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Almond milk, raw? Organic?

Almond milk consists of almonds and water and is a plant-based alternative to cow's milk. It is available as an organic product, but bought it is not raw.
96%
Water
 25
Macronutrient carbohydrates 25.36%
/19
Macronutrient proteins 18.93%
/56
Macronutrient fats 55.71%
 

The three ratios show the percentage by weight of macronutrients (carbohydrates / proteins / fats) of the dry matter (excl. water).

Ω-6 (LA, 0.3g)
Omega-6 fatty acid such as linoleic acid (LA)
 : Ω-3 (ALA, <0.1g)
Omega-3 fatty acid such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
 = 0:0

Omega-6 ratio to omega-3 fatty acids should not exceed a total of 5:1. Link to explanation.

Values are too small to be relevant.

Almond milk (almond drink) is a vegan milk alternative, consisting of almonds (seeds of Prunus dulcis) and water. You can buy it in organic quality. If you prepare it yourself, then it is raw.

Culinary uses of almond milk

Almond milk has a mild, nutty flavor. It can be used both in cold and warm dishes. Almond milk has been in use for centuries in Spain and Italy (as latte di mandorla). It is consumed there as a pure drink or processed into almond sorbet or used in warm dishes.

Almond milk is ideal for the preparation of sweet dishes such as muesli or porridge and easily replaces animal milk in baked goods. With its creamy, nutty taste, almond drink also refines fresh fruit and vegetable smoothies, coffee or vegan cocoa. In general, it is better to use the unsweetened version, especially for hearty dishes such as vegan soups or creamy sauces.

The industry usually produces almond milk or almond drinks from roasted almonds. It is UHT (ultra-high temperature) processed for longer shelf life and is almost never raw. You can easily make raw almond milk yourself. Other plant-based milk that are used in the kitchen as a milk substitute are: oat milk, rice milk, and soy milk.

How to make almond milk

You can read about how to easily make your own organic almond milk from natural ingredients in our raw almond milk recipe.

Vegan recipe for raw berry smoothie with almond milk

Ingredients (for 2 people): 1 ripe banana, 350 g raspberries or blueberries, 400 ml almond milk (organic), 100 g fresh spinach.

Procedure: Wash raw spinach and pat dry. Then put all the ingredients in a high-performance blender and mix until everything is finely pureed. Enjoy cold and top with fresh fruit such as apple or banana slices.

To find vegan recipes with almond milk follow the reference: "Recipes that have the most of this ingredient".

Not only vegans and vegetarians should read this:
A Vegan Diet Can Be Unhealthy. Nutrition Mistakes.

Purchasing - storage

Almond milk is available in almost all supermarket chains, such as Walmart, Costco, Whole Foods Markets, Kroger, Target, Albertsons and Safeway (United States); Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, and Holland & Barret (Great Britain); Metro, Extra Foods, Real Canadian Superstore and Goodness Me (Canada); and Coles, Woolworths, and Harris Farm (Australia). Organic shops, organic supermarkets, natural food or health food stores also sell organic quality almond milk.

In addition to almonds and water, almond drinks often have salt (sea salt) added to them. You can buy a wide variety of almond drinks, including those that contain sugar, flavorings, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. There is also almond milk that is fortified with vitamins and minerals. If you want to enjoy a raw, natural almond drink without additives, we recommend making your own from organic almonds.

Storage tips

Do you have to store almond milk in the fridge? Commercially available almond milk are usually UHT processed and can be stored unopened at room temperature for several months. Once opened, store in the refrigerator and consume within a few days.

Homemade almond milk can be stored in glass bottles in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Before drinking almond milk, you should shake it well so that any cloudy matter is evenly distributed.

Ingredients - nutritional values - calories

What is almond milk made of? The ingredients of almond drink can vary greatly depending on the manufacturer. Almond milk consists largely of water. The proportion of almonds varies depending on the product and is often between 2 and 5 % (rarely around 7 %). Different nutritional values ​​of commercial products can therefore often be traced back to the amount of almonds used.

Homemade almond drink (with an almond content of more than 15 %) can have more than 90 kcal/100g and is richer in healthy ingredients. For example, the raw recipe described in our collection has 3.5 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat and 3.4 g protein per 100 g. The ingredients listed here, on the other hand, are based on information from the USDA (US-American nutritional value database)2 and the ÖNWT19 and reflect the values ​​of a commercial variant

With 1.8 mg of vitamin E, 100 g of commercial almond drink covers 15 % of the daily requirement of this fat-soluble vitamin. Hazelnut milk or poppy seeds (1.8 mg/100g) have comparable levels, while dried mangoes (4.4 mg/100g) and dried apricots (4.3 mg/100g) are somewhat richer. Very high values ​​can be found in hazelnut oil (47 mg/100g) or hemp oil (41 mg/100g).2

The trace element manganese is represented in almond milk at 0.03 mg per 100 g and thus covers a very small part of the daily requirement. The daily manganese requirement can be supplemented with fruits such as strawberries (0.39 mg/100g) or blueberries (0.34 mg/100g). Dried herbs have a significantly higher value, but wheat germ also contains a significant amount of it at 13 mg/100g.2

Natural almond milk contains little calcium; however there are some calcium-enriched drinks available in the market. These drinks contain an average of 330 mg calcium per 100 g.1 The variant described here covers (with 139 mg calcium per 100 g) 17 % of the daily requirement. Almonds as whole nuts have a good amount of calcium with 269 mg/100g. Sesame (975 mg/100g) or chia seeds (631 mg/100g) exceed these values.2

The fatty acid ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 (LA:ALA) in almonds is extremely unfavorable (practically no omega-3). Lupines (4.4:1) or oats (22:1), which can also be used to make raw oat milk, are better sources. For avoidable nutritional mistakes, see a table of foods that have a more balanced LA:ALA ratio in our article ‘A Vegan Diet Can Be Unhealthy. Nutrition Mistakes’.

Other almond milk nutrients such as iron, magnesium and vitamin B6 are present in small amounts.

You can find the total ingredients of almond milk, the coverage of the daily requirement and comparison values ​​with other ingredients in our nutrient tables. In the article Nutrients explained you will get a detailed insight into the topic.

Health effects

How healthy is almond milk? Almond milk is vegan and free of lactose, milk protein and gluten, which is why it is suitable for people with lactose intolerance, cow's milk allergy or soy allergy. Almond milk does not contain FODMAPs (short-chain carbohydrate compounds such as fructose or lactose), so they are well tolerated by people with all kinds of digestive problems.4

Due to the lower number of calories, almond milk can have a positive effect on the body. In one study, replacing one glass of cow's milk (240 ml with 156 kcal) with one glass of almond milk (240 ml with 39 kcal) per day resulted in a reduction in body weight, BMI and hip and waist circumference in the 30 participants over four weeks. 5 More reasons why you should avoid cow's milk can be found in the book review "Milk better not".

Although almond milk is a good addition to a balanced diet, unprocessed foods such as nuts (e.g. walnuts) and seeds, raw fruits and natural vegetables contribute much more to a healthy lifestyle: These foods are naturally richer in fiber, essential fatty acids, vitamins and trace elements.

Dangers - intolerances - side effects

People with nut allergy should avoid the drinks made from almond milk. In addition to almonds, nut allergy often also includes walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios or Brazil nuts as triggers.6 In the case of birch pollen allergy, cross-reactions can occur after eating certain foods (e.g., almonds).7 You can alternatively try nut-free plant-based drinks such as soy milk or rice milk.

Ecological footprint - animal welfare

Almond is grown commercially in California where almond trees grow primarily in monocultures that require intensive irrigation because of the dry, hot climate.9 Although drought-resistant, almond trees do not flower under water stress. The constant supply of water to these plants is therefore important. This is especially difficult to achieve in years of drought as almond producers are very limited in the amount of water available.10

This is reflected in the ecological footprint of almond milk. In the US, about 371 liters of water are used to produce 1 liter of almond milk. This is very high compared to oat milk from regional oats (48 liters of water per 1 L of oat milk) or soy milk (almost 28 L of water per 1 L of soy milk). The figures mentioned refer only to fresh water.12 On the other hand, water footprint, which includes total water consumption (green, blue and gray water), is much higher. For example, in the case of soy milk, it is 296.9 L of water per liter of soy milk.13 In terms of the amount of emissions produced and land required per liter, almond milk sometimes performs better than other plant-based milk alternatives.12 Source 12 cites the figures from a publication by Poore / Nemecek (2018),11 but we could not find this information there (probably additional calculations).

Animal protection - species protection

Chemical pesticides are used in conventional monocultures of the almond tree plantations in order to achieve good yields. This is very problematic for bees, which play an essential role in pollinating the numerous almond blossoms. They ingest the pesticide during pollination, which weakens their immune system and can kill the bees. To ensure pollination of the almond trees, beekeepers place bee colonies within the monocultures. Frequent transport and high stocking densities are associated with stress, which has a negative impact on bee health.9

Worldwide occurrence - cultivation

Almond milk is the most popular plant-based alternative to cow's milk in North America, Europe and Australia.1

In Europe, Spain and Italy are the largest growing areas for almonds. Imported almonds come primarily from the USA, Australia and Morocco.8 A large proportion (80%) of the processed almonds come from Californian almond orchards.9

Industrial manufacture

There are different methods for the production of plant drinks. Basically, however, plant drinks are aqueous extracts. Depending on the manufacturer and/or the desired flavor, roasted or unroasted almonds are used.14 As with all plant-based milk alternatives, the starting product is mixed with water. Either you soak the raw material in water and grind it wet, or you grind it dry and then mix it with water (mashing). After that it is important to choose the right temperature for the mixture or the almond mass; the duration of the soaking is also important so that the valuable ingredients can be dissolved (extraction).15

Industrial centrifuges are used to separate the liquid from the solids (decantation). The extraction may then be carried out twice to achieve a better yield. Depending on the raw material, the liquid is then homogenized with cooking oil. After this step, you add other ingredients (if needed), heat it to ultra-high temperature for longer shelf life, and bottle it.15

Almonds are often blanched and peeled before making almond milk, which results in a lighter color. Some producers add sweeteners, vitamins, emulsifiers (especially lecithin), acidity regulators, stabilizers and flavors.17

Additional information

Due to EU Regulation No. 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and Council of December 17, 2013, plant-based milk alternatives may not be referred to as "milk" within the EU.

In 2015, media reported a class action lawsuit against manufacturers Blue Diamond and Silk Almond Milks (filed in New York, USA) for unfair advertising. The lawsuit complained that their almond milk contained only 2 % almonds (Blue Diamond's in the US with no declared numbers) but advertised it as "made from real almonds"; in addition, certain images on packaging would be misleading.18 Blue Diamond was subsequently forced to change the advertising slogans and pay a fine.

Alternate names

Almond milk may be referred to as almond drink, especially in the EU.

Other applications

In addition to being used in the kitchen, almond milk is also used in cosmetics. Since almonds have an antioxidant effect,3 almond milk is used in hand and face creams, body lotions, shampoos and soaps. Cosmetic products with plant-based milk alternatives such as almond milk are more suitable than products with cow's milk for people with acne and skin blemishes, since cow’s milk stimulates the formation of sebum due to the hormone IGF-1 it contains. This oily secretion (sebum) produced by the skin is responsible for protecting against skin diseases and pathogens, but is also linked to the development of acne or pimples.16

Bibliography - 19 Sources

1.Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol. 2018;55(1):10-20.
2.USDA US-Amerikanische Nährwertdatenbank.
3.Alozie YE, Udofia US. Nutritional and Sensory Properties of Almond (Prunus amygdalu [sic, korrekt mit -s] var. dulcis) Seed Milk. World J of Dairy & Food Sciences. 2015; 10(2):117-121.
4.Fodmaps.de Fodmap allergy list - Diät bei Reizdarm und anderen Verdauungsproblemen. 2018.
5.Tamimi JZA. Effects of almond milk on body measurements and blood pressure. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 9. Mai 2016;7(6):466–71.
6.American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Everything You Need to Know about Tree Nut Allergy. 2020.
7.AAFA Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Can birch trees trigger food allergies? 2018.
8.USDA Foreign Agricultural Service - GAIN Report. Tree Nuts Annual EU-28. 2017: 5-6.
9.Albert-schweitzer-stiftung.de Zur Ökobilanz von Pflanzenmilch. 2018.
10.Goldhamer D, Smith T. Single-season drought irrigation strategies influence almond production. California Agriculture. 1. Januar 1995;49(1):19–22.
11.Poore J, Nemecek T. Reducing Food’s Environmental Impacts through Producers and Consumers. Science 360. 2018; (6392): 987–92.
12.Ourworldindata.org Dairy vs. plant-based milk: what are the environmental impacts? 2022.
13.The water footprint of soy milk and soy burger and equivalent animal products. Ecological Indicators. 1. Juli 2012;18:392–402.
14.Peta-Schweiz.ch Pflanzendrinks: Die 9 besten veganen Alternativen zu Milch.
15.Flottweg.com Herstellung pflanzlicher Milchalternativen.
16.Melnik B. Milk consumption: aggravating factor of acne and promoter of chronic diseases of Western societies. Journal der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft. April 2009;7(4):364–70.
17.Pereira Candiani P. Manufacturing Process of Almond Milk. Teesside University (UK). 2019.
18.Foodnavigator-usa.com Almond Breeze almond milk only contains 2% almonds, claims false advertising lawsuit. 21. Juli 2015.
19.ÖNWT. Österreichische Nährwerttabelle.
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