The number of people avoiding dairy or cow’s milk seems to be growing by the day, From plant-based trends and dairy intolerances. Whether you fall into one of these categories or not, it becomes important to understand the nutritional benefits of milk and milk replacements. Good taste is a bonus!
Nutrients to Look for In Milk
Before deciding or buying your milk of choice, it’s important to know which nutrients you should be keeping an eye out for on the label.
Many milk alternatives are lacking in nutrients like Calcium, protein and Vitamin A and D. This is the reason manufacturers typically add some of these nutrients back into the mik, making it similar to cow’s milk. Even though the protein is often still missing.
Another crucial nutrient is Vitamin D as it helps in absorbing calcium present in the milk. Vitamin D has also recently been shown to help prevent a number of chronic diseases.
Few companies also tend to include added sugar and may contain high levels of saturated fat which can cause harmful effects to the body. So, before choosing your milk of choice, Make sure to read the label carefully.
Cow’s milk naturally contains 8 grams of high-quality protein per cup, as well as potassium, a mineral important for bone strength, heart health, and muscle strength. If you choose dairy-based milk, try pairing it with plant-based foods for added fiber, like making a spinach and banana smoothie.
Goat milk has a slightly different taste than cow’s milk and contains less protein. It’s also lower in lactose, so it may be a good alternative for those with sensitive stomachs. It naturally contains calcium, and might have vitamins A and D added to it.
Kefir is a fermented version of regular cow’s milk. creating a consistency similar to liquid yogurt/curd. The key benefit is the probiotics that develop from the fermentation process. It can be a fantastic addition to your smoothies!
This has about the same nutrition values as cow milk, but has higher fat content.
Lactose free Milk
This is regular cow’s milk with a twist. The lactose is pre-digested so it won’t create the problems related to lactose intolerance. Lactose free milk contains the same number of calories and calcium as regular milk. If you think milk is giving you stomach discomfort, give lactose free a try
If you can’t tolerate cow’s milk or prefer a vegan option, soy milk is one of the great choices. It’s made from pressed soybeans. It contains omega-3 fats, which are known to be good for heart health. Soy milk is naturally lower in protein and calcium in comparison to Dairy milk, though it’s still near the top of the list for plant-based milks.
Almond milk is produced from crushing or finely grounding almonds and water. This thin milk has no saturated fat, but little protein, roughly about 1 gram per cup serving.
Oat milk is gaining popularity. You can make oat milk by blending the oats, then draining the mixture to keep the liquid. Oat milk is generally lower in protein and potassium as compared to cow’s milk, but it’s usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Unlike Dairy milk, it also contains some fiber for digestive health. Oat milk is a great option for those with any nut or dairy intolerances.
Derived from the flesh of the coconut, coconut milk is typically high in calories and saturated fat. However, its fat contains a type of medium-chain fatty acids that may offer health benefits. One of its key benefits is its flavor profile, which is perfect for soups and curries.