In the world of plant-based milks, cashew milk and almond milk are popular choices for those seeking a nutritious alternative to dairy. With their creamy textures and subtle flavors, these milks have captured the attention of health-conscious individuals and those with dietary restrictions alike. When considering cashew milk vs almond milk, how do these two options stack up when it comes to health and nutrition benefits?
In this article, Registered Dietitian Gaby Vaca-Flores dives into cashew milk and almond milk, exploring their unique qualities and potential health benefits.
Cashew Milk vs Almond Milk Main Differences
Both cashew milk and almond milk are popular, non-dairy, nut-based milk alternatives.
Cashew milk is made with two simple ingredients: cashew nuts and water. It offers a creamy texture and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
Similarly, almond milk is made with almonds and water. It is known for its mild, slightly nutty flavor and creamy texture.
Cashew milk and almond milk are popular choices for people who are lactose intolerant, follow a vegan or plant-based diet, or who enjoy a dairy-free milk option.
How Cashew Milk and Almond Milk Are Made
There are many similarities in how cashew and almond milks are made. Both nut milks are made through a soak and strain process.
This typically entails soaking the nuts in water to help soften it for blending. Then, the soaked nuts are blended until smooth and creamy. Straining with a cheesecloth is optional, but recommended, to help remove any pulp. The resulting mixture can then be flavored or sweetened according to personal preference.
Afterward, the cashew milk or almond milk is stored in a sealed container and refrigerated.
Cashew Milk vs Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
Like most nut-based milks, cashew and almond milks are relatively low in calories. However, each milk offers slightly different macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals
Cashew Milk Nutrition Facts
Here are the nutrition facts for an unsweetened cup of cashew milk:
- Calories: 25 calories
- Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Protein: <1g
- Fiber: 0g
- Vitamins and Minerals: Typically fortified with nutrients like calcium, vitamins A, B12 and D
Almond Milk Nutrition Facts
Here are the nutrition facts for an unsweetened cup of almond milk:
- Calories: 30 calories
- Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Protein: <1g
- Fiber: 0g
- Vitamins and Minerals: Typically fortified with nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and vitamins A, E, D, and B12
The main nutritional difference between cashew milk and almond milk is that almond milk contains a slightly higher amount of calories (about 5 calories more per cup).
The nutrition profile of one cup of unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk can vary slightly depending on the brand or recipe. Checking the nutrition label of the specific milk product you are consuming will provide the most accurate information regarding its nutritional content.
Key Health Benefits of Drinking Cashew Milk vs Almond milk
Eating nuts, or consuming them in milk form, can offer a myriad of health benefits. In particular, cashews and almonds pack heart-healthy fats and essential nutrients, making them nutritious alternatives to dairy while promoting overall well-being.
Here are the top cashew milk and almond milk health benefits:
- Abundant minerals and vitamins: Cashew and almond milks are often fortified with additional vitamins and minerals like calcium and vitamins C and D
- Heart-healthy fats: Like most nuts, cashews deliver healthy monounsaturated fats that can help improve heart health and cholesterol levels when consumed as part of a balanced diet
- Antioxidants: Cashews and almonds are rich in antioxidant compounds like vitamin E that can help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals
Potential drawbacks of cashew milk and almond milk
While nut milks like cashew milk and almond milk have gained popularity, there are some potential drawbacks to consider.
First, many of the nut milks found at the grocery store may contain additives, thickeners, or sweeteners that can increase calorie and sugar content, so it’s important to read labels carefully.
Additionally, nut milks tend to be lower in protein compared to dairy milk, which may be a concern for individuals who rely on milk as a significant protein source. Moreover, some people may be allergic to nuts, so caution should be exercised when consuming nut milk.
Lastly, some researchers express concern about fortifying plant-based milks with calcium as it may lower the bioavailability of vitamin D.
In summary, both cashew milk and almond milk offer valuable alternatives to traditional dairy milk. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences in taste, texture, and nutritional profiles. Cashew milk stands out with its creamy texture and slightly sweet flavor, while almond milk offers a mild and nutty taste. In terms of nutrition, both milks can provide essential nutrients when fortified, such as calcium and vitamins.
Ultimately, the choice between cashew milk and almond milk depends on flavor preference and dietary needs.
Gaby Vaca-Flores is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in Santa Monica, CA. In merging her passions for nutrition and skin, Gaby created Glow+Greens to provide her readers with science-backed education + digestible wellness tips.