Are you a fan of almond milk?
It’s a popular dairy-free alternative that’s become a staple in many households.
But have you ever wondered about its nutritional value? Specifically, is almond milk high in omega-6 fatty acids?
In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question and more.
We’ll take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of almond milk, including its protein content, potential additives, and the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
So, if you’re curious about the nutritional profile of this trendy milk alternative, keep reading!
Is Almond Milk High In Omega 6?
Almond milk is a popular dairy-free alternative that’s enjoyed by many. But is it high in omega-6 fatty acids?
The answer is yes, almond milk is high in omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, a 12 oz. glass of homemade almond milk contains a whopping 6,540 mgs of omega-6.
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for normal growth and development, but the body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega-6s can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals.
While almond milk does contain some benefits of the nut itself, such as protein, magnesium, and fiber, it’s important to note that almond milk is lower in calories and protein compared to dairy milk and almonds themselves.
Additionally, since almond milk is essentially stripped of nutrients during the process of making it, manufacturers often add in additives such as sugar, carrageenan, and gums to help keep it from separating. It’s important to read labels and make the best choice possible when purchasing store-bought almond milk.
The Nutritional Benefits Of Almond Milk
Despite being lower in calories and protein compared to dairy milk and almonds themselves, almond milk still provides several beneficial nutrients.
One of the most notable nutritional benefits of almond milk is its high vitamin E content. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals, which can cause damage to cells and contribute to the development of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. In fact, a 3.5-ounce portion of almond milk contains 22% of the recommended daily vitamin E requirement.
Almond milk is also a good source of magnesium, a mineral that many American diets fall short on. Magnesium is important for muscle function, blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation, and bone health.
In addition, almond milk is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the body. While almond milk is high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals, it’s important to note that the body needs a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids for normal growth and development.
Furthermore, many commercial brands of almond milk are fortified with calcium, an essential mineral for bone health. Getting enough calcium helps keep bones strong and can help the body fight osteoporosis.
Potential Additives In Almond Milk To Watch Out For
When it comes to store-bought almond milk, there are potential additives that you should watch out for. One common additive is carrageenan, which is used as a thickener and emulsifier. Carrageenan has been linked to gastrointestinal disease and inflammation, so it’s best to opt for carrageenan-free brands when possible.
Another additive to be aware of is added sugars. Some almond milks contain added sugars to mimic the taste profile of cow’s milk. Sweetened almond milk can have as much as 20 grams of sugar per serving, which can increase your risk of weight gain, dental cavities, and other chronic conditions. It’s recommended to choose unsweetened and unflavored almond milk or add a small amount of your preferred sweetener if needed.
Processed almond milk can also contain other additives such as salt, flavors, and gums like gellan gum. While these additives are generally safe unless consumed in extremely high amounts, it’s important to read ingredient lists and choose products with simple, recognizable ingredients.
Finally, some almond milks may contain synthetic vitamins or other unwanted additives. It’s important to read labels carefully and choose products with minimal added ingredients. Homemade almond milk may be a healthier option since you have control over the ingredients used.
Understanding The Omega-6 To Omega-3 Ratio In Almond Milk
To understand the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in almond milk, it’s important to first understand what these fatty acids are and their roles in the body. Omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are called polyunsaturated fats and are essential nutrients that the body needs for normal growth and development. However, the body doesn’t have the enzymes to produce them, so they must be obtained through diet.
While both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids have important roles in processes like blood clotting and inflammation, they don’t have the same effects. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation may be one of the leading drivers of serious modern diseases, including heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and many types of cancer.
One cup of whole almonds contains 17,440 mg of omega-6 (only 8.6 mg of omega-3 a ratio of 2008:1) and each cup of almonds produces approximately 4 cups of almond milk. This means that each cup of almond milk contains about 4,360 mg of inflammatory omega-6.
While almond milk does contain some benefits of the nut itself, such as protein, magnesium, and fiber, it’s important to note that the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids in almond milk can contribute to inflammation in the body if consumed in excess.
It’s recommended to strive for a ratio closer to 1 to 1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet. Hemp milk is a good alternative for those with nut or soy allergies who are looking for a product that contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a balanced ratio. It’s important to read labels carefully when purchasing store-bought hemp milk as they may contain added sweeteners and thickening agents.
The Effects Of Consuming Too Much Omega-6
Consuming too much omega-6 can have negative effects on the body. While omega-6 fatty acids are important for proper cell function, excess consumption can lead to inflammation. This is because omega-6 fatty acids are converted into pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body.
Inflammation is a healthy bodily response, but chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of health problems and chronic diseases. In fact, studies have shown that high levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.
It’s important to note that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the diet is also important. While both types of fatty acids are necessary for good health, most people consume too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. A healthy ratio is around 1:1, but the modern American diet has a ratio as high as 25:1.
To improve the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s in the diet, it’s recommended to eat more foods rich in omega-3s such as fatty fish, flaxseed, and chia seeds. Additionally, limiting intake of processed foods and vegetable oils high in omega-6s such as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and canola can help improve the balance of fatty acids in the diet.
How To Incorporate Almond Milk Into A Balanced Diet
Despite the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids in almond milk, it can still be incorporated into a balanced diet. Here are some tips on how to do so:
1. Use almond milk in moderation: Almond milk can be used as a substitute for dairy milk in recipes, but it’s important to use it in moderation. Consider using half almond milk and half dairy milk to reduce the overall omega-6 content.
2. Make your own almond milk: Making your own almond milk at home allows you to control the ingredients and avoid additives. Soaking and blending raw almonds with water is a simple way to make your own almond milk.
3. Choose unsweetened almond milk: Many store-bought almond milks contain added sugar, which can contribute to inflammation and other health issues. Opt for unsweetened varieties to avoid excess sugar.
4. Balance your omega-6 intake: Since omega-6 fatty acids are essential for our health, it’s important to balance our intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating foods high in omega-3s, such as fatty fish, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, can help balance out the omega-6 content in almond milk.