Which plant-based milk is better: coconut milk or almond milk?
In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: ”Which plant-based milk is better: coconut milk or almond milk?”, discuss the applications of these kinds of milk.
Which plant-based milk is better: coconut milk or almond milk?
Whether to choose coconut or almond milk depends on what nutrients and features you are looking for. Each one has its particularities. Both are lactose-free, vegan substitutes for cow milk.
The replacement of coconut milk with almond milk can reduce the calorie content intake. Coconut milk contains 356 calories and 1488 kJ per 200 g, while almond milk provides only 50 calories and 290 kJ per 200 g
One of the most prominent components of coconut milk is coconut oil, which people have to avoid consuming in high amounts due to high levels of saturated fat. Coconut oil contains a significant proportion of lauric acid, which could increase blood cholesterol levels
Almond milk has low-calorie content in comparison to coconut milk. It also contains a good source of minerals like calcium, vitamin, and potassium. The essential functions of almond milk include immune system boost, help prevent cancer, aids in maintaining good health of kidney and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (1)
What is the nutritional composition of coconut milk?
Coconut milk is renowned for its substantial fat content, making it a favored thickening agent in curries, imparting a delightful texture and body. Moreover, coconut itself is a nutrient-rich gem, serving as an excellent source of dietary fiber.
This creamy liquid is abundant in essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc, offering a valuable boost to your nutritional intake. Additionally, it provides noteworthy amounts of vitamin C and vitamin E, both of which contribute to overall health benefits.
Per every two tablespoons of coconut milk, you can anticipate an approximate intake of 50-60 calories, 1 gram of protein, 5-6 grams of fat, and 1-2 grams of carbohydrates.
While coconut milk’s calcium and iron content may not be as high as some other sources, they still contribute significantly to its overall nutritional value. (2, 3)
Almonds are a treasure trove of essential components, encompassing proteins, lipids (fats), soluble sugars, minerals, and fibers.
The primary constituent of almonds is lipids, constituting approximately 35 to 52% of their composition, while proteins account for around 22 to 25%. Notably, almond lipids consist mainly of unsaturated fatty acids, known for their health-promoting properties.
Almond proteins are rich in essential amino acids, playing pivotal roles in various bodily functions.
Alongside proteins and lipids, almonds offer a diverse array of nutrients, including abundant amounts of calcium, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper. These minerals play vital roles in maintaining overall health and well-being. (4)
What are the health benefits of coconut milk?
Consuming coconut milk offers a range of health benefits, primarily due to its content of lauric acid, a saturated fat also found in mother’s milk, which is linked to promoting brain development.
Some manufacturers fortify coconut milk with calcium, vitamins A, B12, and D, although these nutrients are not naturally present in significant amounts.
Lauric acid, present in coconut milk, is known for its immune-boosting properties and its ability to maintain blood vessel elasticity.
Moreover, coconut milk is a rich source of antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, which helps combat signs of aging. An additional advantage is its low association with allergic reactions.
Coconut milk is also believed to aid digestion, nourish the skin, and possess cooling properties, further enhancing its appeal for health-conscious individuals. However, it’s essential to moderate its consumption due to the presence of saturated fats in its composition. (2)
What are the health benefits of almond milk?
Almond milk offers a wide array of health benefits, particularly in terms of improving blood lipid profiles and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Consuming almonds is also associated with promoting healthy digestion, preventing anemia, lowering the risk of certain types of cancer, and providing protection against free radicals.
Remarkably, almonds are celebrated for their abundant vitamin E and other antioxidants, crucial for maintaining overall well-being. In almond milk, you can find valuable bioactive compounds like flavonoids, vitamin E, and polyamines, all possessing powerful antioxidant properties.
Additionally, almond milk is a source of dietary fibers and phytosterols, further contributing to its exceptional health-promoting properties. (4, 5)
Does coconut milk consumption have any side effects?
Yes, consuming excessive amounts of coconut milk leads to an increased intake of saturated fat and high-calorie content, which can have detrimental effects on the body, including elevated levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).
The consumption of high amounts of saturated fat has been linked to elevated serum cholesterol concentrations and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in various populations.
Moreover, there have been suggestions that coconut consumption might contribute to conditions such as hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis. (1)
Does almond milk consumption have any side effects?
Yes, almond milk has the potential to cause gas. Almond seeds naturally contain oligosaccharides, primarily α-galactooligosaccharides, which include raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose.
The consumption of almond milk, being rich in α-galactooligosaccharides, may lead to flatulence. However, it’s important to note that these compounds have shown potential prebiotic activity, which can be beneficial for gut health.
Furthermore, the presence of stabilizers in almond milk, such as carrageenan, can also contribute to gas issues. Carrageenan, in particular, has gained a reputation for causing bloating, inflammation, and even stomach ulcers. (6, 7)
In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: ”Which plant-based milk is better: coconut milk or almond milk?”, discussed the applications of these kinds of milk.
- Abdullah, N., Wahab, N., Saruan, N., Matias-Peralta, H. M., Xavier, N. R. Muhammad, N. Bakar, M. F. A. Effect of replacing coconut milk with almond milk in spicy coconut gravy on its sensorial, nutritional and physical properties. Materials Today: Proceedings, 5(10), 21919–21925. 2018.
- Reyes-Jurado, F., et. al. Plant-Based Milk Alternatives: Types, Processes, Benefits, and Characteristics. Food Reviews International, 1–32, 2021.
- Samuel Kofi Tulashie, Jacking Amenakpor, Sandra Atisey, Raphael Odai, Ephraim Edem Amoah Akpari, Production of coconut milk: A sustainable alternative plant-based milk, Case Studies in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, 6, 2022.
- Silva, A. R. A., Silva, M. M. N., & Ribeiro, B. D. Health Issues and Technological Aspects of Plant-based Alternative Milk. Food Research International, 108972. 2020.
- Vanga SK, Raghavan V. How well do plant based alternatives fare nutritionally compared to cow’s milk? J Food Sci Technol. 55(1): 10-20. 2018.
- Yu-Ping Huang, Bruna Paviani, Naomi K. Fukagawa, Katherine M. Phillips, Daniela Barile, Comprehensive oligosaccharide profiling of commercial almond milk, soy milk, and soy flour. Food Chemistry, 409, 135267, ISSN 0308-8146, 2023.
- Siddiqui, A. A., Feroz, A., Khaki, P. S. S., & Bano, B. Binding of λ-carrageenan (a food additive) to almond cystatin: An insight involving spectroscopic and thermodynamic approach. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 98, 684–690. 2017.