Comparing Milks: Dairy, Almond, Soy, Rice, and Coconut
Milk is nature’s gift to mankind. It is the first food we took when we were born. Although not everybody can be just as lucky to be able to drink milk innately because of some health problems like heart disease, allergies, being lactose intolerant, and weight problems. Thankfully, there are healthy plant-based alternatives like almond, soy, rice and coconut milk that we can choose to continue receiving the same health benefits that regular milk offers.
Let’s take a look at the comparison of each type of milk so we can figure out what will fit us best.
This is commonly given to babies when breastmilk is not possible and for growing kids as well. It is a source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. It gives out 300 milligrams calcium and 1 cup of milk have vitamin B12 which is half of the recommended daily allowance. Cow’s milk has to be fortified normally with vitamin D to absorb calcium. Unfortunately, whole cow’s milk has a higher amount of fats and calories which are not good for those with a heart condition or maintaining a healthy weight. It also contains lactose which can be a problem for those who have a deficiency of lactase enzymes that helps in breaking down the lactose from milk. Lack of this enzyme can create digestive problems. Luckily, the dairy industry came up with variations to address these problems. Cow’s milk now comes in low fat and lactose-free. You can enjoy these varieties without having to go through with the negative effect of a cow’s milk.
This type of milk is made of soybean and filtered water. Commercially made soy milk may contain thickeners also for longer shelf life. Like all other plant-based, soy milk is low in saturated fats, calories and is lactose-free. It is a good source of protein, potassium, vitamin A, B12, isoflavones and usually fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Downside of soy milk is that it also contains allergens and will not be good for those who have thyroid problems.
Is made of milled rice and water. Like any other plant-based milk, it also contains thickeners for consistency and longer shelf life. Sugar and other flavorings are also added to make it taste like a regular milk although it already had a natural sweetness to it among the other milk alternatives. It is lower in cholesterol, fats, and calories making it likewise popular to vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. It is also a good alternative for those who have allergy in soy and almond milk. It is not a natural source of calcium and protein but it can be fortified with calcium, niacin, vitamin B12, A and iron. It has a higher carbohydrate content that makes it not suitable for those who are diabetic.
Whatever type of milk that you think suits your health, it is always good to consult first your health provider before incorporating it into your diet.