Many people looking for an alternative to milk have jumped on the almond milk bandwagon. It has been on the rise and deserves a spot on a shelf in your fridge. Almond milk contains about 50% less calories than regular milk, but packs a healthy calcium punch. All of this sounds great, and it is, but there are a few things you need to know before you decide to board the almond milk train.

Eating raw almonds is not the same as drinking almond milk. Almond milk does, however, bring nutritional benefits to the table. We’re talking about getting healthy doses of zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and selenium! There’s no cholesterol, saturated fat, and it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which actually lower cholesterol levels. If you are buying almond milk from the store, it’s imperative to read the labels in order to reap the proper benefits.

One disclaimer: if you have a tree nut allergy, you should avoid almond milk. When you buy almond milk, you have to take note of the ingredient list. Commercial almond milk brands commonly add thickeners to the milk, the most common being carrageenan. This polysaccharide, which is obtained from red algae, can negatively affect the digestive system by causing gas, bloating, diarrhea, or even fatigue. Two other thickeners, which are used in almond milk, are guar gum and soy lecithin. Although they are safe to consume, they can cause digestive distress.

The other big thing you have to notice is whether or not the almond milk is sweetened. We all know that sugar is not healthy and can corrupt the path to a healthier lifestyle. Certain almond milk manufacturers will add cane juice or high fructose corn syrup, and other brands will use toxins like aspartame, sucralose, or acesulfame. Anything that is hard to pronounce is usually beneficial to avoid.

If you are weary of being led astray or don’t trust the ingredient lists on almond milk cartons, you can easily make your own almond milk. You can do this by taking a handful of almonds, soaking them in water overnight, then blending them with water in the morning. Flavor your almond milk with a few dashes of cinnamon and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, if you like. By making your own almond milk, you know exactly what you’re consuming and you can better absorb its benefits. It is a lengthy process, but waiting for a healthier product is better than polluting your body. If you don’t have the time to make your own almond milk, be sure to buy organic, avoid brands that have carrageenan, additives, or sweeteners, and look for those with minimal sodium content (under 5%).

Author's Bio: 

Vinnie is the content writer at and enjoys writing about how people can maintain or head towards healthy lives by employing simple methods in day to day life. Getting healthy doesn't have to be a chore, it can be a part of your everyday life.