Are you looking for a dairy-free alternative to stay hydrated?
Almond milk has become a popular choice for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. But is it really a good option for hydration?
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of almond milk as a hydrator. From its nutrient content to its impact on the environment, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this trendy milk alternative.
So grab a glass of almond milk and let’s dive in!
Is Almond Milk Good For Hydration?
Almond milk is mostly water, which makes it a good option for hydration. In fact, approximately 98% of almond milk is water, making it almost as good as plain old water for hydration.
Additionally, almond milk can deliver electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which are critical for maintaining hydration levels in the human body. Some almond milk brands also come fortified with calcium, which plays a key role in keeping the balance of electrolytes in the body.
However, it’s important to note that almond milk doesn’t offer as many nutrients as whole almonds. While almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, it doesn’t contain as much protein or fiber as whole almonds.
Furthermore, some almond milk brands may contain additives like thickeners, emulsifiers, and sugars. These additives can impact the nutritional value of the milk and may not be suitable for everyone.
Almond Milk’s Nutrient Profile
Almond milk is a low-calorie beverage that is a good source of several essential nutrients. A 3.5-ounce serving of plain, unsweetened almond milk contains only 15 calories and 0.3 grams of carbs, making it a great option for those following a low-carb diet or watching their calorie intake.
In addition, almond milk is high in vitamin E, with a 3.5-ounce serving containing 22% of the Daily Value (DV) for this nutrient. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Almond milk also contains vitamin D, which is important for bone health and immune function, as well as potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance in the body.
Fortified almond milk can also be a good source of calcium, with a 3.5-ounce serving containing 17% of the DV for this mineral. Calcium is important for bone health and muscle function.
However, it’s important to note that almond milk doesn’t contain as much protein or fiber as whole almonds. A 3.5-ounce serving of almond milk contains only 0.6 grams of protein and 0.3 grams of fiber, while the same amount of whole almonds contains 21 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Hydration Benefits Of Almond Milk
Almond milk has several hydration benefits that make it a great option for those looking to stay hydrated. Firstly, as mentioned earlier, almond milk is mostly water, which means it can help to keep your body hydrated.
Moreover, almond milk contains essential electrolytes like potassium and sodium, which are crucial for maintaining proper hydration levels in the body. These electrolytes help to regulate the balance of fluids in your body and keep you feeling hydrated.
Another key benefit of almond milk is its high content of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin E also helps to keep your skin healthy and glowing, which is an added bonus.
Almond milk is also low in calories and fat, making it an ideal choice for those looking to maintain or lose weight. It contains healthy fats that can help to lower the risk of heart disease and other health issues.
Finally, almond milk is a suitable alternative for those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. It’s also a popular choice for people following a vegan diet.
Drawbacks Of Almond Milk For Hydration
Despite its hydrating properties, almond milk also has some drawbacks when it comes to hydration. One of the main concerns is that almond milk is low in fat, which can lead to dehydration. Fat helps to slow down the absorption of fluids in the body, which means that without enough fat, the body may not be able to retain fluids as effectively.
Another concern is that almond milk is high in oxalates, which can increase the risk of kidney stones. While this risk is relatively low, it’s something to consider if you’re prone to kidney stones or have a history of kidney problems.
Additionally, some almond milk brands may be high in added sugars, which can have a negative impact on hydration levels. High sugar intake can cause an increase in urine output, which can lead to dehydration.
Finally, almond milk production requires a significant amount of water. Almond trees are very thirsty and require five liters of water to grow just one almond. This means that the production of almond milk can have a significant impact on water resources and may not be the most sustainable option for hydration.
Environmental Impact Of Almond Milk Production
While almond milk may be a good option for hydration, its production has significant environmental impacts. Almond trees require large amounts of water to grow, with one kernel of California almond requiring 12 liters of water. This raises questions about the industrial production of almonds in water-scarce areas like California, where most almonds are currently grown.
Furthermore, the high water consumption associated with almond milk production has a droughting effect on the environment. This impact is even higher when almond milk is consumed away from its main producing countries due to emissions associated with transportation.
Pesticide use is also a concern in almond production, as well as the high mortality of bees used for tree cross-pollination. Bees are exposed to pesticides, including glyphosate, and the intensive industrial agriculture which drastically transforms nature’s fragile ecosystems.
However, there are brands adopting sustainable methods of raising cattle or using agroecological methods of irrigating water into California’s almond crops to reduce the impacts of almond milk production. It’s important to ask brands for better proof of their CSR strategies along with their CSR reports and impacts to make informed choices.
Alternatives To Almond Milk For Hydration
While almond milk is a popular choice for hydration, there are other non-dairy alternatives that can offer similar benefits.
Coconut water is one such option that can be used as an almond milk alternative. However, it’s important to note that coconut water is different from coconut milk, as it’s the liquid inside a coconut rather than a mixture made from the fruit’s flesh. While coconut water can be hydrating, using it as a substitute for almond milk may not be suitable for everyone, as it can have a minimal nutty flavor compared to other nut milks.
Soy milk is another non-dairy alternative that can be a good source of hydration. It tends to have a rich, chalky taste and texture, unlike other milks, and contains more protein than almond milk. However, soy milk may not be suitable for those with soy allergies or sensitivities.
Oat milk is also gaining popularity as a non-dairy alternative for hydration. It’s made from oats and water, and can offer similar nutritional benefits to almond milk. Oat milk is also a good source of fiber and can be a good option for those with nut allergies.
Cashew milk is similar to almond milk in taste and texture, but is made from cashews instead of almonds. It’s sweet and has a minimal nutty flavor compared to other nut milks. Cashew milk is also lower in calories and sugar than almond milk.