Milk is a common ingredient and beverage in most food and daily diet. Your cup of tea needs milk, the ice cream you desire on a hot sunny day is churned-up milk, some baked goods like cakes and cookies recipes include milk. Moreover, a glass of milk with breakfast and before going to bed is the routine, as we know it.
However, all these food products and milk themselves cannot be consumed if you are lactose intolerant. The love for consuming dairy products and being lactose intolerant do not go hand in hand. It might feel like a curse.
Or it does not feel like a curse if it is your personal choice because you are diet conscious or maybe you are vegan. Or you could be just bored of your usual plain milk and are looking to mix things up and try a couple of new things.
Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan or health-conscious, or simply just trying new things out, there are plenty of milk alternatives available in the market for you to consume and enjoy.
Best Alternates to Pure Milk
Here is a list of the five best alternatives of milk:
#1 Soy Milk
Soy milk is the most common and well-known milk alternative. It is made from soybeans and contains oils to give it a similar fluidity as regular milk. It is also the alternative that tastes the most like milk. Although on a sweeter side than standard milk, soy milk is creamy and has high protein content like cow’s milk. It has half the calorie, fat, and carbohydrate content cow’s milk has.
Despite the fact that soy milk is so largely consumed, there are multiple concerns regarding soy milk on physical health. The most controversial and highly debatable concern of soy milk is that it messes up the hormones balance in the body and affects estrogen receptors.
However, if you are looking for a milk alternative that tastes the closest to milk, then Soy Milk is your best pick.
#2 Almond Milk
Almond Milk is the most convenient option for people looking for milk alternatives. It is widely used instead of milk in baked goods as it gives them a great nutty flavor. As the name suggests, Almond milk is made out of Almond nuts. Which is an easy process and can even be done at home. Almond milk is creamier and thicker than soy milk and has a nut-like aftertaste. It is also the least expensive milk alternative available in the market.
Despite its inexpensiveness and easy availability, almond milk has the least protein content, less than one gram per cup. It has less than a quarter of calorie content, and its carbohydrate content is also extremely low. While the fat content is less than half of regular milk.
Almond milk may be a great source of vitamin E, antioxidants and an excellent option for individuals looking for a low calorie and fat content milk option but it lacks the minimal health benefits requirements. Moreover, the phytic acid present in Almond milk reduces the absorption of iron, calcium, and zinc from the body. This causes a deficiency of the minerals required by the body. Lastly, if you have a nut allergy then it is best to not consume almond milk.
#3 Rice Milk
You have heard about rice pudding and curry but rice milk? Seems odd. Apparently, it is not. Rice Milk like the name tells, is made out of brown or white rice. It has a more watery and less creamy consistency if compared to soy and almond milk.
Although if we talk in terms of calories then surprisingly its calories content is similar to cow’s milk. In addition, rice milk’s calcium and vitamin D quantities are equivalent to milk, but the protein quantity is 1 gram per cup.
However, if you are diet conscious then it is best to inform you that rice milk has double carbohydrates as regular milk. But the good news for those who have extra sensitive stomachs, rice milk is the best choice for you as it has proved to be the least allergenic milk alternative. Rice milk is nut, dairy, gluten, and soy-free milk.
Bad news for the diabetic people! The body absorbs rice milk pretty fast which raises the blood sugar levels high. More bad news, since rice is grown in soil, it contains inorganic arsenic which is a toxic chemical present in the soil. That means the accumulation of inorganic arsenic can lead to heart disease and even cancer.
#4 Coconut Milk
Next, we have another odd milk alternative: coconut milk. Coconut milk is the latest addition to the family of alternatives for milk. It is made by using water and the white flesh of the coconut. This milk has a sweet flavor with a creamy texture. However, if you are not looking for a sweet, flavored alternative then this is not your pick.
Coconut milk has one-third of cow’s milk calories. Its protein content is similar to rice milk; one gram per cup. But it does fulfill your daily requirements of Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12. Not so high in calcium and carbohydrates, but if you are careful about the fat content then coconut milk is not for you. It has as much saturated fat as cow’s milk does.
Coconut milk has not shown any health concerns in those who consume it. it is fairly a new milk alternative option in the market, and there is little research done on it.
#5 Hemp Milk
Milk out of small seeds? Sounds crazy. Well weird and crazy as it sounds, it is not. Hemp milk is made from the seeds of the hemp plant and water. The hemp plant is from the same species as a plant that is used to make marijuana. However, it is best to inform you that hemp seeds only contain the slightest amounts of THC.
Hemp milk tastes like sweet water, and its consistency is pretty fluid. Because of its fluidity is an excellent alternative to skim milk. Hemp milk offers three times more grams of proteins per cup if compared to coconut and rice milk. It contains sufficient levels of calcium and vitamin D. It is low in carbohydrates but offers similar fat content to cow’s milk. Moreover, it has half the calories cow milk has to offer.
Hemp milk is the preferred choice of vegetarians and vegans. Many people question its liability because of the THC present but it is safe to say, the THC levels are so low, they do not affect your brain.
The great thing about hemp milk is that it provides you are with body omega-three fatty acids and omega-six fatty acids. Both these fatty acids cannot be made by your body and hence they need to be ingested from multiple food sources.
There are several reasons one might want to opt for a milk alternative. They might be lactose intolerant, excited to see explore the milk variety or they might be vegan/vegetarian. Each milk alternative has a specific number of calories, fats, carbohydrates, and protein content.
Most of the milk had additives added to maintain its consistency and flavor. You will have to try a couple of the milk options to see which best fit your needs. The listed milk alternatives are plants based which make them a healthy and non-dairy option for individual looking for milk alternatives.
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