Many vegans use almond milk as an alternative to cow milk. It is loaded with vitamin D and E, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients important for the human body.
However, in recent years, almond milk has been associated with estrogen hormones, and more and more people are starting to believe that it increases estrogen in the body.
Estrogen is responsible for regulating menstruation and fertility in women (1).
The question is, does almond milk have estrogen?
Here, we will discuss whether this claim is true, how almond milk affects the body, and what compounds are present in almond milk besides almonds.
Before we get started, you must understand that almond milk does not contain any hormones – it is just plant-based milk.
What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a hormone present in the human body and plays a number of roles. It is mainly responsible for the reproductive health of women. This hormone includes other hormones like estriol, estradiol, and estrone.
Estrogen affects the entire body, especially the health of our skin, muscle, bones, breasts, blood vessels, and heart.
Usually, the ovaries in a woman’s body produce estrogen. However, smaller amounts of estrogen are made in the adrenal glands and fat tissues. However, estrogen is not only made in female bodies.
It is also made in the bodies of males, especially in the testicles.
What Does Almond Milk Contain Other than Almonds?
The main ingredient that almond milk uses is almond nuts. But, the milk that you buy from the store also contains some additional ingredients:
One of the most common emulsifiers used in almond milk is sunflower lecithin. This is known for cardiovascular health, stress-related disorders, and memory health.
Sweeteners and Flavors
Almond milk you buy from your local grocery store contains added flavors like chocolate and vanilla. You can also choose to get unflavored almond milk.
A common flavor enhancer used in almond milk is potassium citrate. Sugarcane sugar is the most common sweetener used in evaporated or pure form.
If you make almond milk at home, you can use honey or granulated sugar to add a little sweetness. If you do not mind your milk being bland, you do not need to add any sweetener.
Calcium carbonate is used in foods like tofu to ensure a smoother texture. It also helps thicken these foods by acting like an anti-caking agent, reducing the rate at which spoilage occurs as it absorbs humidity and water commonly found in the air.
There are no proteins present in almond milk. However, manufacturers usually use folic acid, amino acid, and selenium ingredients to make protein artificially. Other store-bought almond milk bottles contain whey, pea protein, or rice protein – all of which are used in an attempt to artificially manufacture protein.
Many antioxidant properties in almond milk help fight radicals in the body, especially those that cause cancer. Magnesium, on the other hand, helps regulate blood pressure.
Fiber is a non-estrogenic ingredient found in almond milk that helps with digestion, allowing the milk to pass through the body with ease.
The fiber ensures that the milk does not break down chemically from enzymes that allow the production of estrogen.
Does Almond Milk have Estrogen?
Almond milk does not contain estrogen. This is because the ingredients found in almond milk are non-estrogenic and anti-estrogenic. This means that drinking almond milk does not affect hormone levels in your body.
However, keep in mind that almond produces plant-based estrogen, known as a phytoestrogen (4). This is a plant-based hormone that is commonly found in flaxseeds, peanuts, sprouts, and soybeans.
When phytoestrogen enters the body, it can act like estrogen. But, it cannot do this on its own because there is no cholesterol found in almond milk.
A lipoprotein must be present so that the estrogen can attach itself to it (5). When it enters the body, the liver breaks down, uses, or excretes the phytoestrogens, which means that no estrogen activity takes place inside the body.
Even though the estrogens found in almond milk have a chemical structure that resembles the estrogen found naturally in our bodies, the phytoestrogens have no way of attaching themselves to the receptor sites. This means that when almond milk is consumed, it does not affect estrogen levels in the body, for better or worse.
Does Almond Milk Have an Effect on Hormones?
Since the phytoestrogens found in almond milk are different from the natural estrogens found in the human body, almond milk does not affect hormones. You may find that almond milk contains extremely small quantities of estrogens, but the levels are negligible, so they will not affect hormone levels.
This is because it acts as an anti-estrogen hormone in the body and becomes a barrier, blocking out natural estrogens and not allowing them to attach themselves to places where they shouldn’t be.
Is it Drinking Almond Milk Every Day Okay?
Almond milk contains some minerals that are not absorbed as well as in cow milk. A huge reason behind this is that almond milk contains phytic acid. This is an antinutrient that stops the absorption of magnesium, zinc, and iron (8).
Almond milk should not be used as a substitute for milk for infants because there are several nutrients that are absent from its composition.
However, adults can consume almond milk daily because it is high in minerals and vitamins, like vitamin E.
Here are the benefits of consuming almond milk:
Low in Calories
Even though almonds are high in calories and fat, almond milk purchased at stores is considered a low-calorie beverage.
This means that even if you consume a large amount of almond milk per day, you will not gain weight from it. This is also because it has a higher nutritional value when compared to its calorie content.
When almond milk is made, water is added to dilute it so that the fat content present is equivalent to that found in skim milk, resulting in less than 1 percent fat. One cup of almond milk only has 39 calories, which is half the number of calories found in a cup of skim milk.
Keep in mind that not every almond milk is made equal. It depends on the number of almonds in each cup, whether the milk is homemade or store-bought, and whether the brand you are purchasing from uses a higher sugar content.
If you want to consume almond milk every day, you must find a brand that uses the least amount of artificial sugar. Before purchasing, ensure to read the nutrition label carefully.
Does Not Raise Blood Sugar
As long as your almond milk is sugar-free, it is going to be considered a low-carb beverage that has 3.43 g of carbs in a single cup. Low-fat cow milk, in comparison, has 12 grams of carbs per cup.
Moreover, almond milk is heavy in protein and fat. Because of this, it does not increase blood sugar levels, making it a wonderful beverage for those on a low-carb diet, as well as individuals who suffer from diabetes.
But it is important that your almond milk should be as natural as possible and should not use any preservatives, emulsifiers, or artificial sugars.
Individuals who are lactose-intolerant, allergic to cow milk, and vegans can greatly benefit from almond milk. This is because it does not contain any cow or animal ingredients in it at all.
A massive part of the population is lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot digest the lactose found in cow milk. When lactose is not digested, it makes its way to the colon, where indigenous bacteria ferment it, eventually causing diarrhea, bloating, gas, and other uncomfortable symptoms in the body.
Almond milk is dairy-free which means that it does not contain any lactose, making it a wonderful alternative for lactose-intolerant individuals.
Helps Strengthen Bones
Most dairy products contain a high concentration of calcium. However, there is not a sufficient amount of calcium present in almonds.
Usually, store-bought almond milk contains added calcium so that it tastes like normal milk. Depending on the almond milk brand and type you are purchasing, one cup of milk may contain 37 percent of your daily required calcium intake.
This means that fortified almond milk is great for individuals who do not consume dairy, especially vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals.
You must remember that calcium is essential for the strength and maintenance of bones. Consuming the recommended amount of calcium can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a disorder that causes fractures and weak bones in the body.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Regular consumption of nuts lowers heart disease risk (9). This is because nuts contain good fats that are necessary for the body.
Almond oil contains an important fatty acid known as oleic acid. This helps cause positive changes in the blood. In turn, these changes reduce the risk of heart disease.
Even though fats make up half the calories in almond milk, it is still considered a low-fat product that greatly helps the lipid profile of your blood.
Moreover, almond milk contains vitamin E and other bioactive plant chemicals that work as antioxidants and help keep inflammation down, benefiting heart health.
Now that we have established that almond milk contains a negligible number of estrogens that cannot harm the body, we would recommend individuals suffering from hormone disorders, obesity, and diabetes switch to almond milk.
This is because of the plentiful benefits it provides, along with being a low-calorie and low-fat beverage. Don’t worry; it will not harm the hormones in your body!
In fact, it can make you stronger and healthier.
Read more: Can you freeze almond milk?