoporosis among those who don’t consume dairy products. However, it’s important to note that cow’s milk is an excellent source of absorbable dietary calcium. If you choose almond milk as an alternative, it is important to look for a calcium-fortified brand to ensure you are consuming enough calcium in your diet.
In terms of raw numbers, almond milk has 63% more calcium than whole milk – whole milk has 113mg of calcium per 100 grams and almond milk has 184mg of calcium. However, it’s important to remember that the amount of calcium you absorb from almond milk may be less than what you absorb from cow’s milk.
Other Nutritional Differences Between Almond Milk And Regular Milk
Aside from calcium, there are other nutritional differences between almond milk and regular milk. For starters, almond milk is naturally lower in calories compared to regular milk. A cup of almond milk contains only about 30-60 calories, while a cup of regular milk contains around 150 calories. This makes almond milk a good option for those who are watching their weight or trying to lose weight.
Almond milk is also a good option for those who are lactose intolerant. Regular milk contains lactose, which is a type of sugar that many people have difficulty digesting. Almond milk, on the other hand, is lactose-free, making it easier on the digestive system.
Another difference is the fat content. Almond milk is naturally low in fat, with only 3 grams of fat per cup. Regular milk, on the other hand, contains more fat, with around 8 grams of fat per cup. However, it’s important to note that some brands of almond milk may contain added sugars or thickeners, which can increase the calorie and fat content.
Almond milk also contains more vitamin E compared to regular milk. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the body against inflammation and certain diseases like heart disease and cancer. Almonds are naturally high in vitamin E, and some producers add even more to their almond milk products.
Lastly, almond milk is a good option for those with kidney problems. Regular milk contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium, which can be harmful to those with kidney disease. Almond milk, on the other hand, contains lower levels of these minerals, making it a safer choice for those with kidney issues.