Move Over Oat Milk, Pistachio Milk Is the New Thing, but How Healthy Is It?

Vegan alternative food, set of various non-dairy milks including rice, coconut, almond, pistachio, soy, and oat, with soybeans, almonds, oatmeal, pistachios and half a coconut next to a chalkboard with the words "alternative milk" against a light blue background.

Nowadays, you will find a lot of people shying away from milk obtained from cows as they prefer drinking milk obtained from plants. (Image: Rimma Bondarenko via Dreamstime)

The new nut milk on the block is pistachio milk. Nowadays, you will find a lot of people shying away from milk obtained from cows as they prefer drinking milk obtained from plants. This is partly owing to the fact that a section of the population is found to be lactose intolerant. Then there are the vegans who call for avoiding anything made out of animals, including milk. Soy milk is already quite popular and it has proven health benefits, but, but what about pistachio milk?

What’s pistachio milk like?

Pistachio milk does not at all look green. It has a brownish hue. However, those who savor the milk say it is yummy. Táche is the first company to launch pure pistachio milk. After it, a few more brands have come up with their own versions. Three Trees, for example, sells organic pistachio milk and that is unsweetened too. You can also make this milk at home without too many hassles. While this is an alternative to regular milk, you need to know how good it is for health.

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So how healthy is it?

While pistachio milk is healthy, you cannot put it on the same level as cow’s milk, say the nutrition experts. Typically, unsweetened plant-based milks contain nutrients, but in lower amounts. Sweetened pistachio milk may contain 92 calories per cup, which is on par with branded skim milk. The plain, unsweetened variants may contain fewer calories. The reality is the pistachio milk sold in the stores contains a small amount of real pistachio. This is something people willing to pay a steep amount for such products should take into account, say the nutrition experts. You may miss out on the key nutrients found in pistachios. These include protein, vitamin B6, thiamine, manganese, and phosphorus.

Pistachios in the shell in a bowl on a piece of burlap on a wooden surface.
The reality is that pistachio milk sold in stores only contains a small amount of real pistachio. (Image: Marazem via Dreamstime)

Should you start drinking it?

Should you start drinking pistachio milk? That depends on your nutritional needs and limitations, say the experts. If you are a vegan and lactose intolerant, you can certainly try it. However, keep in mind that it will not contain the same amount of nutrients found in cow’s milk.

Nutrition expert Jaclyn London says: “Milk provides potassium, calcium, vitamins A and D (through fortification), and eight grams of protein per cup, while nut milks will average around one gram of protein, require fortification of most vitamins and minerals, and depend on the specific food from which the milk was derived.” So, if you use pistachio milk, go for the unsweetened versions. Soy milk will be a better alternative as it contains enhanced amounts of protein per serving.

Besides, avoiding cow’s milk means giving up on major nutrients like B12 and riboflavin. You will have to consume foods that are enriched with these nutrients. Drinking pistachio milk once in a while is not bad. London says: “No single food or ingredient in isolation can make or break your health — and that’s true for dairy and plants. Neither plant-based or cow’s milk is the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choice… it’s completely up to you and your needs.” Pistachio milk variants sold in the market are lower in calories compared to other vegan milk options, argue the proponents. For example, Oatly’s original oat milk has 120 calories. However, you can find unsweetened soy milk with a lower calorie quotient.

Grocery store aisle containing plant-based milk.
Choosing the right plant-based milk is completely up to you and should be based on your needs. (Image: David Tonelson via Dreamstime)

How to consume it?

You can use pistachio milk in so many ways. You should use it in recipes where its earthy, distinct flavor will come to the forefront. Use it as cereal milk, for example. Pistachio milk froths are nice and so you can use them in making coffee or tea. Feel free to use it for making smoothies with various fruits. You may also use it for making ice cream.

In the final analysis, you can drink pistachio milk, but it is not going to serve as a substitute for cow’s milk. Neither is it going to offer you the full benefits of eating pistachios.

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