Almond milk is a beverage made by crushing and pulverizing almonds and soaking them in water, then filtering off the solids.
The result is a tasty and nutrition beverage that’s an excellent source of many of the healthy compounds in almonds, like their polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
While almond milk tastes sweet, its actual sugar content is practically zero, and it compares especially well to other milk substitutes on this front.
Whether you are vegan, lactose-intolerant, or just want something that doesn’t spoil as fast as dairy milk, almond milk is one of the healthiest milk substitutes you can get.
Looking for a high-quality almond milk to add to your diet? We’ve ranked the ten best almond milk products on the market. Read on for details.
1. Silk Almond Milk
Silk makes a range of dairy substitutes, and their almond milk products are fantastic. If you prefer the naturally mild and slightly tangy flavor of almond milk, go for the original unsweetened almond milk.
If you prefer something tasting a little lighter, you can get vanilla, which is still unsweetened which keeps the carb content at less than a gram per serving.
Most of the calories come from the healthy fats in almond milk, and Silk adds in the nutrients you’d get in regular fortified milk too, like calcium, vitamin D, and zinc. For all of these reasons, it’s our number one pick.
2. Almond Breeze Almond Milk
Almond Breeze Almond Milk achieves a smooth and creamy taste thanks to including emulsifiers like sunflower lecithin alongside almonds and water in this almond milk product.
The result is a beverage that’s a little closer to milk when it comes to frothiness, and with fortified vitamins and minerals, you don’t need to worry about nutritional deficiencies.
3. Kirkland Signature Organic Unsweetened Almond Milk
Kirkland Signature is notable for its organic almond milk, so if you want to be sure that your almond milk is free of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, it’s a good choice.
Almonds grow directly on trees, and the raw almond material is soaked in water to create almond milk, so any residue from pesticides sprayed on to the almond trees stands a decent chance of making it into the final product if the almonds aren’t thoroughly washed. Going the organic route helps avoid this problem.
4. Elmhurst Milked Almonds
Elmhurst Milked Almonds is an almond milk product that’s about as pure as you can get. With exactly two ingredients (water and almonds), Elmhurst Milked Almonds have all the nutrient value in almonds with zero additives.
This makes it a great choice for people who are on a keto, whole 30, or low sugar diet. The only drawback to this super pure approach is the lack of nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.
Since these don’t naturally occur in almonds, you won’t get them from this almond milk. As long as the rest of your diet or supplementation regimen includes these, you’ll be fine.
5. Rude Health Ultimate Almond
Rude Health Ultimate Almond is a high-end almond milk that uses spring water and organically-grown almonds to make an ultra-pure beverage.
Because the only two ingredients are almonds and water, it’s a good pick for purists, though it suffers from the lack of nutrients that’s inherent in any almond milk beverage that’s not fortified with things like vitamin D and calcium. Users find it especially useful for great-tasting lattes and chai tea.
6. Califia Farms Almondmilk
Califia Farms Almondmilk is a more approachable almond milk for people who find regular, unsweetened almond milk too watery and unpalatable.
It’s a sweeter and more enjoyable drink, though this comes at the expense of some added sugar, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.
This probably rules it out for keto and low sugar dieters, even though it’s only got 5 grams of sugar per serving. For occasional use, however, it’s still a good choice if the moderate sugar content doesn’t bother you.
7. Pacific Barista Series Original Almond Beverage
Trying to make lattes or add milk to your morning coffee, but want to eliminate dairy? Pacific Barista Series has the perfect answer.
This sweet, thick and creamy almond milk blends up into a frothy mixture very well thanks to the presence of numerous emulsifiers, and it adds a distinctly sweet kick to any beverage.
However, it does have a considerable amount of sugar, so it’s a no-go for anyone trying to keep their sugar or carbohydrate intake down.
8. Orgain Organic Protein Almond Milk
Orgain Organic Protein Almond Milk was created to solve one of the key problems with most dairy substitutes: their lack of protein.
One of the reasons milk is such a useful and versatile beverage is because it has a pretty good protein profile, with both whey and casein protein.
Organ uses pea protein, a great source of many amino acids, to make up for the lack of protein in natural almond milk.
This gives it ten grams of protein per serving, though the downside is that it also has seven grams of sugar, since it also includes cane sugar for flavoring.
9. Pacific Foods Organic Almond Milk
Pacific Foods makes a popular almond milk that tastes sweet, but falls short on a few critical benchmarks. It’s fortified with vitamins and minerals, but notably, not calcium.
In addition, its sugar content is quite high, at ten grams per serving. This makes it a mediocre choice for health and wellness, so unless you need sweetened almond milk for something specific, there are other options that would be a better choice.
10. 365 Everyday Value Organic Almond Milk
365 Everyday Value Organic Almond Milk is pretty popular, though its ingredient design is a bit dated. Among manufacturers trying to capitalize on the health benefits of almonds, the trend has been towards limiting or completely removing the presence of sugar.
That’s not the case with 365 Everyday Value Organic Almond Milk—it’s got 13 grams of sugar per serving, which is over half of what the American Heart Association recommends per day.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, it’s a good fit, but for health purposes, there are better options.
Benefits of almond milk
Almond milk is one of the healthiest substitutes for cow’s milk, thanks to its low carb content, healthy fats, and near-zero sugar levels.
Eating almond-containing foods has been connected with a number of long-term health benefits, and many of the compounds that cause these benefits make their way into almond milk.
The constituents of almond milk help fight against dietary-caused inflammation, improve risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and make a great base for healthy protein shakes and meal replacement shakes.
We’ll dive into the science behind the health benefits of almond milk and take a look at ideal intake levels.
Almond milk contains oils that are beneficial for heart health. Since almonds are naturally devoid of protein, saturated fat, and most types of carbohydrates, the primary source of the caloric content of almond milk is the unsaturated fats contained in almond oils.
This is the same type of fat you’ll find in other healthy oils, like olive oil. These oils have been subjected to scientific scrutiny to determine whether they have health benefits.
One such study was conducted by researchers at the University of California Davis and published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2002 (1). This study involved two groups of subjects who replaced half of their usual daily fat intake with either whole almonds or almond oil for a period of six weeks.
Knowing that almonds are usually associated with beneficial effects for heart health, the researchers compared the improvements in heart health markers in the almond group to the improvements in the almond oil group. They found no difference, suggesting that the almond oils are the reason for the heart health benefits of almonds.
Namely, in this study, these benefits included decreases in LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type) and increases in HDL cholesterol (the “good” type).
These benefits mirror other research done on the effects of almond compounds on heart health, like a 1998 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition which showed that almond-based diet decreased LDL cholesterol and maintained HDL cholesterol (2).
For heart health and cholesterol control, almond milk is a good choice.
Almond milk contains alpha-tocopherol, which blocks oxidative damage. Almond are rich in vitamin E, and is particularly rich in a form of vitamin E called alpha-tocopherol.
This compound is a potent antioxidant and can protect cells in your body from oxidative damage. Laboratory research, like a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, has found that alpha-tocopherol prevents oxidative damage in a multitude of different animal cells (3).
Moreover, a review study of plant-based milk replacements published in 2016 in the Journal of Food Science and Technology highlighted the free radical scavenging ability of alpha-tocopherol in almond milk as well as other nut milks (4).
This might explain why almonds and almond-derived products appear to be very useful as a part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Unsweetened almond milk is very low in sugar. One problem with some dairy substitutes is that they use sugar, or compounds that contain sugars naturally, to replace the slightly sweet flavoring that milk has thanks to its lactose content.
This is a problem for people who are trying to avoid the negative effects of sugar, like weight gain, increases in fat mass, and overall inflammation.
Almond milk solves this problem, because the natural sugar content of almonds is very low. According to an analytical study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, whole almonds contain only 5.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of raw material (5).
Almond milk has a sugar content that’s much lower than this, because not all of the sugar makes it into the solution. A typical almond milk beverage has less than one gram of carbohydrates total per serving, and only a fraction of this is sugar.
You could drink a good amount of almond milk, even if you are on an aggressively anti-carb diet like a ketogenic diet.
Almond milk helps fight dietary inflammation. Emerging nutrition research is starting to connect disparate diseases, like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and cognitive degeneration (Alzheimer’s disease and dementia), to similar root causes.
One of these causes is what’s been termed a “pro-inflammatory diet.” As of 2016, there’s even a scientifically validated and empirically derived dietary inflammation index (6), which has been used to uncover associations between dietary inflammation and negative health consequences.
Foods rich in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and red or processed meat are all associated with increased inflammation, but almonds and its constituent compounds are associated with decreased inflammation.
That was the conclusion of a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition which randomized a group of subjects to consume either a high-almond diet or a control diet for a period of four weeks (7).
The researchers found that a few key markers of inflammation went down on the almond diet, indicating that almonds and almond milk are a potentially useful part of an anti-inflammatory diet.
Since almond milk is high in healthy fats and has practically no carbohydrates or sugars, daily intakes of up to several 8 ounce servings per day are going to be beneficial for your health.
The only potential drawbacks are related to what’s not in almond milk. Though many almond milk products are fortified, naturally, almond milk does not have calcium or vitamin D, which are critical nutrients most people get though dairy products.
In addition, almond milk doesn’t have any protein in it, so switching from regular milk to almond milk might inadvertently decrease your dietary protein intake.
An easy way to fix this is to use almond milk alongside a vegan protein powder for protein shakes to keep your protein intake where it needs to be.
Almond milk is a fantastic dairy alternative thanks to its numerous health benefits.
Its high content of healthy fats, low sugar and carbohydrate content, and high alpha-tocopherol levels mean it’s great for heart health, fighting inflammation and oxidative damage, and keeping your dietary sugar intake low.
Most people will want to choose an almond milk that’s been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and add in protein powder if you need to keep your protein intake high.